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Showing posts from December, 2005

Happy New Year!

Lest you go out in to the world on New Year's Eve and tell everyone that you read Martini Lounge then proceed to forget the words to Auld Lang Syne at midnight, thereby embarrassing yourself, we've faithfully reproduced them here. If nothing else you'll impress a few people in your drunken stupor.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang Syne?
For Auld Lang Syne, My dear,
For Auld Lang Syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne.
Drink a toast to me (if it's a good drink) and I'll see you in 2006!

New Year's Eve: PREPARE THYSELF! (Part Deux: The Hangover)

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Cure for the (not-so) Common Hangover

There are a lot of homegrown cures for Hangovers, but only a few actually work and have scientific fact. In this post, I'll give you some of the ones that work well and without making you swallow a gallon of jalapeno sauce. Stick with these simple solutions and you'll be back to 95% by 2 or 3pm. Not bad!

First: The V8
Probably the best all-around hangover cure is V8. It contains fluids to help rehydrate, potassium to help you balance those fluids, and B vitamins to help you balance enzymes in your blood stream, plus salt to help your system absorb the fluids. Don't buy the low sodium kind.

Spell Banana
Let's not forget the almighty banana. It is loaded with potassium which, again, helps balance your fluids, helps normalize the heartbeat, and sends oxygen to the brain (which will reduce that dizzy feeling you have). Plus it's loaded with needed sugars to replace the one's you hyper-burned thanks to the alcohol.

Bring it Home
If y…

The Ring Thing is Just the Thing

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Lest we at the Martini Lounge become too full of ourselves, we bring you a way to get the attention at your favorite beer swilling party.

The Ring Thing is a handy bottle opener that sits just like any other ring on your finger but has a special purpose (no, not like the Special Purpose in The Jerk).

Talk to a girl, offer to grab her a beer, bring the whole thing back to her and pop this off with your amazing new gadget right in front of her. It may not get you sex, but at least you'll get to spend a few more minutes with her than you normally would have before she completely blows you off.

The Ring Thing [Mango International Website]

New Year's Eve: PREPARE THYSELF!

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The LA Times food section has come out with a great article about Champagne and how it doesn't *have* to suck. It goes nicely in to the history, the different flavors, and the importance of territory. The last being something a lot of people don't think about when they purchase a bottle.

If you want to pick the right Champagne, then you'll need to figure out something about the over 5,000 growers in the region.

Which brings me to my Martini toast idea....

...and truly distinctive Champagnes flow [LA Times]

10 Good Wines Under $10

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Dropping Hamilton's like Aaron Burr? Well, that $10 can you get some decent wines in this story from New York Times.

My favorite on the list is J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône 2001. None of the wines are *great,* but for $8 it's hard to complain.

Who Knew $10 Bill Had Such A Nice Bouquet? [NYTimes.com]

Lime Disease

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Lime Disease is a serious problem affecting thousands of gatherings a year. Poorly cut limes that won't fit in to the mouth opening of your Corona creates havoc at many a get-together leaving party goers unrefreshed, unsatisfied, and unwiling to return to your next shindig.

Fear not! The Corona Lime Slicer is here. Just throw your lime on the tray, use the stainless steel top to push down on it, and voila! 7 slices made to slide nicely in to your imported beer. Apparently it also works with lemons, but that just seems silly. Who would want a lemon in their Corona?

Corona Lime Slicer [Kegworks]

Party Tip: Use Tall Glasses

Well, rather than answer the really hard questions, some people spend their time and money trying to find answers to the easier ones.

A study in the latest British Medical Journal states that people pour 20-30% more alcohol into short glasses than they do in to tall ones that hold the same amount of liquid. They did a study with regular students as well as pro bartenders and pretty much got the same results In fact, pro bartenders averaged 20.5% more alcohol in to the short ones . So getting a drink in a short glass means that 2 drinks is actually equal to 2.5 drinks.

So, if you're going out drinking, order a mixed drink in a short glass (Might I recommend a vodka tonic?). If you're throwing a party, use tall ones.

