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Kirin’s New Product Is Just One Percent Alcohol

Kirin’s New Product Is Just One Percent Alcohol

Kirin’s new adult beverage can’t get a person drunk

Kirin's new Butterfly line is only one percent alcohol.

Kirin’s new adult beverage has a fizzy, fruity taste and can theoretically get people drunk, but those people would have to drink barrels of the stuff, because it only has one percent alcohol.

According to Rocket News 24, Kirin decided to produce its new “Butterfly” line because young people in Japan were not drinking as much as older generations. A survey indicated that young people don’t dislike drinking, but they often refrain out of concern for health, hangovers, and being unable to keep a clear head while they engage in work, hobbies, socializing, and more. In an attempt to attract those light drinkers, Kirin decided it would be a good idea to start selling a line of alcoholic beverages that have so little alcohol a person can’t really get drunk off of them.

At one percent alcohol by volume, Butterfly still has enough alcohol to get a person drunk, but a person would have to drink a whole lot very quickly to feel any effects from it.

The Butterfly drinks will be released in convenience stores and grocery stores around Japan on March 10. They come in flavors like Take It Easy!, Apple; Let’s Go! Ginger; and Happy-Go-Lucky Tea.

The Untold Truth Of Coke Zero

After hitting the scene in 2005, Coke Zero has gone on to become one of Coca-Cola's most recognizable brands. Today, this slimline soft drink — which is now known under the "Coca-Cola Zero Sugar" brand — sits comfortably up on that cola parthenon with its not-too-divergent siblings: Diet Coke and Coca-Cola itself.

But there's a lot more to the Coke Zero story than you might expect. Things may be hunky-dory now, but over the years Coke Zero (or Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, or Coca-Cola No Sugar, or whatever you want to call it) has been subject to marketing controversies, health concerns, and tax woes that have threatened to dismantle the drink's seemingly unimpeachable reputation. And then there are the questions: Is it bad for you? How is it different from Diet Coke? And just how different does it really taste to original Coca-Cola? For all this — and more — here's the untold truth of Coke Zero.

The inappropriate SpaghettiOs tweet that totally backfired

If you ask most people, national tragedies aren't really something companies should be using as marketing opportunities. However, on the 72nd anniversary of Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the one that killed more than 2,400 people and launched the U.S. into World War II, Campbell's decided it would be a good idea to trot out its cartoon mascot named TheO (get it?) on to the official SpaghettiO's Twitter page to encourage their canned pasta-loving followers to share the day with them. "Take a moment to remember #PearlHarbor with us," read the caption, as TheO gleefully hoisted an American flag in the air like an astronaut about to stab it into the moon.

Unfortunately for Campbell's, this not-so-thinly-disguised attempt at self-promotion landed with a resounding thud. "Really invokes the warfare and death of that moment," one person tweeted. "Dear @SpaghettiOs:" tweeted the comedian Patten Oswald, "Genuinely afraid to scroll back & see what you Tweeted on the 50th anniversary of JFKs assassination." Realizing their mistake, Campbells deleted it 13 hours later. "We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day," they explained. "We meant to pay respect, not to offend." Uh oh, little too late.

Methanol and Ethanol

Not exactly homebrew related, but I figured someone here might know something about this I was wondering where methanol comes from and why distillers would be worried when we aren't. In distillation the "heads and tails" are tossed out to avoid methanol, which is created by the fermentation process(?). Say if two people were to drink the same amount of alcohol, one drinking distilled clean ethanol liquor and the other drinking a much larger amount of homebrew, wouldn't the homebrew drinker be drinking all of that methanol that the distiller was so worried about getting out of their product?

Just curious, and before anyone gets upset about this, I'm not asking about any distillation process, just a thought that popped to mind for educational purposes only.


Well-Known Member

I think it's concentration.

So let's make it simple let's say you have homebrew and there are 10 parts of methanol. If it was distiller there would still be that 10 parts however it's no longer in that large volume but rather condensed into about 1/10th (or whatever the condensing rate is) of liquid.


Well-Known Member


Well-Known Member

Methanol is only dangerous if consumed alone. It will bind with ethanol and be peed out when you drink any kind of homebrew. It takes aprox 4 oz of methanol to kill a grown man and as little as 1 oz to cause permanent blindness. But, like I said, you're fine drinking homebrew with small amounts of it since the ethanol is by far superior.

The danger comes in distilling. Not that i'm trying to explain the process, but basically methanol boils off at a lower temp than ethanol. If you had a large amount of mash (say you had enough to produce 5 gallons of finished product) then the first liter or so might be almost pure methanol if you don't control your temp correctly. So, here is the lethality of methanol. I'm sure you can imagine the dangers of a bottle of methanol since it tastes fairly similar to ethanol. I'd assume it got it's reputation with homebrew in the prohibition era.

