I'll Have What Her Majesty's Having (famous folk and their drinks of choice)

The sad truth is, we can't choose a brand of jeans unless a celebrity endorses them. Just can't do it. Nor can we pick a rental car service until we know some sort of professional athlete is comfortable shilling for their brand. That's why we're forgoing those no-name Nectarini's we order night after night for a delicious celebrity-endorsed beverage. Because if it's good enough for the Queen, Ernest Hemingway, or even Lyndon B. Johnson, then darn it if it isn't good enough for mental_floss.

54gordingin.jpgQueen Elizabeth II "“ More than tea, Her Majesty prefers a Gordon's gin and tonic. Oh, and don't forget the lemon slices. The British Queen takes 3 of them with each drink.

Lyndon B. Johnson "“ Scotch and soda. When it was hot outside, the former president loved to drive slowly around his Texas ranch in an open top convertible, taking long pulls from a large foam glass. When his cup runneth lower, Johnson simply dangled it out his window. Immediately, a Secret Service agent would run forward, grab the cup, race back to the service car following the president's, re-fill the beverage, then hustle back to hand it off to the Prez. Secret Service with a smile.

Ernest Hemingway "“ While he always portrayed himself to be a man's man, Hemingway loved daiquiris. It's true! The man who loved boxing, fishing and bull-fighting also loved syrupy drinks-- particularly the ones made at the Floridita Bar in Havana, where they substituted maschino liqueur for sugar in the diabetic writer's rounds.

Oprah Winfrey "“ Lemon Drop Martinis. What can you say? I guess all the money in the world simply can't buy class. (Just kidding, Oprah. Let's help the healing begin, though. Invite us on your show and we'll talk through this.)

Rush Limbaugh "“ Nothing by Port wine for our portly friend.

Adam Clayton Powell "“ The first African American to become a major figure in Congress drank Scotch with a healthy shot of milk. Supposedly, the milk calmed his ulcers while the scotch worked on his nerves.

Winston Churchill "“ Despite being a big fan of martinis and having a mother who was responsible for the invention of the Manhattan cocktail, Churchy preferred sipping on Johnny Walker Red!

20532.jpgSo, what about whiskey- that delicious drink of drinks?
Sure, you've seen it on the list above, but it's still a dicey choice. Here's a quick for and against:
FOR: Frank Sinatra loved him some Jack Daniels.
AGAINST: Janis Joplin. While she loved her Southern Comfort, and always carried a fifth on stage with her, she's not exactly a ringing endorsement for drinking.
FOR: Hunter S. Thompson "“ Wild Turkey on the rocks. If you're going for an authentic Thompson though, you might need to add pills to taste.
AGAINST: Saddam Hussein "“ While he asked for hot water laced with honey for his last meal, Hussein's drink of choice was whiskey on the rocks.

James Duong, AFP/Getty Images
The Latest Way to Enjoy Pho in Vietnam: As a Cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pho is something of a national dish in Vietnam. The noodle soup, typically topped with beef or chicken, can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There’s even a version of it for happy hour, as Lonely Planet reports.

The pho cocktail, served at Nê Cocktail Bar in Hanoi, contains many of the herbs and spices found in pho, like cinnamon, star anise, cilantro, and cardamom. Without the broth or meat, its taste is refreshingly sweet.

The drink's uniqueness makes it a popular choice among patrons, as does the dramatic way it's prepared. The bartender pours gin and triple sec through the top of a tall metal apparatus that contains three saucers holding the spices. He then lights the saucers on fire with a hand torch as the liquid flows through, allowing the flavors to infuse with the alcohol as the drink is filtered into a pitcher below.

The pho cocktail
James Duong, AFP/Getty Images

Pham Tien Tiep, who was named Vietnam’s best bartender at the Diageo Reserve World Class cocktail competition in 2012, created the cocktail six years ago while working at the famous French Colonial-era hotel the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, according to AFP. He has since brought his signature drink to several of the stylish bars he owns in Vietnam’s capital, including Nê Cocktail Bar.

Initially, he set out to create a drink that would represent Vietnam’s culture and history. “I created the pho cocktail at the Metropole Hotel, just above the war bunkers where the American musician Joan Baez sang to the staff and guests in December 1972 as bombs fell on the city,” Tiep told Word Vietnam magazine. “The alcohol in the cocktail is lit on fire to represent the bombs, while spices, such as chili and cinnamon, reflect the warmness of her voice.”

Tiep has a reputation for infusing his drinks with unusual local ingredients. He has also created a cocktail that features fish sauce, a popular condiment in Vietnam, and another that contains capsicum, chili, and lemongrass in an ode to the bo luc lac (shaking beef) dish, according to CNN.

[h/t Lonely Planet]

Just 5 Alcoholic Drinks a Week Could Shorten Your Lifespan

Wine lovers were elated when a scientific study last year suggested that drinking a glass of wine a day could help them live longer. Now a new study, published in The Lancet, finds that having more than 100 grams of alcohol a week (the amount in about five glasses of wine or pints of beer) could be detrimental to your health.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the British Heart Foundation studied the health data of nearly 600,000 drinkers in 19 countries and found that five to 10 alcoholic drinks a week (yes, red wine included) could shave six months off the life of a 40-year-old.

The penalty is even more severe for those who have 10 to 15 drinks a week (shortening a person’s life by one to two years), and those who imbibe more than 18 drinks a week could lose four to five years of their lives. In other words, your lifespan could be shortened by half an hour for every drink over the daily recommended limit, according to The Guardian, making it just as risky as smoking.

"The paper estimates a 40-year-old drinking four units a day above the guidelines [the equivalent of drinking three glasses of wine in a night] has roughly two years' lower life expectancy, which is around a 20th of their remaining life," David Spiegelhalter, a statistician at the University of Cambridge who was not involved with the study, tells The Guardian. "This works out at about an hour per day. So it's as if each unit above guidelines is taking, on average, about 15 minutes of life, about the same as a cigarette."

[h/t The Guardian]


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