The Art of Drinking Moonshine

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Moonshine has had a bad reputation because of the stories that it could make you blind or paralyzed. Add to that the fact that its production increased when liquor was banned in the US. Nowadays, this name for most high-proof distilled spirits are legal in a lot of countries including Singapore.

How Moonshine is Made

If you go by tradition, the term moonshine applies only to corn-based unaged whiskey with a clear color and a proof of up to 190. According to whiskey lovers, the best moonshine are homemade and placed in jars. Its name probably comes from the nature of the distillation and purchase which were all done at night to avoid taxes and prosecution.

Although there are differences in the techniques and ingredients used, there are some common elements in homemade moonshine, such as the malt base which is a combination of rye, corn, and barley. Most moonshine are also produced in pot stills, but the rumors regarding the blindness and poisoning may be a result from contamination from the materials.

This is why you should only purchase products from legitimate distillers that do not use lead and other contaminants. Today there are nearly a hundred varieties of moonshine in different countries. In the Southeast Asian region, the following are the names for moonshine: arrack in Indonesia, lao lao in laos, langkau and montoku in Malaysia, lambanog in the Philippines, sura khao or lao khao in Thailand, and ruou in Vietnam.

Moonshine and Food Pairings

Most varieties of moonshine pack a punch (40% alcohol by volume) so it’s not for the fainthearted. The best way to enjoy it if you’re used to strong alcoholic beverages is to pair it with food to complement or contrast its aroma and flavors. Fruit-flavored moonshine for example is best paired with saucy barbecue, coleslaw, and sliders. Smoked meat with cheese and mashed potatoes will also make moonshine go down the throat more smoothly. Any juicy, smoky and heavily-flavored meal can be cleansed with a shot of moonshine on the rocks or moonshine cocktail.

Moonshine Cocktails You Must Try

The best way to introduce your friends to moonshine is to make cocktails. Here are some recipes you must try on your next party.

  • Salty Apple: 2 ounces apple pie moonshine and 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • Chocolate Moonshine: 1 cup grain alcohol with 151 proof, 8 ounces dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste, 1 ¼ cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 quart heavy or light cream
  • Ginger Snap: 2 ounces apple pie moonshine, ice, and 4 ounces ginger ale
  • Coconut Sunrise: 3 jiggers coconut moonshine, 5 cups orange juice, 1 jigger grenadine, shredded coconut, ice, and maraschino cherries
  • Moonshine Margarita: 2 ounces moonshine, 1 ounce triple sec, 1 ounce simply syrup, 1 ounce lime juice, and ice
  • Cider-Berry: 1 ½ cups apple pie moonshine, ½ pint blackberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 lemon juice, 750 mL dry hard cider, ice cubes, and 3 mint sprigs
  • Peach Cobbler: 1 ½ cups Everclear, 64 ounces white grape peach juice, ½ cup peach schnapps, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 peeled and quartered peaches, and 3 cinnamon sticks

4 Surprising Things You Should Clean By Washing Machine

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Even though you think you’ve cleaned up every last corner of your HDB flat or condo unit in Singapore, you’ll find that dust and dirt finds its way in more areas and things than you think – and sometimes, you might just end up missing a spot. But it’s not just dust and dirt that can make their homes in pretty much anything. Be sure to clean these things via washing machine and make a habit of doing so every few months:

Stuffed toys
You’ll be surprised how easily stuffed animals can become dirt sponges when you don’t keep a careful eye on them, so tossing them in the washing machine at least once a month will keep the dust at bay and prevent your children from catching a cold. Be sure to wash in warm water using a gentle cycle and air-dry it. If it has any rips or stains, treat the latter with detergent or stain remover and place the toy in a laundry mesh bag to keep the filling intact.

Unless your backpack is made from leather, you can usually give it a spin in the washing machine along with a lighter laundry load that has similar colors. Before doing so, be sure to empty every pocket in order to avoid any accidental stains or tears. Treat any stains beforehand using a stain removal product and turn it upside-down before adding any disinfectant if necessary. If the stain is particularly tough, use a soft-bristled brush to work the stain removal product into the fabric for about fifteen minutes.

