Sunday, September 16, 2012

Keeping it Light Pt 2

For part 2 of the Keeping it Light post we'll actually put together a drink or two. We've already discussed what ingredients we can use to put together drinks and keep it within the confines of the 4 Hour Body, but to review no carbs, no sugar is our mandate. This actually opens a pretty wide range of drinks, particularly if you avoid eating the garnishes. 
Some classics that are available to us include the Martini, (either gin or vodka, but no Appletinis, Chocotinis,  or other weird -tinis), the Manhattan, even a Gin and Tonic (you can use diet tonic is you really want to keep it light.) But let's have some fun with our ingredients and create something new. 
This month has a Mixology Monday event going on with a theme of equal parts. 

Smokin' Port
1 oz Laird's AppleJack brandy (if you're not sure about brandy use another brown liquor like bourbon)
1 oz tawny port
1 oz sweet vermouth
stir with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
garnish and rim with a flamed orange peel (how to flame an orange peel from

This drinks makes an excellent digestif with lots of flavor and a very nice mouth feel. It's a light drink with a very rich feel to it. Just because you're trying to keep things light it doesn't mean that you can't drink something with flavor.Curious about some other 4 Hour Body friendly booze? Leave a comment and we can talk about some other possible drinks.  Remember though while these are technically within the guidelines Tim lays out in the book anytime you are drinking alcohol you are drinking calories, (about 94 calories/oz for most spirits) so moderation is key.

Thanks to Frederic of Cocktail Virgin Slut for hosting this month's Mixology Monday.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Keeping it Light pt 1

4 years ago I weighed 230 pounds and was completely unhappy with the way that I looked. As my, now larger size, clothes kept getting tighter I knew that I had to do something to avoid becoming Homer Simpson.   On my own I managed to drop 17 pounds down to a more reasonable 213 by doing things like switching to Coke Zero from Coke and eating yogurt instead of cake or candy after lunch. But 213 wasn't cutting it for me either. There were some size XL shirts that were just to tight across my gut for me to feel comfortable wearing them. While listening to the Nerdist at work the guys had an interview with Tim Ferriss talking about his book the 4 Hour Body and the diet that he lays out in it. I've been on some version of the slow carb diet that he laid out in that book for about 18 months now and I'm down to 187 and holding pretty steady within the 185-190 range.

The slow carb diet from the 4 Hour Body is effective, and for me at least, reasonably easy to maintain. In a nutshell, it's no carbs and no sugar, calories aren't a concern. Despite these restrictions he does say that a glass or two of red wine doesn't seem to impair the weight loss process. He also has said in interviews that a "Nor-Cal Margarita" is acceptable, consisting of tequila, lime juice, and soda water. He says that the lime juice limits the body's insulin response and tequila being made from agave sugars also won't trigger the insulin response.

So with the guidelines that he has laid out of no carbs no sugars I started examining what I could use to make my own drinks. Unfortunately, beer was right out from the start, being basically liquid breads; carbs would be unavoidable in beers that I would want to drink. Also out are sweeteners like simple syrup and liqueurs that contained sugar. Additionally prohibited by the diet are fruits and fruit juices. So my beloved tiki drinks are definitely out.  And while Tim says that red wine doesn't seem to affect weight loss, it does have sugars, but it does open up things like port or vermouths as a possibility.

While tequila is mentioned as acceptable because it doesn't have sugars or carbs, any spirit should be fine. The distillation process concentrates the alcohol while leaving behind the residual carbs or sugars. If you distill beer to make whiskey the result of the distillation is almost pure alcohol, no carbs and no sugars. The same goes for rum, despite being made from sugar, distillation gives you alcohol, no sugars are left in the final product. While silver tequila is recommended in the nor-cal recipe, there is no reason why aged spirits aren't acceptable. The color and flavors come from the oak barrels, still no carbs and maybe trace plant sugars from the oak. So relaxing after work with a glass of Ron Zacapa Solera 23 for sipping is fine.

To summarize for cocktails we can use any distilled alcohol, (vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, etc.,) low sugar citrus juices, (lime, lemon,) wines and fortified wines (port, vermouth,) bitters, (dash is too small to have real consequence,) seltzer and tonic waters. We've laid out our ingredients and in part 2 to come we'll have some recipes.

Some further research and resources

Also Don't forget about the DrinksBurgh Anniversary Show

Sunday, September 2, 2012

DrinksBurgh Live

It's been almost 1 year since I began my project of documenting the craft drinking scene in Pittsburgh. In that time I've taken photos for bartenders, brewers, and distillers. In that time everyone I've met has been great and the scene has continued to grow and expand. We've had new places open up (Wigle), new places announced (the return of Embury), and sadly seen some of our group move on for other places. We're going to continue to move forward with the blog. We'll continue to do the visual Who's Who and cover other craft drinking events. I'll also talk about cocktails, beers, and a little bit of history.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of the blog we're going to have a big old party down at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip. The party will be centered around an exhibition of the portraits I've taken for the blog. There will be prints of all the portraits on display to see them off the computer screen and in the physical world. The show will run September 21-23 with the hours of 5-8 on Friday, and 11-5 on Saturday and Sunday.  All of the subjects have also been invited so this can be a chance to meet the people behind the craft drinking scene as well.