If you're wanting to make it, it comes from a type of fermented wood. Hence it's nickname, wood alcohol. Then again, you could just buy some antifreeze.


Well-Known Member


Well-Known Member

Not exactly homebrew related, but I figured someone here might know something about this I was wondering where methanol comes from and why distillers would be worried when we aren't. In distillation the "heads and tails" are tossed out to avoid methanol, which is created by the fermentation process(?). Say if two people were to drink the same amount of alcohol, one drinking distilled clean ethanol liquor and the other drinking a much larger amount of homebrew, wouldn't the homebrew drinker be drinking all of that methanol that the distiller was so worried about getting out of their product?

Just curious, and before anyone gets upset about this, I'm not asking about any distillation process, just a thought that popped to mind for educational purposes only.


Well-Known Member


Well-Known Member

Methanol is only dangerous if consumed alone. It will bind with ethanol and be peed out when you drink any kind of homebrew. It takes aprox 4 oz of methanol to kill a grown man and as little as 1 oz to cause permanent blindness. But, like I said, you're fine drinking homebrew with small amounts of it since the ethanol is by far superior.

The danger comes in distilling. Not that i'm trying to explain the process, but basically methanol boils off at a lower temp than ethanol. If you had a large amount of mash (say you had enough to produce 5 gallons of finished product) then the first liter or so might be almost pure methanol if you don't control your temp correctly. So, here is the lethality of methanol. I'm sure you can imagine the dangers of a bottle of methanol since it tastes fairly similar to ethanol. I'd assume it got it's reputation with homebrew in the prohibition era.

Close. Methanol in of itself is not particularly toxic, it is the metabolites (or the chemicals that are created as your body breaks it down, (these include formate and formaldehyde), that are. When you consume ethanol at the same time, the ethanol competes with the methanol for the enzyme which drives this metabolism and slows the relative production of these byproducts, instead leaving the byproducts of ethanol metabolism (including acetaldehyde which is less dangerous but is still considered a carcinogen).

An interesting side note, a great deal of the hillbillies that went blind during prohibition were as a result of trying to distill the ethanol out of denatured alcohol (ethanol to which methanol was intentionally added to make it undrinkable). It was not usually a result of naturally occurring methanol from the mash. Interesting that the US government ended up killing 10,000 of its own citizens by adding methanol to all industrial alcohols during prohibition in order to prove a point.

How to Clean and Care for Hardwood and Laminate Floors

Taking care of hardwood or laminate floors can be challenging given the everyday conditions of a family and pets.

Generally, there are two types of residential wood flooring: real wood (solid or engineered) and laminate that is man-made to look like wood.

Don't know what you have exactly? No worries. When it comes to cleaning wood floors (solid, engineered or laminate), the only thing you need to figure out is whether or not your floors have a finish. You don't really need to know the type of finish, just whether the floors have been treated to make them resistant to standing water, which is the enemy of all wood and wood-like floors.

To find out if your flooring is finished, drop a single drop of water on the floor. If it beads and just sits there, the flooring has been finished. If the drop soaks in and disappears, leaving a dark spot, the wood is not finished.

What follows is for finished solid or engineered wood and laminate flooring only. Unfinished hardwood CANNOT be mopped, since the floors will be damaged.

If your floor is unfinished, or if it's an old wood floor and some of the finish has started to wear away, then don't use any moisture or product. Just dust mop it with a flat-head mop.

When it comes to wood and laminate cleaners, you can spend a fortune on commercial products like Bona Black Diamond. Or you can make your own for pennies.

The key to making your own is similar to the commitment of a physician: First, do no harm. The trick is making a product that will clean well without harming the finish, even when used repeatedly over many years.

White vinegar is a fabulous cleaning product because it cuts through dirt well. But it is highly acidic and, used repeatedly over time, can attack the finish, making your floors look dull. Vinegar can also soften the finish, making it feel gummy or sticky. So, let's just agree that when it comes to cleaning wood or laminate floors, no vinegar.

Alcohol is also a fantastic cleaning product — rubbing alcohol (70% is most common, but 91% works is great, too), denatured alcohol, even gin or plain vodka. It has a nearly neutral pH — neither acidic nor alkaline. This makes alcohol the perfect ingredient in your homemade cleaner to not only clean but also protect and preserve beautifully finished wood and laminate floors.

Use distilled water in your floor cleaner (available in any supermarket) to eliminate streaking, hard watermarks and mineral buildup.

A very small amount of Blue Dawn — not so much that it requires rinsing — will break the surface tension of the water, making the cleaner much more effective.


It's 1 part alcohol to 4 parts distilled water plus a few drops blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. Here it is again:

Example: 1/4 cup alcohol, 1 cup distilled water, 2 drops Blue Dawn.

