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Porno Booze and Other Weird and Wonderfuls in the Land of Drink

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We all know and love booze for the wonderful quirk that it is. It's been with us for millennia, and more aptly, it's been with us all personally - through the highs, and the lows. Alcohol has stood by us after a long day, it's been a not-so-friendly ally in our misguided youth when we toyed with and abused it, and it's also been reason for life's happy accidents; I'm not the only one who will use it as inspiration for travel, new flavours, new cultures and unique experiences.

The truth is, alcohol is inextricably linked with our humanity- our evolution. It's taken all the steps with us. And ye gods, that's included the thick and thin.

I have the wonderful opportunity to explore this world, and I relish these opportunities. I've been lucky to see new parts of the world, and I truly believe that this common ground has given me insight into areas I wouldn't have glimpsed. It has also led me to locals in a manner that perhaps wouldn't have been quite so savoury in other circumstances (chatting to strangers in bars is a-OK, but think about what happens when you try striking up a conversation with a fellow tube passenger).

There's a whole world of drink out there. More than a fraction makes it to our shores too. We're lucky here in our wonderfully diverse and experienced isles. However, I'm fortunate enough to be a front line consumer of these products (all in the name of research you'll understand) so I figured I'd take the opportunity to share some of the more left field examples:

Ron de Jeremy
The porno rum from the title, and one you might imagine to be a publicity stunt (there's plenty more of those vying for their unique selling point with shock tactics) but actually a well made product. The Spanish for 'rum' is Ron so some smart fellow aligned this aged Panamanian rum with the man of dubious acting talents. Spanish style rums tend to lean towards a sweeter, orange-y profile, so if this is your preference, and you fancy some amusement, this may be for you.

Breast 'matured' Whisky
Alternative maturing methods are now commonplace in both the spirit and the cocktail worlds. Different attempts to cheat time and create new dimensions in flavour have led to some truly innovative methods (for example Diageo experimented in cling-filming barrels, and I've consulted a microbiologist to assist on using living organisms to add unique aspects to drinks), but some take a very different route. Very much playing upon the idea that sex sells, a German company is allowing you to purchase whisky that has been passed over the breasts of a variety of ladies. Exploitative both of the ladies involved, and the people foolish enough to purchase it.

Scorpion Vodka
Formic acid- the repellant used by ants and other insects- is said to taste like lime. In fact, there's a few restaurants that have employed the insects for this purpose- notably Noma at its recent residency at Claridge's. However, there's always been the opportunity to cash in on the Stag Do crowd, so there exists the opportunity to ingest a variety of hard shelled organisms pickled in spirit. I'm unsure whether it relates to any native drinking customs (I'd hazard a guess that if such things do exist they serve to appease similar tourists of the 'I dare you' crowd whilst abroad), but I'm pretty sure it's not for culinary exploits.

Chicken breast Mezcal (Pechuga)
Mezcal is a funny beast. Often the derided cousin of tequila (itself a horribly misunderstood category), it's very hard to know where to start. Offering a wonderful profile ranging from big and smoky, through vegetal and herbal all underpinned by an agave sweetness, but there's similarly so many differences between producers. Then there's also the methodology. Some bury the agave (the raw material needed to make this wonderful spirit) in old ovens, some distill in a combination of set ups... And some hang a chicken breast in the neck of the still. Not as crazy as it sounds- proteins also remove unwanted compounds in the way copper does (hence the use of copper in stills). I swear I can taste it in the bottle though.

So go out, travel, try to seek out new and interesting drinks. But crucially, ask! Ask those who are able to help you. This might be your friendly neighbourhood bartender (more in common with Spidey than you might think), an actual expert or your local guide. There are times when this is crucial though. The recent tragedy of the girl who had her stomach removed because of a liquid nitrogen-laced drink is a case in point. Both her and the servers should have asked the necessary questions to ensure they knew what they were doing. There's lots to explore, but there are also impostors. Some research will point you in the direction of things that suit your tastes, but it'll also steer you from stuff that you should just avoid; skip the snake heart vodka abroad - it's a plain waste of  your tastebuds, health, the alcohol and the snake.

Mezcal Sour
50ml l (go to your local cocktail bar and ask to try a few)
20ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup (dissolve 2 parts sugar in 1 part water and keep refrigerated)
2 dashes angostura bitters
The white of one egg (to go with the chicken. Actually it softens the drink, holding the flavours on your tongue- you won't taste it)

Add all to a shaker and shake without ice. This binds everything together and helps with a thick froth. Add a good quantity of good ice and shake hard. Strain of all ice with the aid of a tea strainer into a chilled martini glass and enjoy!