Here's the Perfect Temperature at Which You Should Drink Champagne

iStock.com/lostinbids
iStock.com/lostinbids

Before you start popping bottles tonight, be sure that everything is set properly: Gather your friends, write some resolutions, and chill the Champagne to its ideal temperature.

It's almost too easy to improperly open a bottle of Champagne (or sparkling wine, as any bubbly that doesn't come from France's Champagne region is technically supposed to be called) and hinder the whole experience. The temperature at which it's chilled can affect the taste, the fizz, and whether you lose a third of the bottle to overflow once you pop the cork. Luckily, there's a way to be sure that you're getting the most out of your bottle of bubs.

The Takeout recently spoke to Bob Hemauer, a partner at Cork 'N Bottle in Madison, Wisconsin, and an expert on the idiosyncrasies and specifics of fine alcohol. His recommendation is to keep your champs chilled to a very safe 45°F, though he prefers to "live life to the edge a little bit," and "let [his] Champagne get a little closer to 50°F or 55°F." A warmer bottle means a fizzy explosion is more likely, but vintage champagnes (read: more expensive bottles—for champagnes, a single-year harvest is what indicates vintage, not its age) are traditionally kept warmer to avoid stunning the taste buds. This gives you the full effect of the flavor. When Champagne is kept just under 50°F, it reaches that perfect happy medium.

Handle your bubbly gently, too. Hemauer says that "treating [the Champagne] with the proper amount of respect really helps." Avoid shaking the bottle, obviously, unless you're filming a music video. When opening it, twist the bottle rather than the cork for the best results. Hemauer adds that you should down your drink quickly to really get the most out of it, and if you must take your time, keeping your bottle in a chilled bucket or refrigerated will keep your drink fizzier for longer.

There's a lot of advice on how to properly store, chill, and serve Champagne, but just remember: never put it in the freezer, keep the temperature just below 50°F, and, drink up so you can avoid the need to re-chill, which impairs its fizz and taste. Cheers!

[h/t The Takeout]

Blue Point Brewing Company's New Bubble Gum Beer Has a Garbage Pail Kids Twist

Blue Point Brewing Company
Blue Point Brewing Company

Craving the taste of 1980s nostalgia? Long Island-based Blue Point Brewing Company's new bubble gum-flavored IPA, Bubble Brain, smells like Bazooka Joe but tastes more like a less-sweet fruity brew, with a tart and bitter finish. Even those who aren’t keen on IPAs might like it, as the deep rose-hued drink looks like wine and doesn’t taste as hoppy as some IPAs and pale ales.

To give the beer an added throwback vibe, Blue Point (an Anheuser-Busch InBev company) tapped Garbage Pail Kids illustrator Brent Engstrom to design the label, which features a rendering of Blue Point’s brewmaster Mike "Stoney" Stoneburg, who came up with the beer.

"It’s a small batch, bubble gum beer, driven by fruit, spices, and yeast,” Barry McLaughlin, Blue Point Brewing’s marketing director, told Forbes. “It’s all inspired by a visit to a dusty novelty store on the west side of town and finding a bit of lost nostalgia of our ‘80s youth.”

“The juicy New England and milkshake IPA styles have become extremely popular, as well as fruited, kettle sours," McLaughin said of the beer's IPA-meets-sour flavor. "As brewers, we wanted to highlight the things we love about all of these styles but also take some risks and push the drinker’s experience further in a new, sub-style of IPA."

According to the beer review site Untapped, some drinkers have described the 6.5 percent ABV Bubble Brain as “weird,” “wild,” and “tastes just like bubble gum.”

You can find the beer—and a sip of yesterday—in pastel-colored tall boy four-packs at select retail outlets in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and at Blue Point’s brewpub in Patchogue, New York.

You Can Now Enjoy a Vodka Made in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone … If You Dare

igorr1/iStock via Getty Images
igorr1/iStock via Getty Images

The HBO limited series Chernobyl has brought renewed attention to the 1986 nuclear accident that occurred in what was then the Soviet Union, which ranks among the worst man-made disasters in world history. The accidental explosion of the nuclear core irradiated a huge swath of land 1000 square miles in size and is believed to have killed thousands.

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now apparently safe enough for tourists, who flock to the site to get a glimpse of what amounts to a ghost town. But would you drink a vodka made from grains and water found there?

Scientists and researchers who have worked in the zone believe some people will. They’ve founded the Chernobyl Spirit Company and are now marketing Atomik, an artisan vodka made with rye grains and water from the area. Jim Smith, an environmental scientist at England's University of Portsmouth, led the exploration of land near the Opachichi settlement, which is believed to be one of the zone's least contaminated areas.

Rye grain grown on the site demonstrated levels of radioactivity that were slightly above safe thresholds. After being distilled, the spirit was submitted to experts at Southampton University for additional testing. The distillation seemed to virtually eliminate all but the naturally occurring levels of carbon-14 found in most any spirit. The water, which comes from an aquifer six miles south of the reactor, was found to be safe. The company also says that the soil poses no health issues for workers.

Researchers say the vodka accomplishes two goals: First, it makes use of land that would otherwise be abandoned. Second, proceeds from sales of the vodka will be put back into communities near the Exclusion Zone, which have struggled to improve their economic conditions in the years since the accident.

For now, the Chernobyl Spirit Company has only produced one bottle of Atomik. The goal is to make 500 bottles this year and sell them primarily to tourists to the site. If nothing else, having some Chernobyl moonshine will make for a conversation piece.

[h/t BBC]

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