Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Interesting Finds at Lee's Discount Liquors, Las Vegas!

Halloween is party night!  Go with it!

     First of all, drink responsibly!  Do not drink and drive!  Hire a taxi!  Assign a designated driver!   

     One drink per hour is considered to b a reasonably responsible sober pace, according to some alcohol service guidelines.  Those who have a lower body weight may have to consume at an even slower pace.  Body weight is a blood alcohol content (BAC) factor.  Body fat is another factor.  Those who have a higher percentage of body fat, actually will show a higher blood alcohol content than a slender person.  
     Women will have a higher BAC after one drink than a man will.  Elderly people will have a higher BAC after one drink than a younger person, because they cannot metabolize alcohol as quickly.  Those who have diabetes or liver ailments, will have a higher BAC than those who have no ailments, when consuming alcoholic beverages.  
     An easy way to check the blood alcohol content is to use a BAC calculator.  If a person is too inebriated to type numbers into the BAC calculator, then the answer is easily at hand.  A BAC calculator should not be used to see how much alcohol one can withstand.  Alcohol is safe and somewhat healthy in small portions on occasion, but it is a deadly poison when extremely high amounts are consumed. 
     One drink per hour is a standard for professional alcohol service and the accumulated blood alcohol content over a period of time is another factor that alcoholic beverage servers must observe.  
     For example:  
     • A party of four 160 pound, 40 year old males, drink 4 bottles of wine in 3 hours.  They look sober, they act like they are sober and they talk like they are sober.  
     - Can alcoholic beverage service legally continue?  
     - Is their blood alcohol content within a range that is safe for driving a car?  
     - What is the prime responsibility of the house or server?
     • One serving of wine is 5 ounces and this equals one drink.
     • A bottle of wine is 750ml, which equals 25.36 ounces.  A bottle of wine contains about 5 1/3 servings.  The average alcohol content of wine is about 13.5%.  
     • Assuming the four guests drank equal amounts of wine, the consumption calculation is easy, because each guest drank one bottle of wine.  4 ÷ 4 = 1.
     • Each guest actually drank 25.36 ounces of wine in 3 hours.  Each guest consumed 5 1/3 servings of alcohol in 3 hours, which exceeds the 1 drink per hour safe serving rule.
     • A BAC calculator result is 0.076%.  The sobriety status is "Possibly Intoxicated/DO NOT DRIVE!"
     • Since the party shows no signs of inebriation, alcohol service can continue, but with caution. 
     • Each state sets their own Driving Under The Influence statutes.  Many states have a 0.08 BAC limit.  Each member of the party has a BAC of 0.076.  According to current Nevada law of 0.08 BAC, they are legally sober, but any amount of positive blood alcohol evidence is never a good thing in a court of law.  
     • According to alcohol service guidelines, the house must act responsibly.  Suggesting alternative transportation arrangements (taxi, limo or designated driver) is an act of responsibility.  The alternative transportation topic must be brought to the attention of the party, if they wish to order another bottle of wine, because the next bottle would send them over the legal BAC limit. 
     • Suggesting a period of time for regaining sobriety is another house responsibility.  Sobering time calculations can be very difficult to do.  There are sobriety time calculators on the internet.  It can take more than 12 hours for an inebriated person to sober up, if their BAC is 0.16.  It can also take the same amount of time for a person who has a BAC of 0.08 to sober up.  There are many variables in calculating sobering time.  
     Lots of coffee is what many people suggest for sobering up.  Lots of coffee just creates a wide awake drunken person!
     Alcohol accumulation in the blood stream is a factor when calculating alcohol metabolism (sobering time).  One drink will take far less sobering time than five drinks, even if the five drinks were consumed over the course of three hours.  One drink per hour, with a limit on total drinks consumed, is the ideal maximum alcoholic beverage service rate, if a person has any hope of achieving sobriety within a reasonable amount of time.  It is never good to assume that legal sobriety can be achieved in a short amount of time, even when having only one drink!     
     • Not every state sobriety testing policy can be trusted.  States like Florida do have a history of exaggerating BAC test results, in order achieve a higher conviction rate.  If a person is close to a legal BAC limit, they should wait for a prescribed period of time, so BAC falls to a lower level, or seek alternative transportation means.   

     Here is a link to a reliable BAC calculator:  

     There is plenty more alcohol service subject matter that servers must know.  I recently scored an A grade in the Wine & Beverage Management Class, an A Grade in Psychology, an A Grade in Dining Room Management, and an A grade in Responsible Alcoholic Beverage Service.  All of these classes thoroughly covered the alcoholic beverage topic from top to bottom.  These classes are part of the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Operations Associates Degree Program.  
     There are many good short duration alcoholic beverage service classes that are available.  Personally, I have a policy of only hiring servers and bartenders that have alcoholic beverage service certification.  The liable consequences of irresponsible alcoholic beverage service are devastating morally and financially.      