Mix this up in a spray bottle each time you clean the floors. If you make it ahead of time, be sure to label it well and keep it out of the reach of children.

Sweep or vacuum the floor. Spray the cleaner in a small area. Scrub well with a cloth or sponge. And immediately wipe the area dry with a microfiber cloth.

The secret is to spray, scrub and wipe dry immediately . If you do not want to do this on your hands and knees, I recommend using a microfiber spray mop, which works well on both wood and laminate floors.

Taking good care of your wood and laminate floors will not only keep your home looking great you'll be protecting your home's value, which is likely one of the biggest investments you will ever make.

Formulations: Heat, Strength and the Law

Because human pepper sprays are not government regulated, manufacturers can make unchecked, exaggerated claims implying their sprays are more effective than they are. Keep reading to learn the truth about SABRE Red pepper spray, Scoville Units and OC percentage, so that you can make a better educated choice and purchase a more effective pepper spray product. If you're looking for industrial grade, high performance police pepper spray, Scoville Units can be deceptive. The key item in SABRE pepper spray ingredients is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC), and it's vital that the potency is accurately tested. Discover how to ensure that your pepper spray won't let you down when you need it!

The truth is that SABRE is the only pepper spray manufacturer that controls and guarantees formula strength! Our exclusive HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) Guarantee means our pepper sprays never fail due to inconsistent heat levels. No other brand can make the same claim.

So, don't be fooled by misleading numbers. Know that the following claims could be deceiving:

OC Percentage

Some brands hope you believe a higher oleoresin capsicum (OC) percentage means a more effective spray. But this number only measure the amount of pepper within the spray, not the heat strength or effectiveness.

Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Some brands advertise the SHU of the raw pepper, not of the pepper spray formulation. The SHU of the raw peppers is highly diluted in the pepper spray formula, and therefore not an accurate indicator of strength.

Major capsaicinoids are the true heat measure and can only be guaranteed through High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) testing - and, again, we're the only brand that does. The only pepper sprays that are government regulated (by the EPA and Health Canada) are animal pepper sprays. Dog sprays range from 0.25% to 1.0% major capsaicinoids and bear sprays range from 1.0% to 2.0% major capsaicinoids. WARNING: Do not purchase pepper spray without checking its content of major capsaicinoids.

While browsing our wide selection of HPLC guaranteed self-defense solutions, you'll see three different types of products: SABRE Red Pepper Spray, SABRE Red Pepper Gel and SABRE 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray. Please note that individual state laws prohibit shipment of certain products.

1.33% major capsaicinoids! Strongest available single ingredient pepper spray contains UV marking dye.

Can't be shipped to: AK, DC, HI, MA and NY.

Essentially eliminates wind blowback. Safe for indoor and outdoor use with no effect on bystanders.

Comprised of pepper spray, CS military tear gas and UV marking dye. Maximum stopping power unmatched by any single ingredient defense spray!

Can't be shipped to: AK, FL, HI, MA, MI, NJ, NY, SC and WI.

Dry versus sweet marsala wine

Within the marsala world, there are two styles, sweet and dry. Each has a specificity tied to a specific style of cuisine, so be sure to select carefully when searching for a substitute.

Sweet Marsala, with its higher sugar concentration, is best in rich deserts. Shortcake, zabaglione, or tiramisu are all opulent cakes that can be improved with a splash of the sweet stuff. Also, sweet sauces are welcome to a marsala dressing. It can also be used to create a pork loin or chicken dish. I know a classic dinner option in my family is a chicken marsala, and the veal marsala style is just as delicious. And if you like, it also can be used as a fantastic after-dinner drink.

A dry marsala style is often attributed to savory dishes or enjoyed as an apéritif. A dry marsala will add caramelization and a deep nutty flavor to meats and mushrooms, including beef tenderloin, turkey or veal. It’s usually cooked down into a near-syrup consistency along with shallots or onions and then adding herbs and the aforementioned mushrooms.

The classic Chicken marsala dish uses chicken that’s been braised into a fantastic blend of flavourful olive oil and butter, along with mushrooms and Italian spices. However you can also use dry marsala in some risotto recipes, and it goes great alongside any sort of mushroom dish. Mushroom’s porous exterior is a super sucker for that Marsala flavor, really providing a robust texture.

Between the two and knowing when to use one instead of the other, know that dry marsala can be used as an alternative for sweet, but not the other way round. This is why, if for limited pantry space you only have room for one style, we recommend a dry marsala. It has a wider range and variety makes it a more special choice.

The Maturation of Maker’s Mark

Maker’s Mark Distillery

Change isn’t something that comes naturally to Maker’s Mark. For most of the brand’s history, it sold only one product, made in a small historic distillery, tucked away in the remote hills of Loretto, Kentucky. The Maker’s Mark distillery is one of the few American distilleries housed in a registered historical landmark, a status that has helped restrict the brand’s ability to substantively change and grow its operations over the years.

