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    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    It’s Election Day here in Australia. Voting is mandatory here (if you don’t show up and do something with your piece of paper, they’ll fine you...ignoring all your options and drawing a huge anatomically correct dick on it instead counts as “doing something”) so, of course, I did.

    We have a fun little tradition on election days. Boys and girls and others as appropriate, it’s time to embrace the democracy sausage.



    For the record, the democracy sausage stall at my kids’ school was on point this year. Sausage, cake AND coffee!
    We had something similar. Well, same same but different. Drunk voters.



    Open Bar: America’s History of Buying Votes With Booze

    For a variety of reasons — email scandals, Bernie blues, orange cotton candy hair and the brain sitting beneath it — more than a few voters might be tipsy in the voting booth this year. Even if we choose to go the responsible route and vote soberly, we’ll probably find our way to the nearest liquor store to drown our electoral sorrows in some all-American hooch.

    Turns out this isn’t a new phenomenon. The sadness and psychological rage, maybe, but the concept of coupling drinking and voting? That’s been around longer than the country itself. Really, however much booze is consumed to grease political wheels in D.C. power-player watering holes —and we shudder to imagine lobbyists knocking back $2,000 bottles of wine — that’s nothing compared to the way early American political candidates would use alcohol to essentially buy votes from the electorate. Maybe “buy” isn’t the right term. It was more like a little friendly elbow nudge, with booze. They even had a nickname for the practice. Well, two, actually: “treating,” or “swilling the planters with bumbo,” aka rum.

    It seems counterintuitive to get your electorate nice and sauced before it votes, especially back in the day, when we can only imagine voting involved lighting candles or dripping hot wax onto a parchment. But it actually made some sense. For one thing, in Colonial times, voting day was really a day. You weren’t just leaving work two hours early to head to some fluorescent-lit community center polling place. You were traveling, often by arduous means, to a distant town center where voting was centralized for a township. Given the physical exertion, and the fact that a generally scattered community was actually coming together, it seemed natural (even festive) to serve some light refreshment. Yes, even alcoholic refreshment.

    Voting Reenactment
    A reenactment of Colonial voting, photo courtesy of History.org
    And we should bear in mind that colonials drank more than we do, “more than twice as much hard liquor” than the average modern American, according to historian Dennis Pogue. Serving cider or rum at a polling place wasn’t necessarily an invitation to mayhem. It did, however, become an easy way for candidates to influence the vote, and the equation was fairly simple: serve more booze, earn more votes. In fact, it was so customary, if you didn’t serve alcohol you were almost guaranteed a loss. Robert Dinkin, author of “Campaigning in America: A History of Election Practices,” notes that “if a candidate ignored the custom of treating, he often found himself in great difficulty.”

    And that’s exactly what happened to none other than George Washington, our cherry tree-hating, momentous river-crossing, marvelously resting bitch face-having first President. Except it wasn’t the presidential election. It was back in 1755, when a 24-year-old Washington was running for the House of Burgesses (essentially the Virginia state legislature). He knew of the practice of treating and adamantly objected, having already complained to the governor that local Commonwealth bars rendered his soldiers “incessantly drunk and unfit for service.”

    So Washington says no to bumbo, and loses the election. Hard. As in his opponent gets 271 votes and he gets a mere 40. Fast-forward three years, and Washington runs again. Not only has he changed his mind about treating, Washington goes out of his way to serve 144 gallons of alcohol (rum, punch, hard cider, and beer), or roughly half a gallon per vote of the whopping 331 votes that won him the election, according to historian Daniel Okrent. In fact, Washington had done such a 180, he was actually concerned he hadn’t served enough booze. As he wrote to his campaign manager, James Wood, he hoped they hadn’t “spent with too sparing a hand.” Kind of like when you’re throwing a party and you’re wondering how much of a booze baseline you need to shell out for, except that party is America.

    Washington wasn’t the only important statesman, and eventual president, who initially refused to engage in treating. According to Dinkin, when James Madison tried to campaign in 1777 “without ’the corrupting influence of spiritous liquors, and other treats,’ he lost to a less principled opponent.” By the time he was elected president in 1808, we have to assume he’d learned his lesson.

    Voting laws eventually evolved to end treating. In 1811, Maryland passed the first campaign finance reform law ever, “[prohibiting] candidates from purchasing alcohol for voters.” Over time, states also began to ban the sale of alcohol on Election Day itself. Most have since dropped that practice, though not necessarily because our prospects have gotten any better. We’re just guessing states need that Election Day hooch revenue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    Ah yes, I knew about that



    Apropos of nothing...would you be willing to drink deer milk? A company in New Zealand seems to be producing it, and I’m weirdly (morbidly?) curious.



