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Punch Drunk: Gin and Bear It



I’ve always thought that gin made me better looking — while I was drinking it. It’s the classy spirit compared to vodka or bourbon. One becomes handsome, suave, debonair.

Look at that guy in a suit, holding a soup bowl full of Bombay Sapphire. He’s an upwardly mobile young man with a discerning palate. The bartender at the airport Applebee’s surely mistook him for Daniel Craig after he ordered that martini. You know, mistook him for the kind of James Bond who flies coach and has a three-hour layover in Atlanta. Also, this suit is from Target. Got it for 80 bucks. Fits like a burlap sack.

Very chic.

The problem with gin is the next day — after the buzz wears off and the self-confidence plummets. When my face resembles a bloated, left-out-in-the-sun pumpkin and I have all the charm of a caged Komodo dragon. Then the guy that was charming bartenders at the airport becomes the guy who has to tell his girlfriend that she better let the bathroom air out for at least 30 minutes before entering. It doesn’t help that I had a Five Guys for dinner while I was waiting in Atlanta.

What I’m saying is, the aftereffects of drinking gin have never done me any favors.

That is, until this new study from the University of Sigulda in Latvia swept across the Internet recently. It says that drinking gin speeds up your metabolism. That’s according to science!

You had me at science!

The study, published in the journal Food and Nature, assessed how the alcoholic beverage affected calories in mice. Somehow the afterburn effect of the gin spiked the metabolism of the mice up to 17 percent.

Those are some sexy (and presumably drunk) mice right there.

Lead author and professor Thisa Lye said: “Consumption of gin resulted in a marked increase in metabolic rate, which indicates the spirit may have a slimming effect on the body.”

But wait, there’s more good news. The antioxidant-rich juniper berry — a main ingredient in many gins — reduces bloating too. The study also said that gin and tonics are good for diabetics.

What can’t gin do?

My first thought here is, wait, isn’t tonic water full of sugar? That’s not good for diabetics though, right? My second thought is, don’t ruin this with thinking, brain! You’ve been given a green light to sip!

Since the beginning of time man has searched for something that makes you feel good yet is also good for you. That search has been fruitless — until now. People will say that eating healthy and drinking plenty of water makes you feel good, and to a very small extent, it does. But I want to feel really good. The type of good that comes only after two gin martinis and a cigarette. Eating unsalted almonds and drinking Evian isn’t going to get you to that type of good.

So if the University of Sigulda and its researchers are correct, then it should bring a huge smile to every rosy, gin-blossomed face down at your local watering hole.

Why aren’t more people talking about this? We should be leaving the gym in droves and heading to the pub. We should be changing public fountains to straight gin. Eternal youth is finally to be had in the form of a 90-proof liquid. Just add cranberry for taste! Science said so!

Yeah, science. So you know this is legit!

There’s a slight catch here, though. The University of Sigulda in Latvia doesn’t exist. The journal Food and Nature doesn’t exist. This story, that was reported by numerous, generally respected news outlets, is a fake. My cronies and I are left stunned, red-faced, slightly sweaty. But all this gin we’ve swilled? Has it all been for naught?

Originally published by the UK’s Prima online magazine April 1, the story was a joke. A joke only we fools believed. Yahoo, being one of those fools, picked up the story. It then spread to other news outlets such as the New York Daily News and the Daily Mail, because why do any fact-checking at all?

But professor Thisa Lye would never lie to … hey, wait a second!

I’ve been had!

And here I am, left with nothing but a hangover. Feeling like 10 pounds of crap in a 5-pound bag.

Notice how they never show James Bond the day after he drinks martinis. It’s for a reason. S

Jack Lauterback also is co-host of “Mornings with Melissa and Jack” on 103.7 Play weekdays from 6-9. Connect with him at letters@styleweekly.com, or on Twitter at jackgoesforth.