Greg Davis Showing Off Maker’s 46 Process

With the boom in American whiskey, even Maker’s Mark couldn’t avoid the winds of change, and in 2010 it launched Maker’s 46, its first product line extension in the history of the company. Maker’s 46 is made using Maker’s Mark bourbon and finished for 8-12 months in barrels containing seared French oak staves. The process married the very traditional way of making Maker’s Mark with a decidedly new approach, aimed at drawing out and emphasizing some of the classic flavor notes in the whiskey to deliver a new experience.

Maker’s 46 was a success, but it would become the swan song of Bill Samuel Jr.’s career, who in early 2011 retired from the company, turning the reigns over to his son Rob Samuels. Around the same time, long time Maker’s Mark head distiller, Kevin Smith, was moved over to head operations at the Jim Beam distillery, resulting in the hiring of a new Maker’s Mark Master Distiller, Greg Davis.

Maker’s Mark Tasting Room

With Rob Samuels at the helm, Maker’s Mark focused on expanding its customer experience. Rob helped build a new tasting room and blanketed the walls of the distillery with Maker’s inspired art. The fresh coat of paint at Maker’s Mark would hardly have time to dry before Rob Samuels had to face his first major challenge.

In 2013, an exploding whiskey market created demand for Maker’s Mark that far outstripped their supply. So, on February 9, 2013, Rob Samuels sent an email out to Maker’s Mark’s most loyal followers, the Maker’s Mark Ambassadors, informing them of the companies plans to bring whiskey down by a couple of percentage points in ABV to meet the demand while still maintaining the integrity of the whiskey.

The response to this proposed change was nothing short of a scandal. Maker’s Mark “Watergate” became a national story, with mass media covering the outcry of consumers over the change in their beloved whiskey. The company quickly responded, reversing their decision to change their legendary product. “At the end of the day, Maker’s Mark isn’t our whiskey, it’s your whiskey, we are here because of you, and so when you (the consumer) spoke up, we listened,” explained Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Greg Davis.

You’d think after navigating through such rough waters, Maker’s Mark would have been gun shy about any form of change. Instead, Maker’s “Watergate” scandal actually helped make Maker’s Mark stronger and codified the new team of Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels, Master Distiller Greg Davis, and Distillery Maturation Specialist Jane Conner.

Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Greg Davis

Together, this team helped put into motion an expansion of the distillery to help increase the company’s capacity by 50% over the next 6 years from its current 2 million cases per year to 3 million. Given the challenge of working in a historical landmark and preserving the Maker’s Mark process exactly, Maker’s cloned the distillery, adding 21 additional fermenters and an exact carbon copy of the Maker’s Mark stills. “My job is to preserve and protect the integrity of the liquid”, says Greg Davis, “and so when we expanded, everything was focused on making sure there was absolutely no change to our whiskey.”

A Significant Expansion to Meet Growing Demand

“We spent a year testing the new fermenters, which were covered rather than open to manage the carbon dioxide in a more environmentally friendly way,” says Greg Davis. “Most distilleries test their spirit to parts per billion, we actually test down to parts per trillion to identify even the most undetectable change, and we do this daily so we can ensure consistency, which is the core of what Maker’s Mark is.”

With a solid plan in place to help meet demand, Maker’s stepped up to bat again with another new product: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. “We hadn’t planned to release a cask strength version of Maker’s Mark,” says Greg Davis. “The conversation came about from bartenders who visited the distillery and sampled Maker’s Mark at cask strength. They said ‘This stuff is great, you all need to bring it out.’ The bartender community really drove this to fruition.” Again, Maker’s Mark’s customers had spoken and the brand responded.

Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Whiskey

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was met with critical acclaim, including an astronomically high score from us at Drink Spirits. It was truly innovation Maker’s Mark style, focusing on the core to give people an experience they have never had before. Based on the success of Cask Strength Maker’s Mark, the company decided to create a distillery-only release for Maker’s 46 Cask Strength. “People don’t happen on Maker’s Mark, they plan to go here, as we’re a good 18 miles away from Bardstown. We wanted something special at the distillery for them as our way of thanking them for making the journey,” remarks Rob Samuels, head of Maker’s Mark.

Stunning Chihuly Installation at Maker’s Mark

In addition to facing high demand for their products, Maker’s found an ever-increasing number of visitors to its distillery. “We were one of the first bourbon distilleries to open its doors to visitors,” remarks Rob Samuels. To that end, Maker’s Mark worked with the State of Kentucky to build a major new road to the distillery, making it easier for visitors to make their way and park. They also renovated one of the buildings on the distillery property, turning it into a showcase welcome center. “We are working on more exciting experiences for our distillery guests, including some amazing culinary experiences tied into our whiskey,” says Rob Samuels.

