Oct
19
2011

“You can’t complain when going to beer festivals is work:” An interview with Mike McAdams of drinkwel

Every Enthusiast has awakened after a particularly fun night in at least one of the following places: the backseat of a moving car that a stranger is driving, an ex-girlfriend’s bed to the sound of her screaming “you gotta get out of here! (s)he’ll be home any second!,” a corn maze. With a mouth as dry as sandpaper, the shakes setting in, and the distinct feeling of being pummeled repeatedly with the dull end of a hatchet ringing though ones’ head, a thought emerges—why hasn’t anyone come up with a cure for this yet?

Mike and Greg, drinkwel co-founders.

Mike McAdams and Greg Huang have attempted to do just that, answering our parched and desperate pleas with drinkwel, a multivitamin made just for us serious alcoholics non-problematic social drinkers. When we heard about drinkwel, we shamelessly begged for free samples and indulged in a couple serious long-weekend benders because we can’t control our compulsion to drink to field-test this supposed hangover cure. Taken as directed (before and after boozing), the little vitamin supplements did wonders for our next-morning condition. Apparently, “healthy drinker” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Convinced, we asked Mike to put the bottle of Jack down long enough (kidding! It was a pint glass of beer) to talk with us about inventing a vitamin for drinkers, hangover prevention, and life as an entrepreneur. Here’s what he had to say: Read more »


Aug
03
2011

“It was an intoxicating shade of green and I loved the ritual:” An interview with Absinthia

Whether you dance regularly with the green fairy or admire her peridot glow from across the room, you’ve surely heard her stories. Since the absinthe prohibition was lifted, the historically-controversial spirit has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. We spoke with Absinthia, an absinthe enthusiast on the precipice of launching her own absinthe business about her passion for the storied libation.

The Alcohol Enthusiast: How did you first become interested in absinthe?

Absinthia: Absinthe was served at a party I attended in 1996. It was an intoxicating shade of green and I loved the ritual with the spoon and sugar. I absolutely had to know more. As an art historian in college, the history fascinated me. I had never studied the Belle Epoque and through researching absinthe I learned a great deal about the French Romantic period of art and literature. I loved learning about the French soldiers who drank it to prevent malaria in the Algerian War, bringing absinthe to Europe from Africa, and how it quickly became fashionable to drink—even creating L’Heure Verte and the Green Hour. And I was fascinated by the complicated reasons for its ultimate ban.

TAE: Why was absinthe banned? Why was the ban recently lifted?

Absinthia: The temperance movement in the U.S. and the French wine industry were instrumental in banning absinthe. Many grape vines in France had phylloxera so less fruit was available and thus more expensive. At the same time, mass production of absinthe made it inexpensive. The absinthe ban was fianancially and politically motivated. In 1905 a Swiss man named Jean Lanfray murdered his family and tried to kill himself—reportedly, after drinking absinthe. The murders were the last straw. From 1906 through 1914, bans were enacted across the US and many European countries.

A modern resurgence in absinthe’s popularity began in the 1990s, when an importer realized absinthe was never banned in the United Kingdom—it had been seen by the British as a “French problem.” Around the same time the U.S. government reviewed lab tests that showed vintage absinthe contained a safe amount of thujone [the substance present in small amounts in absinthe, once thought to be dangerously addictive and psychoactive]. In March 2007, absinthe was legalized again in the US.

TAE: When did you start your absinthe business?

Absinthia: After all that research, I had to produce a bottle on my own. Read more »