Saturday, October 21, 2006
Baileys and Hot Cocoa: A detailed Analysis
Upon having recently tried the combination of Baileys, a sweet and creamy alcoholic beverage, and hot cocoa, I decided that my satisfaction with it was best expressed in a five page descriptive essay, which will follow, an idea inspired by Kevin Aubin, who was kind enough to give me a bottle of Baileys Irish Creme for Christmas one year. First, there will be a brief description of both Baileys and hot cocoa, followed by a detailed analysis of my impressions of their melding into one fantastic drink. Then, there will be a short comparison with other alcoholic beverages of all types.
A Description of Baileys Irish Cream
Baileys Irish Cream was first introduced to the public on November 26, 1974 in Dublin. It was the first alcoholic beverage of its type: the cream liqueur; and it amazed all who tasted it. Though there have been many imitators, none have been able to replicate Baileys’ unique flavour perfectly. It is made of a combination of fresh cream, Irish whisky and a blend of Irish spirits. The production of this drink in Ireland has flourished with over 144,000 bottles produced daily, and has become the highest selling liqueur in the world, not to mention one of Ireland’s main exports. Though Baileys is most commonly drunk simply over ice, which is my personal favourite and certainly the most elegant way to drink this fantastic liqueur, there are many other ways to prepare this delicious beverage. Without even mentioning all the cakes, ice cream preparations and types of brownies which use Baileys as an ingredient, the versatility of this liqueur can be seen by the many types of cocktails with this liqueur as an essential element including many coffee recipes like the B52, made with coffee liqueur, Baileys and orange liqueur, shots such as the Bumble Bee, comprised of Sambuca, Baileys and coffee liqueur, and many interesting mixed drinks which are served cold such as the Mudslide, made with Baileys, vodka and chocolate liqueur mixed in ice, or the Irish Flag, where Baileys is layered with mint liqueur and brandy.
A Description of Hot Cocoa
Hot cocoa has a much longer history. There is a distinct difference between hot chocolate and hot cocoa. Hot chocolate consists of a bar of chocolate melted into warm cream, and hot cocoa is cocoa powder, that is, chocolate with all the fat removed, mixed into a drink, and in the case of the drink prepared for this paper, with hot milk and sugar. The original recipe for hot cocoa was comprised of ground cocoa beans, water, wine and peppers. Milk was added only later when the drink was introduced in Europe. Chocolate has been drunk for thousands of years as it was only consumed as a beverage in the early years of its invention. Cocoa beans come from a 40 to 60-foot tall tree called Theobroma cacao which grows wild in Central and South America, Africa and parts of Asia, and they resemble large melon-like pods. The Olmecs, the oldest civilized inhabitants of the Americas, were most likely the first users of cocoa followed by the Mayas and the Aztecs. The Maya drank a cocoa drink and used the beans as currency. It has much more recently been discovered that hot cocoa is also a very healthy drink, containing more antioxidants (chemicals that prevent cancer) than both green tea and red wine. Having cocoa in hot drink form is also a low-fat alternative to having chocolate in bar form and provides a better source of these chemicals as it is hot.
Experiencing the mixture
It seems that Baileys and hot cocoa is not an uncommon beverage. There are many recipes for this drink all over the internet, though it is not always just called Baileys and hot cocoa. Most commonly, the recipe consists simply of about a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, with the same amount of sugar, a cup of milk for one mug of drink, and a shot of Baileys. The sugar and cocoa powder are mixed first with a little bit of milk and then the rest of the milk is mixed in. The whole thing is then brought to a boil in a sauce pan while being stirred. The Baileys is added in at the end to fill the rest of the mug once the hot cocoa has been poured in. A variation of this is to replace half the milk with water and to add Half and Half to make the drink lighter. Baileys and hot cocoa is also know as Irish Chocolate. It is a good drink to have in the winter time when cuddling up next to a fire and watching a snowstorm.
The mixture of these two fine beverages opens up a whole new world of sensations and flavours. Baileys on its own has a wonderful smell and taste. It is creamy and sweet with a slight sting to it, which lessens when ice is added to it. The flavour is reminiscent of ice cream. Hot cocoa on its own, on the other hand, is sweet, hot and comforting, with a hint of bitterness when made with cocoa powder and not from a mix. Once the Baileys (about an ounce) has been added to the hot cocoa, the smell of the alcohol is completely masked by that of the warm beverage. However, after the first taste, the smell of the Baileys becomes much more evident.