With the two cask strength releases of their two products, you’d think this would be the end of the story, but it isn’t. Emboldened by the response to meeting customers needs, Maker’s turned its attention to the increasingly popular barrel purchase programs which have become common at many American whiskey distilleries.

“The whole thing about Maker’s is consistency. So when we actually did cask strength, we looked at single barrels and, honest to God, and we stood in our quality lab and said this would be the most boring single barrel program in the history of the world, because they all tasted pretty much the same,” explains Maker’s Mark Distillery Maturation Specialist Jane Conner.

“So Bill (Samuels Jr.), started talking about his time creating 46 and how it was the best time he had in his four decade career, because basically what he did with 46 is created his perfect version of Maker’s Mark. It was still Maker’s Mark, but he highlighted certain nuances and accelerated certain flavors that really resonated with him, and that’s where the idea was born – wouldn’t that be fun for someone to create their perfect version of Maker’s Mark?”

Maker’s Mark Custom Barrel Program

From this came the new Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel Program, which takes cask strength Maker’s Mark whiskey and then finishes it using the Maker’s 46 process: finished Maker’s Mark is transferred into another oak barrel with 10 French Oak staves suspended in it, and then aged for an additional 8-12 months. These barrels can only be aged when temperatures in the distillery are 60 degrees or lower, typically only from October through February. “This temperature range is important, because we want a slower extraction with the French oak staves, getting all the good elements while still balancing the whiskey with the wood,” explains Greg Davis.

Participants in the Maker’s Mark Private Select experience can select from five different staves, which can be mixed and matched up to the 10 staves used in the barrel.

The first stave option is an American oak stave, seasoned for 12 months and then baked in a convection oven at a low temperature for a very long time. This style of baking breaks down the oak’s lignent, giving intense vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, oaky flavors. “This is kind of catnip for all the people who love American Oak goodies,” says Jane Conner. “The result of this stave is all about American oak, and what you get from it. It’s not as complex as the traditional Maker’s, as it exaggerates all the vanilla, adds a touch more cinnamon spice, but softer, and lots of baking spices”.

The second stave option, referred to as the Cuvee stave, is a grooved stave made from French oak, seared using the same infrared technology and oven used for 46 at a very high heat for a very short time. The grooves in the stave not only give more surface area for the whiskey to interact with, but the peaks on the grooves cook more than the valleys, which gives a wider blend of flavors. The Cuvee stave gives more marzipan, sweet almond, caramel, nugget, and dark oak. It’s viscous and velvety, and has oak presence without losing balance.

The third stave option is the classic Maker’s 46 stave. “It is too good not to leave it as an option. It’s made by a very proprietary process, but I think the 46 stave is cooked more than the cuvee stave because you get slight smoke and intensity of baking spices,” remarks Jane.

The Mocha Stave is the fourth choice in the Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel Program. This stave is made from French oak baked in a convection over at a super high temperature, longer than the Cuvee and Maker’s 46 staves, but not as long as the American Oak stave. “Flavor lives at certain temperatures in oak, and when you start getting at these high temperatures, you get into some really dark roasted flavors. If you eat dark chocolate, you get that really dry and earthy flavor. This manages to be dry without being earthy. Drier, rich, and smoky.”

The final option is referred to as the Spice Stave, made from French oak baked in a convection oven starting at a high temperature and then brought down to a lower temperature. The spice stave produces a whiskey that is really intense in baking spices. It’s more astringent, more full in the mouth, with an amazing cool finish.

“They are all really different, all exaggerated flavor profiles, that already exist in Maker’s Mark. Literally, the idea is, you get to taste pure and then you get to play bourbon’s Dr. Frankenstein and figure out what to marry together to create a flavor profile,” says Jane.

With five different stave options and ten stave slots per barrel, there are over a thousand different possible combinations. “What’s interesting is, we still view it as one product, just different expressions of the same thing. That’s what I love about what we do. We still do one thing, we just offer you different faces of that one thing.”

The Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel Program will be extremely limited in its first year, focused on on-premise and retailers in the Kentucky and Illinois area. Since the aging season is currently limited to October through February, the program will also have seasonality to it. Maker’s Mark is investigating climate controlled aging spaces to accommodate the possible high demand for the program.

Maker’s Mark

In just five years, Maker’s Mark has gone through a tremendous amount of change and maturation, and yet has still has managed to maintain its singular focus: keep making Maker’s Mark the way their customers have always wanted it. With that, Maker’s has found innovative ways of presenting the Maker’s Mark experience without losing sight of who they really are.

Kirin’s New Product Is Just One Percent Alcohol - Recipes

Vanilla is a wonderful ingredient that is used in a lot of recipes. It would actually be hard to find a sweet recipe that didn’t contain vanilla as one of the ingredients. Vanilla is the most common flavor used in popular foods including ice cream, yogurt, pudding, frosting, shakes, etc. It is a prized flavor that is subtle, yet stands out.

