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Windsor Castle. Image credit: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
Windsor Castle. Image credit: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

You Can Buy Wine Made From the Queen’s Royal Vineyard

Windsor Castle. Image credit: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
Windsor Castle. Image credit: Diliff via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

February 6, 2017 marks a special date in British history. It’s the 65-year anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s royal rule, making her the first-ever British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee. And what better way to celebrate than with champagne made from grapes grown on the Queen’s estate?

For many non-royals, sipping a glass of Windsor Vineyard English Quality Sparking Wine is the closest they can get to wining and dining with the Queen. Food and Wine reports that Laithwaite’s, the largest wine retailer in the UK, received the green light to plant its vineyard at the royal Windsor Great Park in 2011. Queen Elizabeth II isn’t the first monarch to approve a vineyard at Windsor: Henry II grew grapes of his own there in the twelfth century. But this will be the first time modern palates will get to taste wine from the property.

A couple of years after the new vineyard was planted, vines were producing champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes right outside Windsor Castle. The first batch of the Queen’s two-year-aged wines was ready to hit stores by the end of 2016.

But the product didn’t remain on the shelves for very long: All 3000 bottles of Her Majesty’s English fizz have already sold out. Fortunately for fans of all things Royal, the vineyard is set to be churning out 20,000 bottles worth of grapes annually in six or seven years. The next round of wine, which will market for £35 (about $43) a bottle, is already available for pre-order ahead of its release in fall of 2017.

[h/t Food and Wine]

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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]

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Health
Just Two Cans of Soda a Day May Double Your Risk of Death From Heart Disease
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iStock

If you've been stocking your refrigerator full of carbonated corn syrup in anticipation of warmer weather, the American Heart Association has some bad news. The advocacy group on Wednesday released results of research that demonstrate a link between consumption of sugary drinks—including soda, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages—and an increased risk of dying from heart disease.

Study participants who reported consuming 24 ounces or more of sugary drinks per day had twice the risk of death from coronary artery disease of those who averaged less than 1 ounce daily. There was also an increased risk of death overall, including from other cardiovascular conditions.

The study, led by Emory University professor Jean Welsh, examined data taken from a longitudinal study of 17,930 adults over the age of 45 with no previous history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. Researchers followed participants for six years, and examined death records to determine causes. They observed a greater risk of death associated with sugary drinks even when they controlled for other factors, including race, income, education, smoking habits, and physical activity. The study does not show cause and effect, the researchers said, but does illuminate a trend.

The study also noted that while it showed an increased risk of death from heart disease, consumption of sugary foods was not shown to carry similar risk. One possible explanation is that the body metabolizes the sugars differently: Solid foods carry other nutrients, like fat and protein, that slow metabolism, while sugary drinks provide an undiluted influx of carbohydrates that the body must process.

The news will likely prove troublesome for the beverage industry, which has long contended with concerns that sugary drinks contribute to type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Some cities, including Seattle, have introduced controversial "soda tax" plans that raise the sales tax on the drinks in an effort to discourage consumption.

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