Upon the first taste, there is a slight flavour of Baileys which is subtle but surely evident. The tell-tale sting of alcohol is almost nonexistent, making the drink seem smoother and creamier than regular Baileys. The top even seems foamier than with regular hot cocoa, which is certainly an added bonus. The taste is like that of chocolate mixed with a slight coffee flavour as well as an almost fruity touch. The Baileys’ smell is much more evident after a few sips of the beverage have been taken. Overall, this drink has the same warm feeling as hot cocoa with an added interesting flavour. The taste stays in the mouth for quite some time, but it is not an unpleasant aftertaste, quite the contrary. As might be expected, the taste is much stronger near the bottom of the cup. The drink gives a feeling of lightheadedness, which might be because the heat strengthens the alcohol’s effect, though a good portion of the alcohol could be evaporated by the heat. However, Baileys and hot cocoa is definitely a relaxing and happy drink, leaving one with a slight feeling of euphoria until the very end, much more comforting than that experienced by the consumption of other alcoholic beverages.
A Comparison with other Beverages
Baileys and hot cocoa may be difficult to compare with other alcoholic beverages because of its simple uniqueness, but there are other drinks that have the same basic idea behind them. First of all, one can legitimately compare it to hot coffee beverages like the Cafe Alpine, made from coffee and Peppermint Schnapps topped with whipped cream, or Spanish Coffee, comprised of Tia Maria, rum, coffee and whipped cream and garnished with a cherry, because they are also soothing and warm, and great for cold winter days. However, they lack the sweetness of Irish Chocolate and for those who dislike the bitter taste of coffee, these are less than satisfactory, though quite good for getting rid of unwanted hangovers. One can also compare Baileys and hot cocoa to eggnog which is made of eggs, sugar, white rum, milk, whisky, whipping cream and nutmeg. This drink, often consumed around the holidays doesn’t contain coffee and is nothing but sweet and comforting, though it lacks the wonderful chocolate taste and is worse for one’s health.
There are other beverages which may be compared with Baileys and hot cocoa that are not necessarily hot, but still sweet and fun to drink. One of my personal favourites is the White Russian, also know as the Caucasian, comprised of Kahlua, vodka and milk served with ice. Though it is cold, this drink has the same comforting feel to it as Irish Chocolate, most likely due to the milk and sweetness of the beverage. Though there are many other drinks that contain milk and cream, few are able to achieve the warm fuzzy feeling that Baileys and hot cocoa gives. For example, a drink like the Baileys Hot Shot, which is simply Baileys heated and poured into a sugar-rimmed shot glass, has all the characteristics which one would expect from a comforting alcoholic beverage. It is sweet, hot and creamy, and yet it fails to convey exactly the same mood as Irish Chocolate. Perhaps it is too alcoholic, or it is the chocolate taste which makes Baileys and Hot Cocoa what it is. At any rate, it can be seen that there is a plethora of alcoholic beverages and though few have the wonderful effect created by my drink of preference, each has its place and strengths. Irish Chocolate’s is to warm the soul on a cold winter’s day.
Finally, though hot cocoa has a very long history, and Baileys’ is very short, the melding of these two simple drinks is simply divine. Even when the traditional hot cocoa recipe is replaced by a powdered mixture meant added to boiling water, the drink loses little of it’s effect. This brings one to wonder what exactly it is that makes the drink so special. It is certainly it’s sweetness and slight bite, though those alone can’t explain exactly what it is that makes this drink so perfect. What ever it is, this drink has certainly reached the pinacle of perfection.
American Chemical Society. November 6, 2003. “Hot Cocoa Tops Red Wine And Tea In Antioxidants; May Be Healthier Choice”. Science Daily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031106051159.htm
Baileys. Verified on June 25, 2005. http://www.baileys.com
“Coffee Recipes.” About.com. Verified on August 20, 2005. http://cocktails.about.com/library/reviews/blcoffeemenu.htm
Deb. “Baileys Hot Cocoa.” TheSmitten.com. Verified on July 11, 2005. http://www.thesmitten.com/archives/2005/01/tompkins_square.html
“Drink Recipe: Irish Chocolate.” Cooker.com. Verified on July 11, 2005. http://cocktail.cooker.com/Drinks/DrinkRecipes.asp?DrinkID=1968
“History of Hot Chocolate”. What’s Cooking America? Verified on June 25, 2005. http://whatscookingamerica.net/Beverage/HotChocolate.htm
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Here we're sawing the back of the head so that we can put the strobe light in there.
Now we're drilling her eyes out.
She's crying sawdust...
And here we're sawing a hole which will be used for the boy's arms.
And here we're just being silly...