Vanilla is derived from orchid plants, mainly the pod of the orchid. Orchids that produce vanilla pods are grown, year round, around the world. Most notably, though, Madagascar is known for having the most vanilla producing orchids and thus seems to dominate the spice market with its vanilla beans.

Vanilla is harvested from the orchid plant and is produced into three different available vanilla forms the whole pod, powder and extract. The most popular form of vanilla is liquid vanilla extract. Vanilla extract is generally offered in two different forms, pure vanilla extract and vanilla extract flavoring. Pure vanilla extract contains the highest quantity, per volume, of vanilla extract. Vanilla extract flavoring is usually an intimation of vanilla extract and most of the time it doesn’t even contain vanilla.

When I first started baking I was unaware of the differences between vanilla extracts. I would just purchase the cheapest vanilla extract or the one that was on sale, I honestly thought they were all the same. After I started to become more aware of the ingredients I was using in my recipes, I began looking at the contents of each vanilla extract.

As far as liquid extracts go, pure vanilla extract is by far the best one to choose. Pure vanilla extract generally includes a base of alcohol, water and the extract of vanilla beans. The next best liquid extract would be the standard vanilla extract. Standard vanilla extract typically includes the same ingredients as pure vanilla extract. However, standard vanilla extract usually contains less alcohol along with sugar and in some cases corn syrup.

The worst liquid vanilla extract would be the imitation vanilla flavoring. Imitation vanilla flavoring generally contains water, glucose syrup, propylene glycol, alcohol (small amount) and artificial flavors. Propylene glycol is a chemical solvent that is used to help preserve the liquid and keeps the ingredients liquid state. Unfortunately propylene glycol has been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, allergies, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and organ system toxicity. Yummy stuff right?

When I bake, I traditionally (up until recently) use pure liquid vanilla extract. I found the flavor of the pure liquid vanilla extract to be the best and the ingredients to fit most in line with my dietary wants/needs. The only problem I had with pure vanilla extract was the amount of alcohol in the extract. Sure there are no alcohol extracts on the market, but these vanilla extracts contain glycerin and xanthan gum. Glycerin gives the vanilla extract a weird, almost slimy, quality and xanthan gum has been known to bother individuals with sensitive guts (myself included). Furthermore, alcohol free extracts never really have the same flavor punch that alcohol based extracts have.

In regards to the alcohol in flavoring extract, it is a common belief that the alcohol cooks off when you bake it. However, after I researched that topic, I quickly found that really only a small percentage of the alcohol burns off and that majority of the alcohol actually stays in the baked good. I also create a lot of dishes that include vanilla extract and are no bake recipes (like yogurt, ice cream, granola, etc), so the alcohol never even has a chance to possibly burn off.

My curiosity about finding a different form of vanilla extract led me to vanilla beans. Vanilla beans are available in most grocery stores in their whole format. There are two problems with whole vanilla beans. One is that whole vanilla beans are extremely expensive. Typically whole vanilla beans are priced anywhere from $8 up to $20 per bottle. Most bottles only contain 2 vanilla beans which doesn’t go very far in recipes. The second problem with whole vanilla beans is that they are soaked in alcohol. So purchasing and using the whole vanilla bean doesn’t get away from using vanilla that is alcohol free.

I was feeling somewhat let down about my ability to find a vanilla that was just pure vanilla. That was until recently when I was at a local food market that sells organic, locally derived/sourced foods and products. I was browsing their spice area and my eye caught a test tube shaped bottle filled with a dark powder. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know what spice could be so dark and mysteriously packaged this way. I picked up the tube and read the label. The label stated the spice was “Pure Vanilla Powder”. I quickly rolled the tube over to see what was in the ingredient list. I read �% Pure Ground Vanilla Beans”. What?! Really?! Could this be my new vanilla? Could this be what I was hoping and dreaming about? I immediately purchased the vanilla powder and hurried home to try it out in some of my favorite recipes.

Much to my delight, the powdered version of vanilla is an amazingly wonderful product. Just like the package stated, it is 100% pure ground vanilla, nothing else. The flavor is intense and perfectly vanilla. The only aftertaste is vanilla, no alcohol bitterness, or weird polymer mouth feel. The powder was the perfect accent to my zucchini pudding, tofu ice cream and even my afternoon coffee. I was so excited about my new find and knowing I would quickly breeze through the 1 ounce container, I promptly hopped online to see if I could purchase the vanilla powder in larger quantities.