Yes, The Martini Lounge is not above saving a few bucks on alcohol.

Short glasses more likely to lead to over-indulgence [EurekaAlert]

The Perfect Throne

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Part of a Martini Lounge is creating the perfect environment for your entertainment room or bar. The Nethrone goes a long way in helping you build that perfect getaway.

This ob/gyn looking chair has ergonomic design, a super comfy chair, and a massager built-in for those marathon MMORPG nights. It'll set you back $2500, but can you put a price on your comfort and gaming well-being? I THINK NOT!

Available late Jan - 2006.

The nethrone chair - $2500 [Nethrone.com]
Via Uncrate

Party Bucket with Stand Makes Summer Easy!

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Believe it or not, Summer will be here before you know it. You need to be ready. Prepared even!

Prepare thyself with this great ice bucket and stand that makes grabbing a cold one nice and easy. No more of that pesky "bending over" or "using your arms to open the ice chest." Just fill this sucker with ice, some beers, and you're good to go. It even has easy-to-use bottle holders on the side for an ultimate beer storage experience.

Party Bucket with Stand [Kegworks]

Aging Port and a Damned Fine Blog

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I've always loved Port but never delved in to the understanding of how things work around it. I knew that, just like any good beverage, it probably had it's own designations, shelf life, vintages, etc., but that was good enough for me. More Graham's Six Grapes please.

Sommelier Courtney Cochran dropped me a note informing me of an article that the San Francisco Chronicle ran that covered Port in general as well as some nice specifics. Definitely worth checking out.

Also of note is Courtney's blog which is one of the few out there that is well thought out and doesn't try to take itself as seriously as some of the others. (ie her experiment in trying to get Thunderbird Wine to taste good).

A Wine For The Ages [SF Chronicle Article]
Courtney Cochran [Company Site]

High Price of The Beautiful Life

One of my friends in WeHo brought this article about the high price of a good, stiff drink in LA. With some bars charging as much as $14 for a Grey Goose martini (and $15 for a *well* martini). To wit:
At Katana, the hip eatery on the Sunset Strip, a martini made with Ultimat Vodka runs a cool $18. At the Standard Hotel’s Rooftop bar downtown, a Grey Goose vodka martini rings in at $14, while a classic vodka martini at the venerable Hotel Bel-Air can be had for about $16.Personally, I don't think this bodes well for the longevity of the popularity of the martini. Though people may buy one or even two, their 3rd drink or their generosity to buy the table one may not be extended. Over time, people will not admit that they just cost too much, but will just stop ordering them in favor of something that is a little easier on the wallet, especially considering that you could almost buy your own bottle for the price of some of these. That in itself becomes a justification. When martini…

Briefcase for the Bartender

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I envision myself walking with this briefcase full of bartending goodies whilst wearing a suit, a sharp pair of sunglasses, and blaring "I Go To Work" from Kool Moe Dee. Yeah, I'm smooth like that.

My own self-love aside, this briefcase has all the goodies you'd want to travel with, even the cool little pestle so you can make Grandpa's Old-Fashioned. All the items are packed in foam so your briefcase can be shaken, but not stirred.

Better yet, you can even use it as a real brief case! It has compartments for your cell phone, files, etc.

Once again, coolness is not cheap. This well stocked case will set you back $680.00 but will bring you a lifetime of joy. Especially when you bust it out in the marketing meeting.

Bar Briefcase by Carl Mertens - $680 [Unica]

Medusa Motion Lamp For Your Bar

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Medusa never looked so good with this super funky lamp perfectly designed for that dark corner. It's not only got the bendable lights on it but it also has the super cool lava lamp, perfect for getting the glazed look after a few martinis and just staring for a while. That's a lot of lamp for a cool $24.95. GET YOUR LAMP ON!

Martini Lounge takes no responsibility for loss of brain cells due to extreme brain inactivity caused by this lamp.

Medusa Motion Lamp [Kegworks]

Wine in a can!

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Never has wine been so easy to take tailgaiting! Iron Wine supposedly has a unique packaging that allows wine to stay in the can without its taste being affected.

