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Concept: Vodka


Whisky is distilled to around 70% alcohol by volume (vol-%) then diluted to about 40 vol-%, and often drunk after further slight dilution to enhance its taste. The taste of whisky is primarily associated with amphipathic molecules, such as guaiacol, but why and how dilution enhances the taste is not well understood. We carried out computer simulations of water-ethanol mixtures in the presence of guaiacol, providing atomistic details on the structure of the liquid mixture. We found that guaiacol is preferentially associated with ethanol, and, therefore, primarily found at the liquid-air interface in mixtures that contain up to 45 vol-% of ethanol. At ethanol concentrations of 59 vol-% or higher, guaiacol is increasingly surrounded by ethanol molecules and is driven to the bulk. This indicates that the taste of guaiacol in the whisky would be enhanced upon dilution prior to bottling. Our findings may apply to other flavour-giving amphipathic molecules and could contribute to optimising the production of spirits for desired tastes. Furthermore, it sheds light on the molecular structure of water-alcohol mixtures that contain small solutes, and reveals that interactions with the water may be negligible already at 89 vol-% of ethanol.

Concepts: Vodka, Brandy, Chemical compound, Molecule, Ethanol, Water, Oxygen, Chemical substance


Research on a possible causal association between alcohol consumption and risk of prostate cancer is inconclusive. Recent studies on associations between alcohol consumption and other health outcomes suggest these are influenced by drinker misclassification errors and other study quality characteristics. The influence of these factors on estimates of the relationship between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer has not been previously investigated.

Concepts: Metastasis, Vodka, Beer, Cancer, Epidemiology, Alcoholism, Alcohol, Prostate cancer


Alcohol hangover is a growing research area, but differences across the life span have not been assessed. Here, we test the hypothesis that the severity of hangovers depends on age.

Concepts: Drinking culture, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Vodka, Blood alcohol content, Differences, Alcoholism, Hangover


Alcohol dependence is associated with a dysregulated dopamine system modulating reward, craving and cognition. The monoamine stabilizer (-)-OSU6162 (OSU6162) can counteract both hyper- and hypo-dopaminergic states and we recently demonstrated that it attenuates alcohol-mediated behaviors in long-term drinking rats. The present Phase II exploratory human laboratory study investigated to our knowledge for the first time the effects of OSU6162 on cue- and priming-induced craving in alcohol dependent individuals. Fifty-six alcohol dependent individuals were randomized to a 14-day-treatment period of OSU6162 or placebo after their baseline impulsivity levels had been determined using the Stop Signal Task. On Day 15, participants were subjected to a laboratory alcohol craving test comprised of craving sessions induced by: i) active - alcohol specific cues, ii) neutral stimuli and iii) priming - intake of an alcoholic beverage (0.20g ethanol/kg bodyweight). Subjective ratings of alcohol craving were assessed using the shortened version of the Desire for Alcohol Questionnaire and visual analog scales (VAS). OSU6162 treatment had no significant effect on cue-induced alcohol craving, but significantly attenuated priming-induced craving. Exploratory analysis revealed that this effect was driven by the individuals with high baseline impulsivity. In addition, OSU6162 significantly blunted the subjective liking of the consumed alcohol (VAS). Although the present 14-day-treatment period, showed that OSU6162 was safe and well tolerated, this exploratory human laboratory study was not designed to evaluate the efficacy of OSU6162 to affect alcohol consumption. Thus a larger placebo-controlled efficacyclinical trial is needed to further investigate the potential of OSU6162 as a novel medication for alcohol dependence.

Concepts: Vodka, Beer, Alcohol abuse, Alcohol, Alcoholic beverage, Dopamine, Drinking culture, Alcoholism