Saturday, July 15, 2006
And so, in honour of the movie, I did this quiz. I'm happy to see that I'm almost Captain Jack Sparrow.
| You scored as Mary Read. You are very unconventional, you defy the rules as often as you can and like to take as many risks as possible. You will probably end up living happily under a bridge somewhere laughing at all the unsavory deeds you once instigated.|
What kind of Pirate are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Last weekend, that is the weekend of June 23rd, I went to a karate camp. It took me a whole week to recover, and so that's why I'm only writing about it now. Well, maybe it has to do with me being lazy too...
Anyway, I'll try to skip over the boring parts because a lot happened in those three days. We set out on the Friday night, on schedule, and about 9 km from the campsite, one of the spark plugs blew up. After much discussion and investigation, we decided it was ok to continue to the camp and so we got there, about half an hour late, the engine banging something terrible.
That night we didn't do much and managed to get to bed early. The next morning we were woken at 6:30 so that we could go for a run in the woods before breakfast. We spent the morning training, and in the afternoon, went on a boat race at the lake. That night, we had a campfire, and the camp people put on a fireworks display for us to celebrate St-Jean-Babtiste day.
The next morning, that is, at 3:00 am, we were woken up and had to march to a field where we meditated, did tai chi and watched the sun rise. Despite being tired and grumpy, it was quite an experience. We could see Venus on the horizon and managed to see zodiacal light. We then walked back and went back to bed for an hour before breakfast. That morning we trained with two invited Aikido pros and we learned a few moves. That afternoon, we went on a huge hike around the lake upon which the camp was situated. There wasn't much running involved, which was good, but we were crawling over rocks and trees and through mud and tall grass. Sensei even got us lost at some point and made us crawl through the mud. The whole hike took us four hours, with a couple of breaks for water which one of the organizers brought us by kayak. We got back in time for a much deserved dinner. That evening, we had a campfire again and most of us went to bed really early because we'd been up from sunrise to sunset.
The next morning, that is, Monday, we did some light training and prepared for the show we'd be putting on for the parents at the belt ceremony. I got to break some boards :D. Then, we watched an extremely old video of one of the masters doing some katas. It was neat to see them from someone else than Sensei and to pick up on little details. After lunch was the belt ceremony. We put on our little show with combats, katas and board breakings. I got to show off a kata I learned with sais. Finally, we got our belts (for me a brown) and headed home.
I think that my favourite part of that trip was being in a small community where everyone was rooting for each other and no one was greater than anyone else. Despite the hard work, I'm really glad I did it because I cultivated some great experiences and made some great friends. I was sorry to leave.
Here are some pictures of the camp for your viewing pleasure, courtesy Abdo: Lac Brais, soccer field and meeting cabin, Cam and Robin training, Cam being weird, cafeteria, rowboats on the lake, the whole group, Matt in the dorm, me and James at the campfire, Jeff and Cam at the campfire, roastin' marshmellows, James and Abdo before our hike, in the woods halfway dirty, all the way dirty, combat, Cam and Adam doing a sword kata,me beating Cam up, me breaking a board, me getting my brown belt, Cam getting his black belt, happy group pic.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
A personality test
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which it gives, is a thing of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help in the spread of knowledge, and are willing to take the consequences."
-- J. Robert Oppenheimer
"It is wrong to think that the task of Physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns only what we can say about nature."
-- Neil Bohr
"You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we're here...
_____I don't have to know the answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me."
-- Richard P. Feynman
"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living."
-- Henri Poincaré
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Some birthday presents...
So, from Adam, I got a whole bunch of stuff. The most interesting was a thermostat bulb with mercury in it. He also sent me a little bottle of Kahlua and a little bottle of Absolut Vodka, presumably to make black russians with. He also sent me Mack toffee, Lizzie's big licks lollipops (which I couldn't find a website for), chocolate cake mix and Tabasco sauce to go with it, apparently because Tobasco sauce and chocolate cake go really well together.
Sam got me a binary clock, caffeinated gum and a beer opener ring. Those were fairly awesome gifts. My parents got me an amp, Pocky, incense and beading needles. I got other stuff from other people... Beads from Etienne, some nighties from my grandparents and a whole bunch of stuff from Ardene from Josee. It was a good haul, overall.
I tried a Pocky Quiz:
Monday, May 29, 2006
Happy birthday to me 5 days ago
In other news, I got some more piercings, bought some new clothes and ate a lot of pizza today.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Spring has sprung!
In other news, Doppelganger Effekt is playing at the Java tonight! Woo!