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Maine beer, whiskey and vodka that’ll do you good

The year 2000 was a watershed for wine lovers. It was the year when medical researchers from all over the globe started talking about the health benefits of drinking wine. It turned out that people who enjoyed a glass or two with their dinner were found to be less prone to heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, and wine drinkers as a group enjoyed a lower mortality rate from cancer. So, by all means, said the doctors, take a little wine for your health’s sake. It’ll do you some good.

There’s nothing new about the idea of medicinal alcohol, of course. In the nineteenth century, if you were weak or anemic, your doctor would have prescribed a pint of porter—a dark, hoppy beer made with brown malts—to be taken with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Porter was prescribed for pregnant women, and until very recently, expectant mothers in the UK were encouraged to have a Guinness a day to control stress and “build up the blood,” which is why it’s still offered to blood donors there.

In modern times, beer has also been found to offer health benefits. Beer contains nutrients that promote bone health, better cholesterol numbers, a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, improved cognitive function and better psychological health. Vodka has been found to offer all those benefits associated with moderate alcohol use, including a lower mortality rate, a decreased risk of stroke, improved cardiovascular health and the added benefit of a lower body weight as compared to those who do not consume alcohol. Even whiskey, once thought of as the devil’s favorite beverage, has been shown to reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

So how about you? Are you ready to get healthy? Swell. We’ve got your prescription, right here in Maine. Keep in mind that more than one or two of any of these drinks a day is looking for trouble, and will bring you the exact opposite of any benefit you’re seeking in these spirits, so drink responsibly. With that in mind, let us proceed.

PORTER

Are you feeling lethargic, fatigued? Has your skin gone pale, your breath short, or are you lightheaded, dizzy, your heart racing? You, my friend, may be suffering from anemia. If your doctor confirms this, you’ll want to go straight out and get yourself a supply of King Titus, a porter brewed by Maine Beer Company. It’s a “robust” porter, which means it’s packed with chocolatey, malty goodness and will make you forget all about dessert. It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) rating of 7.5 percent, so approach with caution. Readers on ratebeer.com gave it 4.14/5, and readers on beeradvocate.com gave it a 99 out of 100. This reviewer gives it a Wow, That’ll Do, Bubba.

WHISKEY

If you’re feeling a little trail worn, have yourself a nice shot of whiskey. You’ll avoid all the sugars found in wine and beer, and you’ll even experience better digestion and a sharper memory—hey, it’s what the doctors say! And not just any whiskey, but a genuine, made-in-Maine whiskey. Bottled and brewed by Maine Craft Distilling in Portland, Fifty Stone single-malt, Highland-style whiskey was recently singled out in an article titled, “The Best Whiskeys in Every State Right Now,” in Esquire magazine. The Maine Craft website describes it as having been made “…with floor-malted Maine-grown barley, smoked with Maine peat and locally harvested seaweed.” It’s a lovely shade of amber in the glass and a lovely puzzle of smoke and vanilla on the tongue—one of your more storied and subtle beverages, unique and familiar.

VODKA

Vodka is by far the clearest, cleanest, purest spirit on the market. Associated health benefits include improved cardiovascular health and the reduction of stress. Some studies have even suggested vodka will keep your skin clear and healthy and that it promotes hair growth. Sounds good, right? And one of the finest vodkas on the market today is Cold River Vodka, made in Freeport by Maine Distilleries. Spirit Journal named Cold River Vodka “one of the “Top Five-Star Spirits in the World” in 2011. If your vodka experience has heretofore included only the swill one finds at the cheap end of the bar, you won’t recognize Cold River as being vodka at all. It’s smoother than ice and slightly sweet, a nice reward in every glass, a kick in the pants that will make you smile.

And there you are, a complete dispensary in your liquor cabinet. I think you should try all of these drinks until you’re just so healthy you can’t stand it anymore. But remember to follow your doctor’s orders. Take two of these and call ‘em in the morning. And if you can’t call ‘em in the morning after taking two of these, just make ‘em smaller next time.

Will Cutlip drinks in moderation if not perfect isolation in the comfort of his apartment in Brunswick.

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