There are a lot of reasons to drink adult beverages. And I know this is a strange time of year to ponder this issue.
Carnival season does not align itself with healthy lifestyles, including doing plenty of exercise and watching the diet. I think we can safely conclude that quite the opposite is closer to the truth when it comes to making healthy choices during parade season, attending seasonal parties, and just being with friends waiting for whatever activity to begin or arrive.
While most of us don’t want to do harm to our already flawed life-vessel, during Carnival season we don’t exactly seek out activities, foods and drinks that could be described, by any stretch of the definition, as healthy. In fact, most of us likely make decisions that take us in the opposite direction, with the lame and empty promise that come Ash Wednesday, we will atone.
For quite some time, food consultants, lifestyle gurus and nutritionists have used our geographic area as the “bad example” of how not to live life. Our seemingly obvious crusade of enjoying a short life but a merry one fools no one. We usually end up at the bottom of every list that purports to measure good health. We smile or even laugh as we reach for another cracklin’ or dive back into our bowl of Andouille and Chicken Gumbo.
Of course, we don’t want to die young but then again, we want to be happy. Seems to me we are honest and when compared to, say, people in California, we are not all that much different in final outcomes.
As an example, many members of the medical profession and researchers who study diets have railed for years about the evils of alcohol. The Demon Rum is not held in high esteem by many who labor all day in pristine environments while sporting the latest model lab coat.
Yet, the mound of studies conducted on the effects of alcohol, when used in moderation, actually come to no hard conclusions. There are bodies of research work that prove beyond any shadow of a doubt alcohol in any quantity is detrimental to your health. And there is an equal stack of research that is inconclusive, maybe even landing on the good side of outcomes, which note the effects of moderate alcohol use may be a benefit to your heart and aids digestion.
We will not be solving those conflicting issues here. But some enterprising and creative mixologists have taken the discussions further by loading up cocktails with generally agreed-upon healthy ingredients.
Mixologists all over America are creating new drinks, or spiking old favorites, with immunity-boosting mushrooms, specially treated and outcome-desired herbs, along with superfood algae. The purpose of all this hocus-pocus is to boost your vitamin intake, aid various internal functions, super-charge your cranial mechanisms, or address negative skin conditions.
I don’t want to arrive at conclusions on matters of which I know nothing about. You are likely thinking well, that’s never stopped him before.
But to me, the purpose of a cocktail is not to rev up the brain cells so I can make my mark on Jeopardy! Plus, to use a liquid base comprised primarily of a fermented spirit, which has not proven itself to be healthy at its core, strikes me as building a flawed project in hopes the outcome offsets the along-the-way negatives. To prove the folly of that approach, look no further than Canal Street and the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.
My conclusions here are that while maybe cocktails can become healthier, we should not stretch out so far, sacrificing a cocktail’s purpose or its flavors, in order to head in a direction for which the genre was never intended.
I’m good with an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, even a Sazerac after a good work-out at the gym or a walk through the neighborhood.
Read Happy Hour here on myneworleans.com on Thursdays, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed, as well as stored (podcast), at www.wgso.com. Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature about cocktails every month in New Orleans Magazine.