Rachael Ray road test: Can you really add salt to cheap beer?

Is there any way to spruce up cheap hooch so that your guests are fooled into thinking they’re drinking top-shelf? Every Day with Rachael Ray suggests adding a dash of salt to improve the flavor of cheap brew and serving it in glasses. (Maybe you should start by pouring a case into pretty glass pitchers before the guests arrive so nobody spots the empties?) We’ve seen some old timers add salt too. It makes sense in theory: salt makes everything taste better, so why not beer? So we tried it. We picked up a sixer of Schlitz and found that a few shakes forced every last bit of fizz to the top, which quickly flattened the brew. It also cut the acidity a bit, but basically the beer just tasted… saltier. It was better, but serving salted Schlitz at a party will not fool anyone into thinking it’s Spaten Oktoberfest.

The mag also suggests running cheap vodka through a Brita filter. A liter of Fleischmann’s is about as fiery a concoction as was ever distilled, and four runs through a Brita filter noticeably cuts the harshness. In fact, some distillers (Jack Daniel’s in particular) filter their product through activated charcoal (Brita’s main ingredient) before bottling; they call the process charcoal mellowing.

But is it safe? Brita filters are simply not meant to handle alcohol, so who knows what is leeching into your gimlet. A better bet: buy an activated charcoal filter at a supply shop like www.Brewhaus.com for $6.50 and process it yourself.

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