A Study of Alcohols

I have, for your delectation and delight, written three pages of invaluable information for you to peruse at your leisure. One is a Drinks Guide covering a huge variety of beverages, some of which you may never encounter in your lifetime. Although it was hazardous to his own health, your poor author suffered to explore the heady world of alcoholic liquids and bring back this information just for you. Admittedly this could now do with a bit of updating since I wrote it.

The second page, larger even than the first, is a guide to Mixing Drinks that will teach you how to make a myriad of cocktails, with all manner of curious names. From prize-winners to vomit-inducers, all of the classics and many of the obscures have been covered in intimate detail. Go for it - take the plunge - have a drink...

Thirdly, I have a Wish List of drinks for and from my personal collection, for use when people plan to visit one of my many and infamous cocktail parties. Not only that, but it also gives you reviews of the drinks and some basic tips to mixing cocktails the Stelio way. Apparently people like my drinks, so I must be doing something right. Give it a go, and tell me what you think.

A Free Gift!

And for chancing upon this page, I present to you a free gift comprising of Fun with Microwaved Vodka! Of all the spirits I've tried, vodka is definitely the best overall for microwaving. It has the right mix of cheapness, availability, high alcohol content, and if necessary flamability. Here's what you do... Put into a glass, some vodka. Not too much. A double is a good size. And now place it in your microwave. On full power, set the microwaves free, and watch carefully. As soon as the vodka starts to boil (indicated by the glass steaming up, or large amounts of bubbles violently appearing) then STOP THE MICROWAVE! We do have some small element of consideration for personal safety after all. And lo! The vodka is now officially microwaved. Note that flavoured vodkas may leave a funny smell in the air, dependent on flavour used (eg chilli pepper = sweaty kebab shop).

What to do with it: well, try drinking it for starters. You'll notice that you have a reflex action to inhale just before you take a drink. It's utterly natural. You can override the urge easily if you want, but few people notice they even do it. They will with this drink. When the vodka boiled, it was the alcohol coming off. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water and so evolves first, but it's also denser than air and will collect in the glass (this is why your glass shouldn't be full). As soon as you go to drink it, you inhale the gaseous alcohol, straight into your lungs, straight into your blood stream. What a hit! You may choke. Then when you drink the vodka, you can feel it warm all the way down, and when it hits your belly the heat spreads out through your body. Mmm-mmm. Warm loving goodness in a heated glass.

A spectacular alternative (or, "has anyone got a light?"). This is the now-infamous vodka candle. Do as above, but also place an upturned funnel over the glass prior to microwaving. I recommend using a plastic one for reasons that will become evident. What this will do is to trap more of the gaseous alcohol, but also provides an air vent at the top and so won't explode or anything. When you take the glass out of the microwave, lift the edge of the funnel slightly at one side, and hold a naked flame there. Zippo's are good for this. The net effect? WOOOOMPH! The first time you do this, you may drop the funnel sharpish as it becomes a conic inferno, hence why plastic is good. The glass will now be crowned by a rather large blue flame. And it will burn and burn and burn. There should be well over five minutes of fuel there. You see alcohol burns (obviously) but also because the vodka has been heated, it's easier to extract the remaining alcohol from it than usual. The candle doesn't produce an awful lot of light, but in a darkened room looks a bit like the aurora borealis, which can't be a bad thing. Have fun now!

A safety note: You are dealing here with forces man was not meant to meddle with, and you are not guaranteed against bodily damage. If you use too much vodka, then the flame will burn for a longer time, and all the time that the flame is burning, it is also heating the glass. If you use a relatively delicate receptacle and too much vodka, it is very likely that the glass will break. The effect of this will be a burst of yellow flame, and the appearance of an interesting crackle pattern covering the glass. Liquid will start to seep through the cracks, hissing as it hits whatever surface it's on. If you do not take rapid steps to ensure your safety, the glass will shatter and the vodka will flow freely. It is worth noting that the vodka will still be on fire, and will burn anything it can. So don't use lots of vodka, okay?