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Brewery Recreates Booze Found in a 2500-Year-Old Grave

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After uncovering a cauldron containing 14 liters of alcohol from an Iron Age tomb, it’s normal to have some questions. One of the thoughts pestering University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee archaeologist Bettina Arnold was, "I wonder what this tasted like?" With some help from a Milwaukee brewery, she now has the answer. As NPR reports, Arnold collaborated with the Lakefront Brewery to recreate the 2500-year-old brew from scratch.

Fourteen liters of the ancient beverage were discovered in a bronze cauldron during Arnold's excavation of a burial plot in Germany, and date to between 400 and 450 BCE. As is often the case today, ancient cadavers weren’t always sent to their graves alone. They were sometimes buried with objects from life—like a supply of booze. "It’s a BYOB afterlife, you know?" Arnold told NPR. "You have to be able to sort of throw a party when you get there."

A paleobotanist analyzed the contents of the liquid concoction and made an educated guess as to the original recipe. The drink was likely braggot: an alcoholic beverage made from barley and honey. The tests also indicated the presence of mint and meadowsweet.

From there, cellarmaster Chad Sheridan and the rest of the team at Lakefront Brewery took over the project. After brewing for seven hours and fermenting for two weeks, the libation brought back from the dead was finally ready to be tasted.

According to NPR’s Bonnie North, the flavor was reminiscent of a "dry port, but with a minty, herbal tinge to it." Unfortunately, the product won’t be getting a commercial launch—mainly because the brewery isn’t convinced there would be much interest in it—but Arnold hopes it’ll lead to similar projects in future. She plans to develop a course at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where students can whip up ancient brews based on archaeological finds. One team in Israel has demonstrated how this concept can be taken even further: Earlier this year, the Herzl Beer brewery made a batch of beer from a 2000-year-old wheat strain.

[h/t NPR]
 
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A Restaurant In Australia Is Garnishing Its Margaritas With Frozen Eyeballs
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Jesse Hunniford/MONA

A cocktail special at a new restaurant in Australia has fallen under the global gaze thanks to its floating gaze. As Nerdist reports, Faro Tapas, a new Spanish eatery at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), offers a black margarita garnished with a frozen bull eyeball.

The frosty drink contains tequila, mezcal, lime, and charcoal (presumably for color). It's served in a glass with a black salted rim and the aforementioned toothpick-skewered peeper.

Gourmet Traveller recommends that those brave enough to sample Faro Tapas's bovine booze drink it quickly, as the eyeball's ice casing melts. (If you're willing to risk brain freeze to avoid eye mush, this sounds like a smart move.)

That said, adventurous drinkers with stomachs of steel might find Faro Tapas's eyeball-garnished margarita tame compared to the Yukon Territory's Sourtoe cocktail (it contains a dehydrated human toe) and countless other weird and wacky cocktails served up around the world. Bottoms (and eyeballs) up!

[h/t Nerdist]

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Drink Up: New Study Concludes Wine Can Offset Dementia
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The health benefits of wine can sometimes be overstated by people who are a few glasses deep and slurring their words. Should you ever find yourself in a position to defend your moderate imbibing, you have supporting evidence: A new study says two glasses of wine daily can potentially reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The study, which appears in Scientific Reports, shows that wine has an effect on one's glymphatic function, or the way the brain removes toxins. To clear itself of damaging and accumulated proteins like tau and beta amyloid, which are often linked with dementia, the brain pumps in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to act as a flushing solution. All sorts of variables can influence the glymphatic system's operation, including trauma, stroke, and excessive alcohol intake.

But when researchers dosed the mice in the study with moderate alcohol—amounting to 2.6 drinks daily—the glymphatic system was more efficient, removing more waste and exhibiting less inflammation than the teetotaling control mice.

As is usually the case when it comes to booze, you can have too much of a good thing. When mice got the equivalent of 7.9 drinks daily, their glymphatic system grew sluggish until the overindulging was terminated.

"Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline," lead study author Maiken Nedergaard, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a press statement. "This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health."

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