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Wikipedia reckons that Henry's Law is due to William Henry, an English Chemist.

Happy new year!

Ah - this post brought back pleasant memories of touring the champagne houses in Reims and Epernay....Moet & Chandon pours not only its White Star, but also its Dom Perignon for tours! Piper Heidsieck has a cute little train which takes you through their caves (and pours a very nice vintage bottling), Pommery has a grand staircase descending to their caves (and also pours a very nice vintage bottling), while the folks at Veuve Cliquot are just downright rude - you could say they were as cranky as an Old Widow. We booked a tour in advance (mandatory at VC), and arrived 5-10 minutes late after getting lost finding the place. Due to our tardiness, they refused to let us join the tour. They also refused to book us for another tour. Later that day, I phoned them and anonymously booked a tour the following day. When we showed up again the next day - on time - they came close to not letting us on the tour. Seems they were still steamed at our tardiness the previous day. In the end the tour wasn't worth it - nothing special and they only poured the non-vintage stuff that anybody can buy at Costco. That's been a few years ago now and I haven't purchased/drank VC since! Pol Roger is in the same price category and is much better.

Since "Sideways," it has been more chic to discover little-known wine regions. Australia has some excellent wines. Humbly suggest that the New Year be referred to as '007, a la James Bond. We only get to do so every 1000 years, and it distinguishes this year from 1907 or 2107.

Thanks to Paul S. for tracking down William Henry of "henry's Law."

I haven't actually seen "Sideways," but have heard several complaints of tourists wanting to go to all the same places the characters in the film visited... hence the backlash effect Louise describes, which has the benefit of leading people to actively seek out new regions. Australia DOES have some excellent wines, although I admit to being partial to Argentine malbecs.

And we are so jealous of joanne's Eurpean champagne tastings! Even more so if the bottles were opened with sabrage...

These days, most commercial carbonated beverages are made by pumping CO2 in during bottling. Many homebrewers will use the method described above of adding extra sugar and yeast to get carbonation into their bottles. The drawback of this is that when the yeast is done, it stays in the bottle as sediment. So you might be tempted to think that Champagne made before modern bottling methods contained sediment. You would be wrong.

Those wacky monks invented the "methode champenoise" of getting the bubbles in and the sediment out. The method is actually quite clever. After adding the yeast and sugar to the bottle, instead of corking the bottle, they cap it with a beer cap. The bottles are then allowed to further ferment while tilted downward--such that the headspace is at the "bottom" of the bottle. Periodically, someone will give each bottle a tap and a quarter turn so that the accumulating sediment all falls to the neck. Once the extra sugar is all fermented and all the yeast settled, the necks of the bottled are carefully lowered into a bath of icy brine. This freezes a plug in the neck that traps all the sediment.

The next step is generally performed wearing thick leather gloves and apron, as well as a face shield. The bottles are uncapped and the pressure inside ejects the plug. As soon as the plug is ejected, the bottle is quickly topped off with wine and corked.


Wow, this is a nice new blog design ... in part! You should replace the champaign glasses in the top banner, or check pics of Klein bottle glasses to emphasise the physics-cocktail connection:

Nice post, and a remarkably sexy picture!


1) You can find William Henry in the wikipedia. Just look for Henry's law and follow the link. The Japanese connection is interesting.

2) I really enjoyed reading Uncorked. Apparently, the means of making champagne was presented to the Royal Society in England well before Dom Perignon was hired to figure out how to get the bubbles out of champagne. That's right. His job was to create flat champagne, but the market changed in the interim.

3) While the Widow may not offer the best wine tours, we are still fond of her champagne. She did major work in figuring out how to get champagne safely to market and should not be slighted. We much prefer La Grande Dame to Winston Churchill's cuvee.

4) Is there a Henry's law for getting alcohol into the bloodstream? We are sure that champagne is much quicker at intoxication than still wine. Is there some basis to this observation?

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    Physics Cocktails

    • Heavy G
      The perfect pick-me-up when gravity gets you down.
      2 oz Tequila
      2 oz Triple sec
      2 oz Rose's sweetened lime juice
      7-Up or Sprite
      Mix tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a shaker and pour into a margarita glass. (Salted rim and ice are optional.) Top off with 7-Up/Sprite and let the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
    • Listening to the Drums of Feynman
      The perfect nightcap after a long day struggling with QED equations.
      1 oz dark rum
      1/2 oz light rum
      1 oz Tia Maria
      2 oz light cream
      Crushed ice
      1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
      In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the dark and light rum, Tia Maria, and cream. Shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass almost filled with crushed ice. Dust with the nutmeg, and serve. Bongos optional.
    • Combustible Edison
      Electrify your friends with amazing pyrotechnics!
      2 oz brandy
      1 oz Campari
      1 oz fresh lemon juice
      Combine Campari and lemon juice in shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Heat brandy in chafing dish, then ignite and pour into glass. Cocktail Go BOOM! Plus, Fire = Pretty!
    • Hiroshima Bomber
      Dr. Strangelove's drink of choice.
      3/4 Triple sec
      1/4 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
      2-3 drops Grenadine
      Fill shot glass 3/4 with Triple Sec. Layer Bailey's on top. Drop Grenadine in center of shot; it should billow up like a mushroom cloud. Remember to "duck and cover."
    • Mad Scientist
      Any mad scientist will tell you that flames make drinking more fun. What good is science if no one gets hurt?
      1 oz Midori melon liqueur
      1-1/2 oz sour mix
      1 splash soda water
      151 proof rum
      Mix melon liqueur, sour mix and soda water with ice in shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass. Top with rum and ignite. Try to take over the world.
    • Laser Beam
      Warning: may result in amplified stimulated emission.
      1 oz Southern Comfort
      1/2 oz Amaretto
      1/2 oz sloe gin
      1/2 oz vodka
      1/2 oz Triple sec
      7 oz orange juice
      Combine all liquor in a full glass of ice. Shake well. Garnish with orange and cherry. Serve to attractive target of choice.
    • Quantum Theory
      Guaranteed to collapse your wave function:
      3/4 oz Rum
      1/2 oz Strega
      1/4 oz Grand Marnier
      2 oz Pineapple juice
      Fill with Sweet and sour
      Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.
    • The Black Hole
      So called because after one of these, you have already passed the event horizon of inebriation.
      1 oz. Kahlua
      1 oz. vodka
      .5 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
      .5 oz. dark rum
      .5 oz. Amaretto
      Pour into an old-fashioned glass over (scant) ice. Stir gently. Watch time slow.