Some people like to drink and others stay away from alcohol. To each their own; as long as you are drinking responsibly, there’s nothing wrong with having a few glasses of wine every now and then. I’ve never been a big drinker myself, but having a bit of alcohol can be a quick and effective way to loosen up at a social function. Plus, some of it tastes great.
Regardless of whether you’re into drinking or not, the history, science, and legality of alcohol can be downright fascinating. Here are some awesome alcohol facts that you probably haven’t heard before.
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1. Only sparkling wine produced in Champagne, France, actually qualifies as champagne.
There are actually some pretty strict requirements that a drink has to follow in order to be considered true champagne and this is one of them. I’ve been talking about alcohol incorrectly my whole adult life and you probably have, too.
2. Though alcohol makes you feel warmer, it actually lowers your core body temperature.
The reason you feel warm when you drink alcohol is that alcohol dilates your blood vessels, increasing the volume of blood being brought to the skin’s surface. However, since all of that blood is gravitating towards the skin’s surface instead of moving as it normally does, your core body temperature will go down.
3. Mixing alcohol with a diet soda will likely cause you to get drunk more quickly than mixing with a regular soda.
Even if the amount of alcohol in each drink is the same, your blood alcohol content (BAC) can read up to 25% higher if you opt to mix your drink with diet soda instead of regular soda. This is because the real sugar in normal soda makes it take longer for alcohol to reach your bloodstream than the sugar substitutes used in diet drinks.
4. Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia until 2013.
Until 2013, any drink with an alcohol content under 10% was simply considered to be a “foodstuff” rather than an alcoholic drink. Basically, beer was just a regular addition to anyone’s grocery list and could be bought at kiosks and local stores across the country as easily as fruit juice. Can you imagine?
5. Almost all fruits contain a small amount of alcohol.
This applies to the majority of vegetables as well. You’re not going to get wasted by munching on apples, but the alcohol is there!
6. “Oenophobia” is the fear of wine.
7. Conversely, “cenosillicaphobia” means being afraid of an empty glass.
Although the legitimacy of this word is still debated–it doesn’t make its way into any of the major English dictionaries–”cenosillicaphobia” is used to describe a fear of empty glasses. I’m pretty sure that half of the people on my college campus suffer from this based on the way that they go out four nights a week.
8. It’s against the law to ride a cow while drunk in Scotland.
There go my vacation plans for my theoretical future trip to Scotland. Seriously, though, which drunk person in the 1800s inspired this rule?
9. There’s plenty of alcohol available for the aliens.
In 1995, British scientists analyzed the interstellar gas cloud G34.3 and computed that it contains enough ethyl alcohol to make 400 trillion pints of beer. Space party, anyone?
10. Scientists are working on something to help people sober up quickly.
By injecting drunken mice with nanocapsules that contain enzymes that play a vital role in alcohol metabolism, researchers have been able to reduce their blood alcohol levels. Here’s the English, non-sciencey translation: scientists can sober up mice pretty fast. One day, there might be something on the market that humans can take to sober up quickly, but we aren’t quite there yet.