    A group of 12 prominent Sydney chefs including Paul Carmichael from Momofuku Seiobo, Firedoor's Tony Gibson and Black Star Pastry founder Christopher Thé, are seated at a long table 47 levels above the city at O Bar and Dining. The Sydney skyline glimmers under a soft wash of rain as the guests exchange gossip and jokes.

    In front of everyone is a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV. And next to that is a glass of milk. It's not just any milk. This is deer milk. The first deer milk to be produced commercially anywhere in the world, and it's the reason for today's gathering. It's not every day that an entirely new raw ingredient enters the world. "It's almost like finding a new colour or a new music note," says O Bar and Dining's owner Michael Moore as he swirls the tumbler of creamy, yellowish milk and brings it to his lips.

    The first note, however, falls a bit flat. "It reminds me of when my kids were little and you'd mix up baby formula," he says. Everyone chuckles. He's not wrong. Due to the lack of fresh processing options available for the limited quantities of milk produced, Pamu, the NZ company making the product, sells it in powdered form. It's then reconstituted with water, giving it – at least at first – the grainy aftertaste of Eau d'Enfant detected by Moore.

    However, as Pamu's business development manager Hamish Glendinning explains, the glass we're tasting is freshly-mixed deer milk. To allow the fats to properly emulsify and the graininess to dissolve, you have to let it sit, refrigerated, for at least eight hours. A second glass appears in front of the chefs, this one properly rested, and the group agrees that the milk has taken on a much more palatable smoothness and a clean, rich taste.

    But all this resting and reconstituting goes some way to explaining why deer milk hasn't become a thing until now. Those steps are only part of the difficulty. The other is that deer – in Pamu's case we're talking about European red deer – aren't particularly easy to milk. Cows, which have been domesticated for around 10,000 years, will stand in a shed and let humans relieve them of their milk without much fuss, whereas deer, being flightier and less tamed, are more likely to kick or become otherwise alarmed.

    There's also the matter of yield: dairy cows currently produce roughly 100 times the amount of milk as deer. And then there's the hardware. "Did you have to build an entirely new milking apparatus, considering deer are built differently to cows?" I ask Glendenning.

    "Yes."

    "That must have been expensive?"

    "Oh, you have no idea," he says with a wince.

    In theory humans could drink the milk of any mammal; if we had the patience and the inclination we could be putting whale milk, cat milk or bat milk on our supermarket shelves. But the most popular and viable milks are the same ones we've been drinking for millennia – cow, goat, camel and in a few geographical pockets, water buffalo (India and Italy), reindeer (Russia) and horse (Mongolia). Cow milk is not only the easiest to acquire, it's also the most versatile. It has a similar make-up to human breast milk so it's naturally palatable, and it easily separates into cream, which is essential for cheese-making. Goats also give a good yield – although not as good as cows – and that distinct "goaty" flavour makes covetable cheese. Camel milk is also growing in popularity. Not only is it considered particularly tasty, it contains high levels of vitamins A and C and low levels of lactose, which means it's suitable for many people who can't tolerate cow's milk.

    There'll always be someone who'll try to expand our dairy diets. Several years ago US chef Edward Lee decided he wanted to milk pigs. It didn't end well. Not only do pigs have between 12 and 14 tiny nipples, as opposed to conveniently-graspable teats like cows, but they've also got a temper. "You get within 15 feet of a sow, she'll get up on her hind legs and get defensive," he told Modern Farmer at the time. "She might charge you. And once she charges you, just forget it." Nonetheless he eventually managed to extract a small amount of milk from one of his pigs after sneaking up on her while she was asleep. He made ricotta from the milk, which he claims was "delicious" but the experiment ended there. At this point the words "pig cheese" are – mercifully – yet to appear on any menus.

    Deer milk, however, may be set for a brighter future. O Bar's executive chef Darren Templeman, who created the afternoon's tasting menu of deer-milk buns and deer-milk ricotta, venison with deer milk skin and a deer-milk gel, and a dessert that included deer-milk custard and ice-cream, says that while the product was fiddly to prepare, he was pleased with the results. They've already put an entrée using crisped deer milk skin on the menu. Black Star's Christopher Thé believes that there are possibilities to use the milk skin as a decoration for cakes, perhaps in a confection that worked with a broader "deer" theme.