Oven mitts/hot pads
Washing kitchen equipment isn’t just limited to kitchen towels – you also need to take care of your oven mitts and hot pads since they most likely have come in contact with food at one point or another. Keep in mind that tossing your oven mitts and hot pads in a washing machine can do a lot to clean them, but what they can’t do is reverse the damage in the burnt areas. If your oven mitts are too burnt for use, you might have to purchase new ones.

Mop heads
There’s only so much that you can do with a mop head until it starts getting dirty, and no matter how long you let it soak in water and how much detergent you use, it won’t be enough to get rid of all the dirt that’s accumulated throughout your use. However, there’s no need to ditch that mop for a new one – if you can detach the mop head, all you need to do is to load it in your washing machine and let a gentle spin cycle take care of all that dirt for you.

Activities You Can Do to Spend Your “Alone Time”

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Whether in person or social media, we are always looking to meet everyone’s expectations. But as you know, sometimes we need to take a step back and enjoy our “me” time. And here are some activities for you to do just that.

Learning to cook or learning a new recipe can be more fun if you try to do it by yourself. For one, you’ll be able to save yourself from the primary embarrassment of making a mistake, like overcooking rice or something. You’ll also be able to experiment on new recipes without being disturbed by others.

Read a book
Being able to read in complete silence without hearing other people’s noises can give you quite a wonderful time. On the flip side, you could also read out loud as if you were narrating the story yourself. Not only is it fun to put your own twist to the voices of the characters, you’re also giving your mind some exercise because you’re not only using your eyes this time, but also your mouth and ears.

When there’s nobody else with you, of course you won’t be disturbing anyone if you put your favorite music on full blast (but consider your neighbors!). You can easily go and dance around the house to your favorite dance songs without worrying about being judged. Why will it matter if you’re a bit bad at dancing if there’s no one else to see?

Hit the karaoke
The thing about KTV is that it can be enjoyed individually just as much as with a group. Whether you’re a little embarrassed with your voice, or you just prefer going solo, go ahead and sing your heart out to Jay Chou’s and/or Stefanie Sun’s songs!

Go window-shopping
It’s no question that the malls around Singapore are quite known. So much so that shopping is even considered a hobby by many. Even if you don’t have much money, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the malls and have a little fun.

Visit a museum
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Singapore, then there’s no better place than the National Museum of Singapore itself. Both the History and Living galleries are incredible sights to see.

Take a hike
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Fort Canning Park, Pulau Ubin, and MacRitchie Reservoir are among the many parks and nature trails in Singapore. Taking a hike and having a date with nature can give you a time for stress relief and relaxation, hence making you calmer and keeping your mind fresh.

Try a new form of physical exercise
Cycling and jogging or common ways to exercise. Give yourself a challenge and try something new. Go gym climbing, boxing, fencing, swimming and etc. You never know, you might find a physical hobby that you’ll actually enjoy.

4 Crucial Tips for Turning Broken China from Trash to Treasure

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Can you turn something broken into something beautiful?

With the right inspiration, safety measures, and materials, the answer is most definitely yes!

So don’t weep and throw away your broken china just yet – while it may be too expensive to have them repaired by a professional, you can definitely make them into something new entirely.

Here are four crucial tips for doing exactly that:

1. Safety first!
Make sure you have the proper safety equipment and procedure when handling broken porcelain to avoid accidentally cutting yourself or anyone who might come across them.

Ideally, you want to handle this type of re-purposing by using thick gloves to hold the china pieces, and if you’ve just broken a plate or two, be sure to vacuum up the area after sorting out the pieces.

This way, you get rid of the tiny debris that could hurt anyone, and you’re free to move onto your re-purposing project.