The varietals come in a Malbec-Cabernet and Chenin Blanc six packs, you know, for easy carrying.

These are made, packaged, and sold in Argentina and I have yet to find someone who sells it here in the U.S. Though they are 5.95 Argentinian Pesos, which translates to about US$1.92. Might give Two-Buck Chuck a run for it's money!

Wine in a can [Iron Wine]

Make Your Own Wine Franchise

Ever wanted to own your own wine room but without all the hassle of actually owning a vineyard, production, distribution, and dealing with pesticides? Well, Rosevine Winery has the opportunity for you.

You can bottle, label, and sell your own wine without the problems and you'll look like a wine pro! The estimated total initial investment is $165,000-$341,000, includine the franchise fee of $35,000 plus 6% of gross sales. Hey, I said it'd be easy, not cheap.

Let's Make Wine [Rosevine Vinyards]

Tap It Times 3!

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Reduce lines at the keg by serving 3 beers at once using the Uber Tap. To add to the ease of use, it uses a foot pump instead of the annoying hand pump to get it's pressurization plus it's designed to reduce foam. So as long as your patrons can stand up, they can pump their own beer, how's that for service?

I'm looking forward to the 3 way keg stands from this.

3 Way Keg Tap [Uber Tap]

Drink, Drank, Drunk Glasses

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Here's a set of two snazzy glasses that let you know just how much you're having or, at the very least, make someone at your house say "How cute!" Which is really what we all want, right?

Drink, Drank, Drunk Glasses [Modern Poverty]

California Wine Vodka

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Drive around Healdsburg and you'll find scores of vineyards and tasting rooms from one of the finest grape growing areas in California, you'll even find a few Brandy Snifting rooms. Now, you'll find Roth Vodka, America's first grape vodka.

Blended from grapes and distlled five times, it has a very clean, slightly sweet taste (as you would expect) but with a bit of the burn you get from some grain vodkas. You'd also expect it to be syrupy but that is not the case at all.

Beverages & More carries it in their stores for about $28.99

Roth Vodka [Company site]
Buy it here [BevMo]

Vodka Shot Cooler Set

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These shot sets keep the shots nice and cold and look great on the bar. Perfect for the "back room" at your party. The thick bottoms help them stand up on their own too.

Bonus Tip: Add salt to the ice cubes in the container in order to keep the drinks exta cold.

7 Piece Glass Vodka Cooler Set [Kegworks]

Lounge & Bowl

The old Bikinis Beach & Dance Club at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas never did very well. They tried the pseudo-exclusivity gag and no one really bought it, so now it's shut down.

Taking it's place is a cool new thought from the hotel that really brought nightlife back to the Vegas scene with it's popular Club Rio. The bowling alley and martini bar. The 12 lane bowling alley will have super luxury seating and a martini bar with an expansive list of gin's and vodka's.

Finally, somewhere to wear my favorite bowling shirt. No word on an opening date.

Girl's Best Vodka

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Blackwood Distillery, the same company that is using vodka to finance whisky, is pushing out a new vodka for you to flash or just for giving to the martini loving girl in your life.

Billed as "The World's Most Glamorous Vodka" Diva is actually filtered, in part, through crushed diamonds and gems. Floating down the middle is a glass tube full of 6.5mm brilliant cut, round cubic zirconias. Use them for drink garnishes or tell her that they're real in order to detract from your time in prison. The options are endless.

Selling price is a little under $60 (£33.75) plus shipping from the UK.

Diva Vodka [Product site]
Blackwood Distillery [Corporate site]
Purchase it here [Drinkon.com]

Grey Goose Cocktail: That'll be $950, Please

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When does a mixture of Grey Goose orange vodka, Dom Perignon champagne, Pama pomegranate liqueur, Hypnotiq cognac, and orange juice cost $950? When there's a 1 carat, grade-A ruby sitting in it.

The Reserve nightclub in Chicago is serving this baby up for anyone who asks (so far, only 3 have). Keep in mind though, if you buy a girl *this* drink and she still doesn't talk to you, she definitely doesn't like you.

