The Bar Myths Busted - Part 1
Why put lime in a Corona? Should Martinis be shaken or stirred? Why the bar mirrors? Is beer before wine really fine?
It's fair enough to say that bars are the places where rumours, hearsay and minor mythologies live and breed.
But what about the myths of the bar itself? Any self-respecting connoisseur of the drink and would-be special agent of the British Secret Service will tell you that a vodka martini should be shaken, not stirred. But does it really matter? And what about the old saying that goes “beer after wine and you'll feel fine; wine after beer and you'll feel queer?” Or was it the other way around?
Here we give you the low-down of a few common bar myths.
Lime in Corona
Summer day. Beer garden. Corona and lime. Sorted.
Many people take the pairing of the Mexican lager and a wedge of lime as a given but you will always get those real ale fanatics who sneer at the tradition as one that makes a tasteless beer even more tasteless.
There are a number of reasons which explain the practice of putting lime in a bottle of Corona. The one you've probably heard before is that the use of a lime wedge in the rim started in Mexico to keep flies from entering the bottle.
This explanation, however, means that a wedge of lime is supposed to remain in the bottle-neck and it was only when the idea travelled abroad that people started to push the lime into the beer itself.
Another theory is that the lime helps to cover up a fatal error made by the makers of Corona: clear glass. Although it lets you see the bright golden nectar within, the transparent glass allows the beer to be exposed to light and heat, more so than in coloured bottles. Over time, the drink develops a musky taste which the lime helps to cover up.
This likelihood is though that a lime wedged in a bottle of corona is simply a marketing gimmick which we all fell for. With so many exported beers on the market nowadays, how else will a bottled lager stand out if not for a citrus-y appendage?
“Beer after wine and you'll feel fine”
Or so the saying goes...
Everyone knows that you shouldn't mix your drinks, and anyone who has will tell tall tales of the epic hangovers they've experienced the morning after. So does drinking one type of alcohol after the other really affect how you feel?
Well, no. Because everyone has a different tolerance to alcohol and a different metabolism which will determine how drunk one gets and consequently how bad they will feel the morning after.
The only slither of truth in the “beer after wine” proverb is that a seasoned beer drinker is likely to glug their way through their drinks and so, after a session on pints, the beer drinker is going to be swigging back the vino at a rate of knots.
The order in which you mix drinks shouldn't cause too much of a problem if you know your limits and pace yourself. That said, if you do end up with a hangover from hell then you can always try the ancient hangover cure proposed by Galen the Greek in the second century: that is to wrap your head in cabbage leaves.
You'll have to find out for yourself if that one is a myth or not.
By Alex Petrou