Certainly not my card playing. I didn’t see much change from £100 at the first poker game of 2012. It was held at SOTR Poker HQ by my old mucker FJK. A good night and great food (burgers and bangers) put on by the host.
This post is not really about the poker but about alcohol choices. The typical arrangement is lager. Lots of lager. I try and avoid it (in the UK) now - it usually tastes boring, contains gluten and bloats me up a treat. Wine is the tipple of choice but wine is a poker recipe for disaster (and ridicule…unless you are drinking a cocktail).
So I decided to experiment with ‘Robb Wolf’s Norcal Margarita’. 2 shots of 100% agave tequila, juice and pulp from one lime, ice & soda water. A simple and clean drink. No gluten & low sugar. I’d had it before and it was perfectly drinkable. No fireworks but something to sip over the course of an evening and get out without too much damage.
But this one tasted great.
I put this down to the quality of the spirit and the fresh lime. But it seemed too sweet, too moreish, too good. After 3 generous tumblers I was floored. Not exactly drunk, just sluggish.
What went wrong. My plan had failed.
It got me thinking. I’d bought soda but had been offered tonic water. What really is the difference between soda and tonic water? I did some research.
Soda water: Carbonated water, sodium bicarbonate
Tonic water: Carbonated water, sugar (in the form of high fructose corn syrup - HFCS), citric acid,sodium benzoate, flavourings (including quinine), sweetener (sodium saccharin).
The potted culinary history of quinine defies belief but I’m not to bothered about that. The bit that startled me is the presence of HFCS. In tonic water. But should I be that suprised?
Blaming the reaction to three large cocktails on an ingredient in the tonic water may seem a little far fetched but the truth is that I don’t drink sugary drinks (and certainly avoid anything containing HFCS). HFCS is linked to a lot of bad stuff but I leave it to the readers to look-up the experts (i.e not me).
Taubes NY Times article - http://tinyurl.com/4xahn9j
Lustig lecture - http://youtu.be/dBnniua6-oM
Could this insidious ingredient have actually affected my energy levels and concentration that badly?
Or am I just a bit pants at cards these days?
[Update at 12:48; 05.02.12: FJK has gently pointed out that there was, in fact, no HFCS in the slimline tonic he offered on the Friday night! It did contain the artificial sweetener, aspartame, which may have had a similar effect but I cannot blame HFCS for any real or imaginary reactions this time.]