Want the drink without the ruby in it? It's still a cool $130 because they have to uncork the Dom (Yet you only get a splash).

Chicago Bar Serves up $950 Cocktail [Yahoo! News]
Reserve Nightclub and Lounge [Site]

AIBar - Automated Bar for the Fuuuuuuture!

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Finally, you can order that frozen lemon drop without feeling bad that it will take the bartender 20 minutes to make.

Well, I don't think this thing goes that far, but the AIBar automates the drink pooring and can hold multiple liquors to make over 1,000 different drinks and mixes them the same everytime. Much like the systems at the casino bars, except this one can fit in your dorm room.

AIBar [site]

The 86 Rules of Boozing

Modern Drunkard Magazine (Yeah, I never heard of them before either) has posted "The 86 Rules of Boozing."

Some of it is common sense, some of it is absolutely perfect. To wit:
15. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she accepts, she still might not like you.
21. Our parents were better drinkers than we are.
58. Fighting an extremely drunk person when you are sober is hilarious.

And the perfect Martini Lounge one:
65. Before you die, single-handedly make one decent martini.

If you're new to drinking or just want to verify your skills, then it's a must-read.

86 Rules of Boozing [Modern Drunkard Magazine]

Marilyn Merlot

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Marilyn Winery started in 1985 by releasing a new vintage of Merlot every year on her birthday (June 1), each with a different picture. This wine doesn't have the taste of a lot of gimmick wines and actually rivals many of the good-tasting value-priced Merlot's.

They now have released The Velvet Collection which has the nude picture of Marilyn that launched Playboy on the bottle. Due to the Great Wine Warehouse Fire of 2005, most of the collection was destroyed, therefore making this extremely popular wine even more collectible (The first edition of the Marilyn Merlot now sells for around $3,500 at auction).

Marilyn Wines [site]
Story via Vinography [blog]

Judge Bork on Original Intent Martinis

Judge Robert Bork [wiki], an ex Supreme Court nominee and advocate of originalism , has a nice treatise on the original intent of martini's. It appeared in the Wall Street Journal, so I can't link it directly, but the important parts have been reproduced on The Clairmont Institute site.

Original Intent Martini's [Clairmont Institute]

Skyy90 Giftset

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Last minute shopping is inevitable, last minute online shopping is a pain in the ass.

Alpha Gear [main page] has a great gift set that gives you the fanastic Skyy90 [company site] bottle with some great martini making accoutrements and they have quick shipping to boot.

Great for the martini loving man or woman that you want to impress.

Skyy90 Martini Set [Alpha]

New Vegas Club Makes Sure You Get Your Vodka.

The latest attempt at a mega club is the $20 Million dollar Seamless Night Club in Las Vegas. Off of The Strip and over by The Orlean's hotel it plans to be a strip club every night until 4am at which point it will roll over into an after hours ultra lounge. It's promoted by Brandon Roque who was the genius behind promoting Ra, Light, and Pure.

Here's where the vodka comes in: For $5k you can become a VIP member. You have your own parking, your own entrance, your own seating, and everytime you show up, you get a bottle of Level Vodka to enjoy with your group. No news on if this is a yearly fee (Like Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay) or if this is a lifetime membership.

The club opens December 17.

Seamless Club [site]
(702) 227-5200.
4740 S. Arville St., Las Vegas, NV [Map]

Best of the Whisky

New York Magazine has come out with a list of their favorite single-malt whiskey's. David “Robbo” Robertson, former master distiller of the Macallan led three of the editors through a tasting and came up with some decent results, ranging from a $2000 bottle to a $20 one.

Page 2 even has a short tutorial on how to drink whisky, very handy for the newcomer.

For newcomers, I recommend The Macallan, a great crossover Scotch.

More here [NYMag.com]

Martini:30

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This great clock not only brings out the hipster in the room (Or if you're like me, your office), but it actually TELLS TIME!

This way, you know exactly how long you have until you can "throw one back," as they say in the vernacular.

Martini Clock [Archie McPhee]

Japanese unite with Dutch. World peace ensues.

