Of all lifeâ€™s great biological functions, the act of fermentation must rank number one. Sure, fornicationâ€™s a close contender, but the by-products of fermentation are not only legion and most useful, they are also the instigator for many biological functions, like what happens between the sheets (for you old-fashioned types) or in chatrooms (for you mods).
I salute fermentation because it is the act of creation that springs into life all those pretty bottles with their pretty labels in the hands of the pretty waitresses. My fat grin after a few sips of fine liquor doesnâ€™t come from nothing, it is the by-product of some serious effort on the part of a whole bunch of crazy yeasts, all partying on like thereâ€™s no tomorrow.
And for yeasts there is no tomorrow â€“ since they sacrifice themselves in the process of bringing us a noble alcoholic beverage and a buzz in the head. A little explanation may be in order. Alcohol is created in the process of the yeasts gobbling up sugars and wildly procreating until the rising alcohol levels and dipping sugar levels eventually kill them all off. What a life: one big party with loads of sex, and then death by boozing. Sounds like the life of countless Hollywood stars. Which makes them like yeasts. Which makes you think.
Anyway, I donâ€™t plan to go the way of the yeast, because I have to be ever-vigilant and monitor the work theyâ€™re doing. Actually, thatâ€™s more the role of wine-makers, brewers and stillers, in effect all they are doing is checking up on the work done by millions of yeast cells. They are custodians of yeast. Seems strange that they get the big bucks. (But then again, Trevor Manuel is the custodian of bread, another yeast invention, and he also gets big ones).
By the time you and I come along to check up on matters, the yeasts have long gone the way of Elvis. It is their noble work that we find, the drinks like the Mayan temples and pyramids of a former civilisation. So I salute them, the hard little workers that they are. I am paying homage, for you see, for The Thirsty Man isnâ€™t going to be reporting from the coalface anymore. I believe I have led you to the water; the rest is up to you.
So a toast to the yeasts, a toast to fermentation and a swig of Astral Gateway:
Put into a tall glass, with ice: two shots vodka, one shot Blue Curacao and a dash of lemon juice. Fill glass with ginger ale. Drink. Listen for the call of the yeasties.