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Alcohol

Not so long ago the only things that came in a bottle of alcohol (beside the alcohol itself) were the occasional odds and ends that fell in as it was being made, or some fruit that was deliberately shoehorned in to make it look decorative. Today there seems to be a craze for all sorts of objects jammed into bottles of spirit – scorpions, worms, and other creepy crawlies being particularly common. Actually distilling the essence of an insect to make an alcoholic beverage rather than just pickling it in a bottle, however, is a different prospect altogether. But now a company in the UK has done just that, by using an extract from ants to create a special type of gin. Read More

Despite its reputation as one of the safest countries in the world, Japan isn't immune to the problem of violence towards women. And is so often the case, alcohol is often involved. In an effort to raise awareness and force a shift in the attitudes of boozy bar hounds, the Yaocho Bar Group nightspot chain has designed a series of coasters with portraits of Japanese women that reveal facial injuries in reaction to having cold drinks placed on them.

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There are already in-vehicle systems that keep people from driving while intoxicated, although most of them require users to blow into a breathalyzer. The prototype AlcoStop system, however, takes a less intrusive approach – it measures users' blood alcohol levels by analyzing their sweat via built-in sensors, and won't allow the car to start if those levels indicate that they're too drunk to drive. Read More
Nature has done a pretty great job of making flowers all colorful and lovely to look at. Have you ever thought, though, that they might look even better even they changed color? That's what plant biotech firm Revolution Biotechnology (RevBio) thought, so it's modified plants to do exactly that. Read More
Diageo, the alcohol giant behind popular poisons like Smirnoff and Baileys, has teamed up with electronics company Thinfilm Electronics to develop a Johnnie Walker Blue Label smart whiskey bottle. The prototype connected bottle promises to enable distributors to better track stock as well as connect with user's smartphones and detect when someone has cracked it open prematurely. Read More
Oxytocin is often called the "love hormone" due to its role in encouraging social behaviors, love and long-term bonding. Now, scientists have discovered that it might have something to offer those with weak knees of a different kind. Research carried out at the University of Sydney has established that the hormone can curtail the intoxicating effects of alcohol in rats, suggesting that a sobriety pill for humans could one day become a reality. Read More
With the festive season upon us, many people will indulge in more alcohol than usual. The health risks of binge drinking (and embarrassing Christmas party behavior) aside, alcohol consumption is also a major risk factor for some cancers, including head, neck, esophageal, liver, breast and colorectal cancer. However, in a spot of good news, a recent study from the University of Colorado suggests that the chemical resveratrol found in grape skins and in red wine can help block the cancer-causing effects of alcohol. Read More
There are many people who enjoy sipping on fancy cocktails, but putting together drinks of such sophistication involves a certain expertise, a cabinet's worth of ingredients and a fair slice of your time. Wanting to make this life of luxury a little more accessible, the team behind the Somabar have produced a robotic bartending machine that spits out craft cocktails at the push of a button. Read More
That bargain plonk ordinaire that passes as merely drinkable may soon get featured status at your next party. A startup out of Spokane, Washington, has unveiled its Sonic Decanter designed to improve the flavor, mouthfeel and aroma of wine in 20 minutes or less by using high frequency sound waves to break down preservatives, such as sulfur dioxide, transform the molecular and chemical structure of wine, and accelerate the aging process. Read More

Not content with working as sales assistants and burger flippers, robots are landing jobs on cruise ships as bartenders and entertainers. Leading the way is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which is currently on its maiden voyage. Read More

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