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The desire to bring more and more unique beverages to the market has created some interesting fusions of libations.

One of the latest is Wasabe Vodka. It's a 75/25 mix of Dutch Vodka and Japanese-made Sake with a special blending tequnique that ensures that the structure of the Sake is unharmed (Maybe they blend it by waterfall).

The drink is supposed to have extremely different tastes at room temperature and when chilled. They also imply that by the fact that it's 70 proof, that it has less of a kick than standard vodka.

More at www.wasabeworld.com

Keep it cold with shot glasses made of ice

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Wikipedia has a tutorial guiding you through a different ways of making your own shot glasses out of ice. I have to imagine that these are signficantly cheaper than even the cheap roadside ones you can get, even at Wall Drug.

Apparently, using Gatorade just doesn't work that well.

Check it out here.

Using Vodka to finance Whiskey

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A good article in the UK Sunday Times about Caroline Whitehead, owner of Blackwood Distillers (Company site). She found fresh new ground in an out-of-the-way place to create a new whiskey but knew that making good whisky takes a lot of time (She won't even be able to sell her new crop until 2009). To finance herself in the mean time, she created a vodka, a vodka cream, and a gin to sell immediately.

The vodka even has a cool label that changes color when chilled to the proper temperature. Hey, they're are a lot of vodka's out there, a little gimmick doesn't hurt. They also make a super yummy apertif named Jago.

Stay sober now! Ask me how!

After searching for "martini" on del.icio.us, I found this post with a recipe for drinking all the vodka you want without getting drunk. Though, in theory, it looks like it could work, I haven't had a chance to test it yet. It looks too close to the formula for passing gallstones for my comfort.

Let me know if it works for you.

Just like Rachel Raye, except for wine.

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Andrea Immer is doing for wine what Rachel Raye did for the amateur chef in 30 minutes.

Her mission has been to bring wine to the masses without the snobbery and annoying jargon that is often associated with viticulture. Seriously, how the hell can a wine be precocious?

She's a Master Sommelier, has multiple books and DVD's out, and even walks the walk by consulting for Target Stores. (Box wine is the new thing apparently. Don't laugh, some of it is good.).

Check her out more at www.andreaimmer.com

I thought I ordered a large?

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On certain occassions one martini just isn't enough. Or is it?

This gorgeous 8" tall glass has an 8" mouth and solves the problem of having more than one martini, but still getting enough martini to come away satisifed. To make it even more appealing, right now they're on sale.

Now when your significant other asks how many you've had, you can say, "One" and not be lying.

Get the 30 ounce beast here.

Update! Here's an even bigger one! Perfect for chilling your vodka (and getting the nod of appreciation from the special guest).

Review: Lounge at Six Seven (Seattle)

One of the better lounge spots in Seattle is the Lounge at Six Seven inside The Edgewater hotel. It has fantastic views of the bay, good food, and a 10 Martini menu that's sure to please.

The Washington Post's Kim O'Donnel reviewed it recently here. Be sure to check it out if you're in Seattle or heading that way. Even if you don't love martini's, the views here are alone worth the price of a drink.

Stand-out martini glasses

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When even the local brewpub can serve up a good martini and the church minister has his own set of martini glasses, how does one stand out and let everyone know they're living The Beautiful Life?

These glasses make it so that the warmth of your hand doesn't spread to the coveted crystal-cold martini. Bonus: Because it's elevated, no coaster is required.

Get them at Velocity Art

Top 100 Wines of 2005

The San Francisco Chronicle (the only daily newspaper with a daily wine section) piped in with their top 100 wines of 2005. One of the more notable items are the amount of Pinot's coming from Monterey now (9 of the top 25). Must be something in the artichokes there.

Top 100 Wines of 2005

Wine and food pairing

I stumbled across this site today that gives a handy list of wines from lightest to heaviest as well as makes an excellent point about pairing: You will probably drink most of the wine without the food, so get a bottle that you know you like by itself and don't worry too much about the pairing.

Nevertheless, get the full list here.

