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Make this Drink to Celebrate National Rum Day

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Today is National Rum Day, which for some reason is not yet a federal holiday. However, unlike Arbor Day or Grover Cleveland’s birthday, this is a holiday you should take the trouble to celebrate. That’s why we’ll be throwing back Cuba Libres in the mental_floss offices this afternoon.

The mojito and daiquiri may get all of the glory as rum cocktails, but Bacardi has been pushing to restore the Cuba Libre—a concoction of rum, cola, and lime juice—to its rightful place among these summer classics. Once we tasted a Cuba Libre, a venerable cocktail that dates back to Havana at the turn of the 20th century, we were sold.

You wouldn’t think a squeeze of lime would be enough to cut through the sweetness of cola and rum to make an impact on the drink, but that little splash of citrus is magic. It transforms the boring old rum and Coke—a drink that tastes more like a night of making bad decisions in college than a real cocktail—into something surprisingly refreshing. The acidic lime is the perfect counterpunch to the other two ingredients’ overwhelming sweetness, and we give it extra points for being so easy to make.

Here’s the recipe—give it a try and let us know what you think:

- 3 parts cola
- 1 part rum (we’ve been using Bacardi Gold)
- 1 lime wedge

Fill a tall glass with ice, squeeze the lime wedge over the ice, and then add the rum and cola. Garnish with another lime wedge, and wonder aloud why all cocktail construction isn’t this painless.

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7 Surprising Uses for Tequila
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Happy National Tequila Day! While you could celebrate by having a few drinks, you could also skip the hangover by unlocking one of tequila's amazing abilities outside of a glass. Many spirits are useful for activities beyond sipping (vodka, for example, is a great stain and odor remover), but tequila holds some particularly magical powers. Here are just a few of them.

1. SYNTHETIC BAUBLE

In 2008, a team of scientists in Mexico discovered that when the heated vapor from an 80-proof tequila blanco was combined with a silicon or stainless steel substrate, it resulted in the formation of diamond films. These films can be used in commercial applications, such as electrical insulators, or to create one big fake diamond. Who knew that spending $50 on a bottle of Don Julio was such a wise investment?

2. ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE

Keeping with the science theme: In 2011, researchers at England’s University of Oxford suggested that we may one day be gassing up our cars with tequila. They identified agave, the plant from which tequila is produced, as a potential biofuel source—and a particularly attractive one, as the plant itself is not consumed by humans and can thrive in desert climates.

3. WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT

Scientists have long promoted the potential benefits of the agave plant for its ability to help dissolve fats and lower cholesterol. The bad news? These properties get a bit diluted when the plant is distilled into alcohol. Even more so when it's whipped into a sugary margarita.

4. SLEEP AID

Take three or more shots of tequila and you’re bound to pass out. A single shot can have the same effect—just not in that drunken stupor kind of way. Relaxation is one of the positive side effects of tequila drinking; a small amount (1 to 1.5 ounces) before bedtime can reportedly help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

5. COLON CLEANSER

Too much of a good thing may not bring a welcome turn of events for your liver … but your colon will thank you! Researchers at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara have identified the blue agave as a potentially helpful source for delivering drugs to the colon in order to treat colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease and even cancer.

6. DIABETES PREVENTATIVE

If Ernest Hemingway had known about the healing properties of tequila, his signature drink might have been a margarita instead of a daiquiri. In 2010, experiments conducted at Mexico’s Polytechnic Institute of Guanajuato revealed that the agave plant (which is high in fructans, a fructose polymer) could stimulate the GLP-1 hormone, aiding in increased insulin production.

7. COLD REMEDY

“Plenty of liquids” is a well-known remedy for getting oneself out from under the weather. But expanding that definition to include a kicked-up shot of tequila makes a day laid out on the couch sound much more appealing. In the 1930s, doctors in Mexico recommended the following concoction to fight off a cold.

.5 ounce of tequila blanco
.5 ounce of agave nectar (to eliminate bacteria and soothe sore throats)
.5 ounce of fresh lime juice (for Vitamin C) 

Though some people (including tequila companies) swear by its healing powers, others say it's hogwash.

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What's the Kennection? #158
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