Can washing your hands in vodka help avoid Covid 19? No, but some of these might work better.
Of all the dumb stories to emerge from the increasingly hysterical coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, surely the dumbest is the one about people stocking up on Tito's Vodka for use as hand sanitizer.
Eater.com reported last week that the Austin-based vodka maker's social media has been working overtime trying to explain that the best-selling spirit is unsuitable for use as sanitizer as it is only 40 percent alcohol by volume, and an effective sanitizer needs to be 60 percent in order to kill the virions that make up the Covid-19 novel coronavirus.
Now we don't have anything against Tito's, but using it as hand-wash is like sending a boy to do a woman's job it might be a nice idea, but it will never work out well so we've lined up some much better candidates, some of which might actually work better as a hand sanitizer than they do as a drink.
But let's start with something pleasant Bourbon.
When Jim Beam released its small batch Bourbons back in the late 1980s, there was a lot to like. The Basil Hayden's, Baker's and Knob Creek expressions were all lovely whiskeys, but the Booker's, selected by distiller Booker Noe, was the standout, mostly for its strength. Bottled straight from the barrel, it has never slipped below 62 percent in its various iterations and, once you've given your hands a wipe, you can apply it internally with great relish.
Next up is another Bourbon, the glorious George T Stagg, a Bourbon so utterly delightful that the first time I ever tried it I burst out laughing in sheer pleasure. I would, however, have reservations around using it as a hand-wash, especially given its $712 average price tag.
Moving away from the joys of Bourbon (and we should also mention the 60-percent Glenfarclas 105 single malt in passing), we enter the world of rum.
Let's start relatively gently, with the Bacardi 151, which weighs in at 75.5 percent ABV, with a relatively affordable $48. That level of alcohol will kill anything within six inches of the open bottle, so a little dab'll do you. Also it might pay to use the rest of this to make mixed drinks, as there is a distinctly combustible note on the nose.
It pales beside our next offering, however, an Austrian rum called Stroh 80 (Austria, of course, being famous for its acres of sugar cane plantations and its proud naval traditions). The first time I tried a shot of this I couldn't taste anything else for an hour afterwards, just the lingering notes of disbelief and regret. At 80 percent ABV it works out at around 160 proof, which isn't really proof anymore, rather it's circumstantial evidence.
We now leave the world of brown spirits altogether and enter the cold, crystal realm of vodka and we start with Devil's Spring, an 80-percent ABV monster from New Jersey, a bottle that comes with a warning that it is flammable, so it will certainly take care of any bugs that may be lingering on your hands. It may well also take care of any hope you have of going to work in the foreseeable future.
Next up is Balkan vodka, a Bulgarian brute that packs an 88-percent ABV punch, although it only appears to be on sale in Europe, so unless you are already there, it would seem counterproductive to any efforts to avoid contracting the virus.
Just pipping the Bulgarians are the Scots, with a special version of a brand called Pincer vodka. The standard version is 38 percent alcohol, but there is a version that packs in 88.8 percent ABV. You'll be glad to hear that both versions contain an infusion of milk thistle, a plant reputed to aid liver health, which is either a stroke of genius or a cruel joke.
We now move into the upper echelons of drinking, the sort of product only attempted by the most aspirational self-punishers. First up is Hapsburg Absinthe, a stand-out in a category that only gets started at the 60 percent mark. At a fraction less than 90 percent alcohol, this is exactly the sort of spirit that helps you see both why absinthe was called the green fairy and several actual green fairies, possibly alongside a few pink elephants and flying pigs.
Next, we drag ourselves across the 90 percent barrier to the level where we are at the very edges of what distillation can produce.
When a drink is banned in 10 states, you know it is the heavy drinker's heavy drink Everclear. The 190 version (the one that is banned in 10 states) is 92.4 percent which is an astonishing level, especially given that the process of distillation can only effectively hit 97 percent before the alcohol levels between the liquid and vapor states equalizes, a process known as azeotropy.
And top of our list, with a claimed alcohol content of 96 percent, is Spirytus, or Wratislava 96 Rectified Spirit, a Polish spirit that will easily fulfill your hygiene needs and possibly remove all sense of concern about coronavirus as well, along with any other worries, memories and, indeed, thoughts you might still have floating around in there. Good night and good luck.
The rest is here:
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