2. Sand down the edges.
Start with a rough-grit sandpaper for the sharp edges of broken porcelain, and then work your way towards a finger-grit to smooth them out completely.

By doing this, you make sure that no one cuts themselves accidentally over any broken pieces that you want to use, and especially the ones you don’t. It also works well if you find a broken piece that you really like by itself, which you can repurpose for a pendant or a mosaic in a multi-media piece.

3. Use the pieces from different wares.
Don’t feel limited by the dishes you break. In fact, as long as the original chinaware dishes are similar in size, you can use pieces from different chinaware to give your project a more colorful flair.

You can also do more than simply re-create former dishes – use the opportunity instead to make something completely new out of the broken pieces.

There are all kinds of things that you can make by applying just the right amount of plaster or grout, such as new vases, flower pots, and even set mosaic pieces that you can display on your living room or indoor garden. You can even make pendants out of the broken chinaware pieces!

4. Use broken china to upcycle!
You can add broken pieces to almost anything, from tin cans to even flower pots. Simply take the broken pieces and arrange them on top of the item you want to up-cycle before gluing them carefully.

The result is a new piece, whether it’s a tin can or a plain old flower pot. Not only will it work great as decoration, but you can even turn it into a hobby or a small business.

Why Should We Dance?

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The richness of dance in Singapore can be credited to its diversity in culture. There is a wide range of dancing forms and genres appreciated around its culture. Before, traditional dance was at the peak. Then ballet was also initiated by the government. In the recent years, even hip-hop groups have also competed internationally to represent Singapore. This simply shows that dancing can be a wonderful part of life, for the young and old, local or foreigner, stranger or friend.

To express
Because movement is an important measure for us to express ourselves, dancing is one of the most pleasing ways to express our emotions and feelings. Dancing slowly in the arms of your lover and looking into each other’s eyes can be an expression of how strong you feel and how much you love each other. In dancing, the ones who dance are also not the only ones who express their emotions. Dance crews that show synchronized movements and incredible flips can excite and invite enthusiasm from the people watching.

To form and strengthen relationships
Families and friends can become, strangers can become friends, groups can compete. The dance floor is definitely a place to build bonds and relationships. Dancing is an avenue for people to come together in a fun and energetic environment, regardless of race, age, or background. Dance crews and ballet dancers, both specially, build lasting relationships and memories with their peers. They spend long hours together in practice and on the stage, share moments of both victory and defeat. Those experiences create ties between people even with their similarities and differences.

A good workout
Dancing can obviously be a great workout. It is good for our heart, lungs, bones, and it works so many muscles in the body. It gets our blood pumping and improves our mood. The use of quick steps, turns, and movements can train our muscles and joints helping us move better even in simple daily tasks. Overall, it can improve our strength, stamina, coordination, balance, and flexibility. You will also learn to recognize and be aware of the physical aspect and your control over your own body. Enabling you to recognize yourself better.

For the young and old alike
Different generations, of course, would appreciate different forms of dancing. And dancing is a great way to stay fit for people of all ages. Line dancing, for example, can be particularly popular with some aunties and uncles in Singapore. Sometimes there are even younger people who go with their parents or grandparents to dance. Hip hop and ballet are also still popular with teens and young adults. You would notice that even young children sway their hips and bounce to the music.

Ways to Fight Against Memory Loss

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Everyone can experience a little memory loss especially as we age. But if it happens too often, it can imply a more severe problem- the risk of dementia. With Singapore’s ageing population, the possibility of dementia can become more and more apparent. Although this is the case and there is no guarantee of actually preventing memory loss, there are still things that we can do to keep our brain sharp and healthy.

Exercise daily
Exercising helps to improve blood flow in the brain and increase the formation of new brain cells. In fact, physical exercise best exhibits protection of memory and brain function. If you have not been exercising or stopped exercising for a while, you can start by taking walks. Walking for 30 minutes daily can be good enough of a workout that can benefit both the body and the brain. Take a walk or even jog around in MacRitchie Reservoir Park or Marina Bay Waterfront and just enjoy!