    Firedoor's sous-chef Tony Gibson added that while he thought the milk produced a beautiful, rich ice-cream and would likely take well to smoke, he still had reservations when it was cooked in other ways, and he'd need to put lot of time into testing it before he'd make up his mind. He also stressed that pure novelty wouldn't be enough to get it over the line. "We won't put it on our menu just because it's deer milk," he says. "It has to work as well or better than milks we already have."
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    Can I add scotch or chocolate syrup?
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    Can I add scotch or chocolate syrup?
    I see no reason why not. If you can use those things on deer meat (and you can; dark chocolate and venison pair pretty well, and you can never go wrong with a whisky sauce on game) then deer milk is easy.

    Chocolate and blackberry deer milk ice cream, with a nice little boozy kick in it. Let’s try that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matchbox View Post
    I see no reason why not. If you can use those things on deer meat (and you can; dark chocolate and venison pair pretty well, and you can never go wrong with a whisky sauce on game) then deer milk is easy.

    Chocolate and blackberry deer milk ice cream, with a nice little boozy kick in it. Let’s try that.
    Oh yummmm
    If you want my opinion on your relationship or life issues, just ask Villanelle!
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
    "RIP Blackie, and Whitey, New Whitey. Goodbye Poopers and Momma Beige and Lady Grey. New Blackie and the Whitey Sisters rule the roost now!"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guynavywife View Post
    Oh yummmm
    If we’re going to be using whisky...I can’t afford the bottle price, but I’d LOVE to use this!


    Adelaide Hills Distillery has just released what is arguably the most innovative Australian whisky to date.

    Since founding the distillery in 2015, Sacha La Forgia had the goal of creating a whisky using 100 per cent native Australian grains.

    He experimented with distillation of grains including kangaroo grass, spinifex and salt bush, eventually settling on wattleseed as best suited to the project at this stage.





    "Wattleseed was grown by the Aboriginal people in a huge grain belt through the centre of Australia that was destroyed shortly after colonial settlement," La Forgia says.

    "It was a staple grain in the Aboriginal diet and there is proof of a 65,000 year old stone mill that was found in the Northern Territory.

    "This suggests that the Aboriginal people were milling their grain and perhaps making bread. If this is the case the Aboriginal people would have been the first culture to make bread in the world!"

    So La Forgia argues that while it may not be internationally recognised as such, wattleseed is a cereal grain just like barley, wheat, corn and rye.

    And he believes it could be the future of Australian whisky, which to date has largely taken its cues from Scotch whisky's long established norms and traditions.

    "We've been so lucky to have the whisky makers that have come before us in Australia, because they've given us an opportunity to start a distillery," he says.

    "But if we want to be taken seriously and have an edge in market overseas, there's no point trying to be Scottish. We need to try and be Australian."

    La Forgia says the biggest barrier to distilling whisky from wattleseed is the cost, which is $80 a kilo, as compared with $1.20 a kilo for malted barley.

    As such, the debut release Native Grain Whiskey has been distilled from a grain bill composed predominantly of barley, with a smaller percentage of wattleseed.

    “The end goal is to have something that is 100 per cent native Australia grain, but it's probably not going to happen in the next ten years," La Forgia says.

    “There hasn't been the same level of research and development into Australian foods… it's probably going to be more like 20 years until we can make them a crop that's easy to farm, yields well and can be automated and mechanised like barley is."

    The wattleseed is roasted and ground, prior to being mashed in with the malted barley, to bring out its intense flavours.

    "It has a beautiful chocolate and nut character that matches really well with whisky," La Forgia says.

    Native Grain whisky has been matured in 100-litre barrels for the minimum two years required under Australian law for it to be called 'whisky'.

    A younger release of the product, dubbed Native Grain Project, quietly picked up the gong for Best Australian Grain at the World Whiskies Awards 2019.

    The judges said: "Funky fun. A little mustiness alongside some oranges and red fruits. Fresh lemon juice. A little yeasty, with some slight industrial metallic quality beyond. It's unusual. Some cherries and slipping into Bourbon territory with vanilla. Cinnamon and oak spices on the finish."

    Just 141 bottles are available of this first batch of Native Grain Whiskey at an RRP of $450.

    But Adelaide Hills has more stock undergoing maturation for future releases, and La Forgia is bullish on the potential.

    "We want to see other distilleries adopt this approach and even use other grains and create a new category that is truly Australian whisky," he said.

    "We've seen it in the gin industry, our biggest advantage is the botanicals we have here in Australia that no one else has.

    "You go to the UK and try and sell a London dry gin, and they're not interested. But you go over there and say this gin's got lemon myrtle, strawberry gum and finger lime, and people say, 'that's amazing, I'll buy that!'"




    Truly, I’d love to use that. Wattleseed is delicious.

    Thoughts?
    If I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell
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