Thankfully I found a couple vendors online that sell pure vanilla in the powder form. Watch out, though, some vendors sell what is listed as vanilla powder but they contain added ingredients. Some powdered vanillas contain sugar, dextrose, maltodextrin or sucrose. I was able to locate, online, the vendor that sells the powdered vanilla I purchased in the local food market. They are Mannix Family Vanilla and are located in Florida but ship domestically to the states. I was also able to locate another online vendor, Sun Food Super Foods, which sells 100% powdered vanilla. Sun Food Super Foods is a great online vendor that sells raw supplements, foods and other amazing goods. I have purchased through them several times and their products are great. Sun Foods Super Foods ships internationally so they are a good vendor for all my International followers.

Pure vanilla powder is much stronger than traditional liquid vanilla extract. Generally the powder substitute amount is half the amount of the pure liquid vanilla extract. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of liquid vanilla extract, use 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered vanilla. The powder cooks up the same in baked goods, so nothing else needs to change in the cooking part of the recipe.

Stick to a Wellness Program by Developing Your Grit

What is it that pushes us to achieve our wildest and most improbable goals? Grit, defined by Angela Duckworth and her colleagues, is the combination of perseverance and passion for important life goals. Leaders in art, medicine, law, journalism and other fields have it. More important than the diet, exercise plan or yoga class you choose, is staying with it. Developing your grit will help you stick to your wellness program, even in the face of setbacks.

Here are some suggestions for getting more gritty.

* Find your passion. Before picking a diet or exercise plan, read, study and experiment. Nutritionists, personal trainers and other experts are good sources of information. Like to work out with a buddy? Find one. Can’t live without pasta? There are diets out there that include it. You’ll have to try different approaches until you identify something you can enthusiastically embrace. Enjoying your plan will help you stick to it.

* Emulate successful models. Talk to people who maintain a healthy lifestyle. Their success can be inspiring. Try to learn not only what they do, but how they stick to it. Some swear by the first-thing-in-the-morning, get-a start-on-the-day workout. Others prefer the structure of a class. Use only those strategies that you can be positive about and that fit with your lifestyle and preferences.

* Dedicate yourself. Dedication to a goal involves a combination of unwavering commitment and persistence to the goal over time. If you decide you’re going to walk daily or three times a week, make it happen. If eating yoghurt and fruit for lunch every day and sleeping at least 8 hours a night works, keep doing it. If you’re a novelty freak, change it up, as long as you dedicate to the overarching goal.

* Learn from setbacks. There’s no need to dwell on possibilities for failure, but don’t be surprised by setbacks. Face problems squarely and use them productively to modify your approach. Injure yourself biking or find your meditation class cancelled? Rehab, rest or substitute other activities, but don’t give up the changes you’ve already made. Using your setbacks as opportunities for growth will keep you optimistic.

* Run the marathon, not the sprint. When you start to fatigue, get bored or encounter obstacles, it’s not time to quit. If your schedule changes and you can’t get to the gym lunchtime, decide when you can get there. Don’t overdo it, but do keep it interesting. Challenge yourself by gradually raising the bar. Remember you’re in it for the long haul.

Once you reach your goals, use the grit you’ve developed to maintain your gains. A gritty approach to maintaining your program will give you a lifetime of wellness.

Copyright, 2010 Judith Tutin, Ph.D.


DIY Hand Sanitizers: What Could Go Wrong?

There is an alarming trend which seems to be an explosion of bad DIY hand sanitizer formulas circulating around the web that come with potential liability. No matter what the reasons are behind this, making your own is a bad idea as hand sanitizers are not a DIY product, and we need to go over how it can all go wrong.

Alcohol Based Sanitizers

One of the first issues is that people are trying to make their own formula based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendation that hand sanitizers need to contain at least 60% alcohol. Kayla Fioravanti, cosmetic formulator and aromatherapist, wrote a very good article titled The Dirty Truth About DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipes explaining why the general alcohol and aloe based formulas that are going around should not be followed. If you have not already read it, please check it out for more information not covered here.

Also, because of the widespread misinformation on this subject, it needs to be stressed again that when it is stated that hand sanitizers need to contain at least 60% alcohol, this does not mean that you can just add some 60% or 70% alcohol or so to a product and call it a day. It means that the whole finished product itself needs to be at least 60% total alcohol.

There have also been recommendations going around to use vodka. It is important to note that proof is not the same as alcohol percentage by volume. Tito’s, a brand named in some recipes, responded with a tweet of an image that included…

Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ‘washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. You can tell if sanitizer contains at least 60 percent alcohol by looking at the product label.’

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40 percent alcohol and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.

Essential Oils and Water

There are also recipes suggesting to just add some essential oils to water or some other water based ingredient. It needs to be known that essential oils and water do not make a hand sanitizer or any properly formulated DIY product for that matter. Essential oils are hydrophobic and do not mix with water. All you end up with is neat (undiluted) essential oil and water that is going to rapidly grow microbes. This is in no way safe for topical use in either case. Nor does it make for a uniform and effective product. For more information on this subject there is a video linked in Kayla’s article. There is also a very informative article put out by the Tisserand Institute titled Effective Use of Alcohol for Aromatic Blending about making water based DIY products (not hand sanitizers) for home use only.