Give the brain a workout
Just like how physical exercise can help our body, giving our minds a workout can also favor our memory. Learning a new language, practicing a musical instrument, reading a book, and doing puzzles are only some of the many ways we can give our brain an exercise to keep it sharp and healthy. Any mentally challenging activity can keep our brain in shape and keep a keen memory.

Manage stress
Keeping calm and finding ways to relax has a big impact when it comes to storing and retrieving information. Meditation, massage, or any form of relaxation can help keep stress and anxiety at bay. Having high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can impair memory as it negatively affects our memory centers giving our brain a harder time to retrieve information.

Have a good quality sleep
When we sleep, we give our brain much needed rest to keep it sharp and fresh. Simply having enough sleep can help strengthen our memory. When we are restless, our concentration and attention will reach their limits. This can affect our memory as both concentration and attention are crucial factors when storing new information, or information we would otherwise like to keep in our memory.

Interact with others
Social interaction helps protects us against depression, anxiety, and stress, which all contribute to memory loss. So, go shopping with your friends at Orchard Road, hang out at Holland V, or experience the nightlife in Clarke Quay. Being engaged with others can stimulate the brain and keeps it sharp. This is because when we talk to others, we have to think about how to respond, hence keeping our brains active. The more connections we have, the better we can be at keeping our brain and memory healthy.

The Basics of Fragrances

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Most of us wear perfumes almost everyday, but do you know where the scent comes from and how it was made?

How Fragrances are Made
A lot of fragrances today have synthetic ingredients, but flowers are the most essential on the list. You can liken the importance of flowers in creating fragrances to the importance of grapes in making different types of wine. The species of the flower, season, climate and soil, and the amount used will decide the outcome of the scent. Two of the most important flowers used are rose and jasmine, and there are techniques in harvesting the flowers at the right season and at the right time of the day.

Once the flowers are harvested, the extraction of the oils begins right after the flowers are picked so that they don’t lose the oil. The flowers are placed in trays and immersed in solvent so that floral wax can be obtained. The fatty oils are separated from the essential oils to create an absolute, which is the main ingredient needed to make perfume. Another way to extract oils is through the distillation process, but this method leaves some of the aroma of the flowers.

Not all flowers can produce essential oils, that is why synthetic products are required as replacement for the intended scent. Some fragrances also contain animal products for fixatives so that the scent does not evaporate too quickly once the bottle is opened and to make the scent last longer. Two other important ingredients are water and alcohol, which are used to dilute the ingredients. The ratio of the essential oils to alcohol determines the type of fragrance. It could be parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.

Types of Fragrances
All scents can be classified into four major families, regardless if it’s a designer or a niche fragrance. Floral notes consist of floral, fruity, soft floral, and floral oriental. Oriental notes are made up of woody oriental, soft oriental, oriental, and woods. Woody notes consist of woods, mossy woods, dry woods, and aromatic. While fresh notes are made up of citrus, water, green, and fruity.

When you spray the fragrance on your skin, it goes through a three-part life cycle. The cycle determines the scent that will come out once the perfume starts to evaporate or interact with your body. The top note lasts for up to 2 hours and has a light smell right after the application. The medium note, sometimes called heart note, is the main scent of the fragrance that lasts for about 5 hours. The base note is a bold scent that you will detect after 5 hours and determines how long the fragrance will last on your skin.

When choosing fragrances, you can pick either from designer fragrances, which are commonly sold in stores and are mass produced, or niche fragrances on the other hand, which are more expensive than designer fragrances and are created by independent artists. The latter are usually made from higher quality ingredients are have bolder scents.

5 Ways to Increase Your English Vocabulary

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Needless to say, English is indeed the universal language. Regardless of your place of origin, it is a must to learn and speak the language to stay competitive globally. The world is changing, not only in languages, trading and economics. There are new words in the dictionary that were originally slang but are now accepted in the dictionary.