In consumer food-sensory studies, sorting and closely related methods (for example, projective mapping) have often been applied to large product sets which are complex and fatiguing for panelists. Analysis of sorting by Multi-Dimensional Scaling (MDS) is common, but this method discards relevant individual decisions; analysis by DISTATIS, which accounts for individual differences, is gaining acceptance. This research posits that replication can improve DISTATIS analysis by stabilizing consumer sensory maps, which are often extremely unstable. As a case study a fatiguing product set was sorted: 10 American whiskeys-5 bourbons and 5 ryes-were sorted into groups by 21 consumers over 2 replications. These products were chosen because American whiskeys are some of the most important distilled beverages in today’s market; in particular, “bourbon” (mashbill more than 50% corn) and “rye” (more than 50% rye) whiskeys are important and assumed to be products with distinct sensory attributes. However, there is almost no scientific information about their sensory properties. Data were analyzed using standard and aggregated DISTATIS and MDS. No significant relationship between mashbill and consumer categorization in whiskeys was found; instead, there was evidence of producer and aging effects. aggregated DISTATIS was found to provide more stable results than without replication, and DISTATIS results provided a number of benefits over MDS, including bootstrapped confidence intervals for product separation. In addition, this is the first published evidence that mashbill does not determine sensory properties of American whiskey: bourbons and ryes, while legally distinct, were not separated by consumers.

Concepts: Consumer protection, Brandy, Distilled beverage, American whiskey, Scientific method, Vodka, Bourbon whiskey, Whisky


Baijiu is a Chinese traditional distilled liquor with an annual yield over 13.12 million tons. Strong flavor baijiu (SFB) also called Luzhou-flavor liquor, takes account for > 70% of the total baijiu produced. SFB is produced by an open solid fermentation process with a complex microbial ecosystem. Clostridium is one of the most important microorganisms for the formation of the main flavor compounds of SFB, such as ethyl caproate. In this paper, we review current research progress on the Clostridium in the SFB ecosystem, focusing on the species diversity, physiological and metabolic features along with interspecies interactions. Systems biology approaches for the study of Clostridium from SFB ecosystems were discussed and explored. Furthermore, current applications of Clostridium in SFB production were discussed.

Concepts: Alcoholic beverage, Ecology, Biodiversity, Species, Ethanol, Organism, Vodka, Microorganism


Alcohol consumption is a global phenomenon, as is the resultant health, social and economic harm. The nature of these harms varies with different drinking patterns and with the societal and political responses to the burden of harm; nevertheless, alcohol-related chronic diseases have a major effect on health. Strong evidence exists for the effectiveness of different strategies to minimize this damage and those policies that target price, availability and marketing of alcohol come out best, whereas those using education and information are much less effective. However, these policies can be portrayed as anti-libertarian and so viewing them in the context of alcohol-related harm to those other than the drinker, such as the most vulnerable in society, is important. When this strategy is successful, as in Scotland, it has been possible to pass strong and effective legislation, such as for a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Concepts: Vodka, Beer, Clinical trial, Effect, Medicine, Marketing, Effectiveness, Drinking culture


Researchers are starting to shed light on the true extent of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Svetlana Popova talks to Fiona Fleck.

Concepts: Wine, Yeast, Vodka, Beer, Drinking culture, Ethanol, Alcohol, Alcoholic beverage


Previous research demonstrated that urinary ethanol concentrations were significantly lower in hangover resistant individuals compared to drinkers who reported having a hangover. This finding suggests that the rate of ethanol metabolism is faster in drinkers who do not experience an alcohol hangover. This study aimed to directly compare alcohol metabolism after administering a low dose of ethanol to hangover sensitive drinkers and hangover resistant drinkers.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Vodka, Alcoholic beverage, Yeast, Alcohol, Hangover, Ethanol, Blood alcohol content


Alcohol use is one of the world’s leading causes of death and disease, although only a small proportion of individuals develop persistent alcohol use disorder (AUD). The identification of vulnerable individuals prior to their chronic intoxication remains of highest importance. We propose here to adapt current methodologies for identifying rats at risk of losing control over alcohol intake by modeling diagnostic criteria for AUD: inability to abstain during a signaled period of reward unavailability, increased motivation assessed in a progressive effortful task and persistent alcohol intake despite aversive foot shocks. Factor analysis showed that these three addiction criteria loaded on one underlying construct indicating that they represent a latent construct of addiction trait. Further, not only vulnerable rats displayed higher ethanol consumption, and higher preference for ethanol over sweetened solutions, but they also exhibited pre-existing higher anxiety as compared to resilient rats. In conclusion, the present preclinical model confirms that development of an addiction trait not only requires prolonged exposure to alcohol, but also depends on endophenotype like anxiety that predispose a minority of individuals to lose control over alcohol consumption.

Concepts: Vodka, Beer, Alcoholic beverage, Alcoholism, Ethanol, Alcohol, Yeast, Motivation