Rethinking Your Drinking: Why Not Start The Conversation?

Black Russian
Black Russian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How potent are the cocktails you’re being served?

This time of year we often find we are invited to summertime barbecues, holiday parties, and outings to the ocean, lake or river. If you or one of your family members is in recovery from alcoholism, then you know how alcoholic drinks can vary in strength depending on who is mixing the drink and you need to be alert to what is being served in the punch.

You can arrive at a get-together and have someone immediately hand you a “drink” without ever knowing if and what kind of alcohol and mixes are included in the party recipe.

One of our associates recalled a small gathering she attended about 35 years ago. The drink for this evening affair was Black Russians. If you have ever had a Black Russian, then you know that it is typically a simple recipe of three parts vodka and two parts coffee liqueur. In short order, the three women at this gathering were for all intents and purposes drunk and the three or four men were well on their way. Finally, our associate asked “what’s in this drink?” And to her surprise she learned there was no non-alcoholic mix in the drink. For the record, she has never had a Black Russian again!

July 4th brought headlines about summer cocktails…

This past weekend we noticed quite a few articles that dealt with drinking safely and being aware of what you are were being served. As Dr. George Koob, director of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism told The Washington Post: “Most people don’t realize how much alcohol is actually in a drink.”  Additionally, Dr. Koob reminds readers that alcohol is a diuretic, so it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and to pace the number of drinks you have per hour.

Here is a useful cocktail content calculator…

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a calculator for educational purposes. Here is their full Disclaimer:

This calculator is for educational purposes only, to show how the number of standard drinks and the alcohol content (% alc/vol) of a cocktail can vary depending on the type of spirits and the recipe. Any differences between the data you enter in the calculator and the actual amount in a drink could significantly affect the accuracy of the estimates. Because of this and individual variations in alcohol sensitivity and metabolism, the calculator should not be relied upon to predict blood alcohol level or any other measure. Do not drink if you are under the legal age (21 in the United States), and do not drive or engage in other potentially dangerous activities after drinking.

Here is a link to the Cocktail Content Calculator and here is a link to their other drinking calculators.

Start the conversation with your family and friends…

Last month we wrote about a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that discussed the number of alcohol attributable deaths in the US any given year for working-age adults.  Today you might want to share these new tools and start the conversation with your family and friends about alcohol and their health. As the NIAAA says it is time to start rethinking drinking, examine your drinking patterns and share this useful booklet provided by the NIAAA.

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