Essential Oil Based Sanitizers

Essential oils have many wonderful in home uses, but there are just some things that should not be attempted outside of a professional setting. In this case, a popular belief is that you can mix up a DIY hand sanitizer that is as good, or better, than a commercially available one. However, that is not as simple as it may seem.

One problem with that is out of all of the articles and videos I saw, almost every single one of them showed, or linked to, an essential oil brand that has been tested and shown to be fake or adulterated. These types of oils are not going to produce the same results that have been supported by the research of pure essential oils.

Now let’s talk about the research…

There are those that are currently arguing that research supports the use of essential oils in a hand sanitizer recipe, but what does the research really show?

Essential oils have shown to be antimicrobial, but that is not the whole story.

A quick Google search suggests that there are at least one TRILLION species of microbes on the planet. Microbes by definition include bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Much of the available research tests for the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) of a specific essential oil against specific microbes. The MIC, is the lowest concentration of an antimicrobial that inhibits the growth of a given microbe. The research provides clear evidence that each essential oil has different MIC values for each different microbe.

What that means is just because an oil is considered antimicrobial, that does not mean that it has the same effect on bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. alike. There are certain oils that are known to have good antibacterial qualities, but not so much antiviral. In turn, just because an oil is known for its antifungal properties, does not mean it is just as effective on bacteria or viruses. Here is the real kicker… Just because an oil is known for its antibacterial action, does not mean it is broad spectrum and equally effective against all bacteria.

Also, while many studies have been performed, they are usually on just a few oils and/or microbes at a time. There just has not been enough research to cover anywhere close to that estimated one trillion species. Not to mention the fact that in regards to recent events, if you do a search on for essential oils and coronavirus there are two results. A search including COVID-19 results in zero.

Another point to consider is an essential oil’s chemical constituents vary by batch due to several factors including: where the plants are grown, seasonal weather changes, distillation procedures, etc.

Even taking what we do know about oils that have documented MIC values in in vitro studies, that does not translate the same way for in vivo use. While research provides evidence that an oil may have, for instance, a MIC value of 0.25 – 0.50% for a certain microbe, that value was usually achieved by sealing the oil in a titre plate or petri dish for long periods of time for an incubation period. In this case, research shows that taking the same microbe and oil into account, the percentages required for topical use in a wash or cream are much higher at 5-10%. Due to their nature, oils act very differently on human skin and in the short amount of time they would need to be effective as a wash or hand sanitizer, than they do in a sealed environment in a lab apparatus for extended periods.

I am not disputing that essential oils have excellent potential. However, there is still so much we do not know and there is no way it could be guaranteed that any oil or blend of oils, could have the same effectiveness as a commercial hand sanitizer without proper professional testing.

Other Considerations

Even if you happen to luck up and put together something that would work, there would still be other things to consider.

Based on everything above, it seems possible that in order to make an effective hand sanitizing product just using essential oils as the active ingredient, may require much higher percentages than already mentioned. These higher percentages, especially depending on the oils used, can cause phototoxicity reactions, skin irritation, sensitization issues, and even chemical burns. Higher percentages in a product of this type can also be a problem as one of the first things many people learn about when starting aromatherapy (sometimes the hard way) is to wash your hands as soon as you finish handling or applying oils. In many cases the last thing anyone wants to do is, for example, touch their eyes or go to the restroom with oils still on their hands and in this case, you cannot wash them off.

Also, proper product formulation comes back into play. If everything used in the formula does not blend together properly or separates, you end up with a product that is not uniform throughout therefore not safe and effective.

Another thing to consider is if any of the ingredients used in the product are contaminated in any way, there can be far worse consequences than just being ineffective. For instance, there was the case in which a bloodstream infection outbreak was reported due to contaminated water being used to dilute a skin antiseptic in a hospital.

Lastly, some words of advice. Please do not even think about trying to sell something like this to others. Any product of this nature has to be professionally formulated and tested for safety, efficacy, stability, shelf life, and any microbial issues. Without this, you can be setting yourself up for a huge liability. Also, as per FDA regulations, it is considered a drug and they are already actively issuing warnings in regards to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) products.

In Conclusion

All that this type of untested product does is cause a false sense of security. Not to mention the liability that comes with something this serious. Considering everything provided here, would you stake the health and wellbeing of you, your family, and potentially others on this type of product? Are you also willing to chance being arrested or lose everything you have in a potential lawsuit due to an improperly formulated and untested product, or for spreading bad information?

I personally do not have any of the required information to prove that any of these DIY hand sanitizer recipes are safe and effective for me, my loved ones, or yours.