     Interesting Finds at Lee's Discount Liquors

     Okay!  Now that the alcohol consumption responsibility stuff is out of the way, lets get the party started and let the booze flow freely! 
     Lee's Discount Liquors has many locations in the Las Vegas Valley.  Some locations are specialized.  Some offer a vast wine cellar.  Some offer a large selection of high end liquors.  Some keep mountains of beer kegs in stock.  There are even Lee's locations that are liquidation centers.  Lee's Liquors always offer good pricing, good service and a good selection.  The owners of this liquor store chain have been recognized for their outstanding achievements and professionalism.  
     I personally am not a hard drinker of some kind and I rarely get tipsy.  Staying within a sober range in Las Vegas is important, because there is so many great things happening every minute of the day.  
     The collection of bottled alcoholic beverages in the pictures above were accumulated over a long period of time.  Many of the wines are being aged in a wine cabinet and some of the liquors that came in fancy bottles have not been opened, because they have collector value.  Therefore, there is no use in trying to describe the qualities, characteristics and flavor of each item in the pictures.
     Young Red Wine, Which Requires Minimal Aging:  
     French Beaujolais!  Two of the AOC Beaujolais are ready in 5 years or less.  The Moulin a Vent AOC is ready in 10 years or less.  All French AOC Beaujolais is made with Gamay Grapes which were brought to France during the age of the Roman Empire.  French AOC Beaujolais Villages is a nice gentle table wine that has a low tannin level.   

     The Original Margarita:
     The original margarita was made with Damiana Liquor, not curacao or triple sec.  Just look for the "Naked Plump Nativa Lady" bottle!  

     Man Candy:
     Maple Bacon Liquor certainly is man candy.  One simply cannot go wrong with a maple bacon flavored cocktail!

     Beer in all shapes sizes and colors are a matter of personal or seasonal preference.  "Sweeter" high gravity Beers, like Doppelbock, are nice when the weather turns chilly.

     Top shelf Azul is the best and it is a little bit out of my price range.  The best Azul Tequila is actually rated higher than many of the best Scotch and Cognac that the world has to offer.  
     Kah Tequila comes in a hand painted skull bottle and the bottles do have collector value.  Kah is a nice smooth tequila!
     Hijos De Villa Pistol Reposado Tequila definitely has collector value.  The pistol shaped bottles have been made for many years and occasionally a collector's market opens up.  This tequila is rated fairly high.  The pistol bottle certainly could be fun at a party and it is a nice gift!    

     White Wine:
     Argentinian Pannotia Torrontés is highly recommended for those who like subtly smooth fine chardonnay qualities, while also preferring sharper fruitier essences with crisp highlight notes.  Torrontés grapes are a unique varietal that is well acclimated to the terroir of Argentina.  Bravisimo!

     Full Bodied Rich Classic Red Wine:
     Puglia is a superb Italian wine region and this region posts top production numbers year after year.  Tormaresca Neprica Puglia wine is made with a blend of negroamaro, primitivo (the original zinfandel) and cabernet sauvignon.  This deep dark red wine has enough of a zinfandel accent to make it lively on the palate with a long smooth rich finish with a classic balance of tannins that Italian wine craftsmen are famous for.  Superb!

    Corn liquor is moonshine.  The Las Vegas Distillery makes one of the finest tasting corn liuors that there is.  The selection of organic corn is the reason this moonshine has a clean crisp finish.
    McCormick's Platte Valley Corn Whiskey is as old fashioned as it gets!  Everybody knows the "Little Brown Jug" song.  McCormick's Corn Whiskey is a true classic and the little brown jug does have collector value.

     Lee's offers all of the standard favorite's at a nice price.  High end limited batch bourbon is also stocked.  Many whiskey folks prefer great bourbon over the finest scotch any day of the week.  
     Bulleit's Frontier Bourbon is an American classic.  Smooth and full of great bourbon characteristics. Bulleit's costs a few dollars more, but it is well worth the price.  The bottles do have collector value.
     The Las Vegas Distillery's Nevada Whiskey is praised by experienced taste testers as potentially being the greatest whiskey that has ever been produced.  These experts know how to recognize classic qualities in a green whiskey that has not been aged.  Green whiskey that is not matured does have a unique flavor of its own that mellows in 8 to 35 years.  Part of the aging process is done in oak barrels.  This whiskey is the finest immature green whiskey that I have ever tasted.  The distillery master is from Kentucky and he certainly knows his stuff.  This whiskey commands a high price now and it is a good investment for the future!  

     Vodka!  Stolichnaya was my favorite and always will be a favorite.  I prefer crisp clean traditional Russian wheat vodka.  With this in mind, the Las Vegas distillery modeled their own Nevada Vodka the same way.  Organic local grown wheat from Northern Nevada is what this vodka is made with.  The Nevada Vodka has classic russian vodka characteristics.  A slight hint of the fine wheat grain flavors are present.  Nevada Vodka is the perfect gourmet choice!
     Tours of the Nevada Distillery and Distilling classes are available.  Three copper tokens for unlimited tastings at the distillery are shown in the pictures above.  Sometime soon, I will devote an article to the Las Vegas Distillery tasting experience. 

     Since bar management is part of being a chef, I do occasionally post liquor, beer and wine articles.  Pairing beverages with food is part of hospitality.  The suggestions made in this article are honest and they are not tainted with bias.  These are products that I have purchased or tried that seem to be of high enough quality to easily recommend.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

The pictures above can be viewed in a full size slide show mode by clicking on any photo.  

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