Here are five tips to increase your vocabulary and to keep up with conversations with people from all over the world:

1. Be a Bookworm
No matter how busy you seem to be, it won’t hurt to squeeze in a good read. Most people find reading relaxing and this might even do well for your vocabulary growth. Whether you’re in line waiting for your turn to pay or in the few minutes before a meeting starts, it may be a productive form of leisure and entertainment good for your comprehension and vocabulary.

2. Keep a Handy Dictionary
If by chance in your reading you encounter a new word, it’s best to keep a handy dictionary. Most phones cater to a dictionary app, so it’s convenient for us who live in this day and age. You can check as soon as possible any foreign word you may encounter, as well as its pronunciation.

3. Keep a Diary
Writing in a diary or a journal relieves you of anxieties, keeps tracks of your activities and schedules as well as makes records of people, places and events in your life. With this, you can play with words, chance to express your predicaments and make statements that would emphasize how you felt during said events or activities. Not to mention improving your choice of words as well.

4. Use a new word a day
With each new word you come to learn each day, try to look for chances where you can correctly and appropriately use such word. You may write emails to far distanced friends even for people at work as long as it’s appropriate. As they say, write as you would say it. So use big words sparingly.

5. Be Sociable
Talk to people. Both introverts and extroverts can use some handy new words. Whether you’re conversing on a variety of topics such as current events, economy, academe, politics and the others, you’ll find your vocabulary fully utilized as you go about in your socialization. Not only did you gain more connections in your network, you also exercised our valuable universal language.

No matter what profession we may be in, the medium with which we communicate plays a vital role in its success. A small breach in the communication process can be costly if not detrimental. How we relay the message is just as important as the message itself.

The Different Types of Coffee Beans, Roasts, and How to Store Them

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Before the beans end up as that familiar drink that you enjoy, they start off as berries on plants grown in different altitudes, soil acidity, and climates, depending on their variety. The berries don’t mature at the same time and are picked by hand.

Once the berries are harvested, they are often left to dry under the sun and raked regularly to prevent mold and mildew. Machines are then used to remove the beans’ husks before the beans are sent to another machine to remove any remaining skin.

Once only the beans remain, they are sorted and graded by size and weight before checked for imperfections. The beans that pass inspection are then marked and exported.

Common Coffee Bean Varieties
Though there are many different varieties grown all over the world, the two most common varieties that make up most of international demand in both industries and businesses are the following:

• Arabica – Sometimes called “gourmet coffee,” Arabica contains half the amount of caffeine found in Robusta and has a more pronounced flavor and aroma. Its name differs depending on the region it is grown.

• Robusta – Typically grown at elevations lower than those required by Arabica, Robusta earned its name for being less demanding when it comes to growing and maintaining, and has a higher amount of caffeine than the former.

While Arabica is used for more high-end consumption, it is the most common type of coffee sold all over the world, while Robusta is often used in instant coffee packets because of its relatively high caffeine content.

Types of Coffee Roasts
Before a bean is ground into powder and mixed with hot water to yield the caffeine boost everyone needs, it needs to be roasted with dry heat and constant airing. There are at least three major categories when it comes to roasts, varying in color from golden brown to almost black:

• Light – The original flavor of the bean is allowed to shine through when it is lightly roasted, thus giving it the lightest and most delicate flavor with the downside of being more acidic.
• Medium – While light roasts will appear more dry, medium-roasted beans will appear more chocolate brown in terms of appearance, and is characterized by a slightly sweeter flavor with much less acidity.
• Dark – When beans are roasted until their internal sugars start to caramelize and their oils appear to surface, the result is a flavor that is really strong, smoky, and in some cases, even spicy.

Storing Coffee
Aside from roasting, storage also has an impact on the flavor of coffee beans and the cup as a whole. Many external factors can destroy the bean’s flavor, such as oxygen, heat, and even light and moisture. This is why the ideal storage condition for beans is a cool, dry environment away from light and preferably airtight, as coffee can oxidize easily.