Would you like to kiss me on the veranda? (On the lips would be fine)

The Beautiful Life brings you yet another value, this time from our friends over at The Wine Buyer (And whoever has the wine is often our friend).

Right now they have a Bodegas LanRioja Edicion Limitada, a fanastic Spanish wine that reminds you of the evening summer breeze on the island of Ibiza, that is if you have that memory, if not, think about a breeze you really liked and use that one.

The Wine Spectator (review) likes this one at 95 points and shows the list as $45. Wine Buyer is selling it for $34.89. If this is an expensive bottle for you, get 2 or 3, they're worth your special occassions.

Get it here.

Making do with a decent Vodka

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Sometimes we have to take some things that are merely "pretty" and make The Beautiful Life out of them.

Black Sea vodka is made in Talinn, Lithuana, is a 100% grain vodka, and sells for around $13.99, most commonly at Trader Joe's. This is an excellent, value vodka for drinks such as vodka-tonics or vodka and soda or most other drinks that require a "well" vodka. Not traditionally a martini vodka.

But here's where we make it Beautiful.

As a purveyor of The Beautiful Life you probably have (or need to get) Martini Bianco Vermouth and a Vermouth Sprayer. Take your Black Sea vodka, shake very well with plenty of ice, then pour. Spray on the Bianco and you have an excellent martini-in-a-pinch. Glorious.

Absolut trots out some drink recipes

I'm not a fan of the Absolut, but they've brought out three new recipes in collaboration with lifestyle guru, B. Smith. She's sponsored by the likes of Betty Crocker and Palmolive, so her connection to "hip" is suspect, but The Beautiful Life is always about finding the new drinks.
ABSOLUT® VODKA and renowned restaurateur and lifestyle expert B. Smith have teamed up to create three stylish and palate-pleasing holiday recipes, aimed at making the holidays that much more “entertaining.” The style diva will create two drink and one food recipe for the premium vodka company. The three recipes will make entertaining easy for pros and novices alike, and will be available in time for the holidays at www.bsmith.com. Press release here
See the recipes at bsmith.com
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Target has started to sell these mini-stand-up arcade machines that features your favorite old Midway games such as Robotron, Sinistar, Rampage, and 9 others. Basically everything that is on the Midway Arcade Classics game for PS2 and XBox.

The screen is a tiny 14" and if you're any measure of tall, your back will snap before you actually play all the games, but it's not a bad addition to your rec room for $397.

More info here
But it at Target.com

Order now!

Website Dealhack has made a handy list of deadline dates for online ordering of those loved Christmas gifts. It also has a quick list of places you can get eCertificates from if you're too slow.

Don't forget about some of the options that some online stores give to give you in-store pickup.

Full list at Dealhack

via lifehacker

Vinyl to MP3 Easy

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Finally you can take that all that old vinyl sitting around your house (or if you're like me, new vinyl) and easily get it on to your computer in MP3 format, without all the issues of going through your sound card.

The Ion supports any computer that accepts USB sound card input and even has high-speed recording and pitch control. For $139 it may be the last, new turntable you get.

Read about it in Bios Magazine
Buy it at Amazon.com

Red Light District

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I must be getting older.

For some reason, this lamp reminds me of the tacky leg lamp that Mr. Parker won in a contest in A Christmas Story and insisted (much to Mom's chagrin) that he put it right in the window.

Yet I am compelled to get this lamp for my bar/rec room. It's a must have for every martini man/boozer.

Get it yourself here.

Hard Rock Hotel Rocks San Diego

Despite it's varying party conditions, San Diego has kept the Gaslamp Quarter alive and well and one of the friendlier party areas in the U.S. When the crowds are there, they are a blast and the weather keeps the partying in the streets going long after a lot of other towns.

Now, the Hard Rock Hotel is going to put a 420 [sic] for-sale, luxury rooms and suites in the popular downtown at 5th and L (map). Starting price for a purchase is a cool $400k.

Running the lounges and bars will be the ultra-cool After Midnight Co.

Read more here.

The perfect glass

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Lest we forget why we're here, this glass makes it two times the fun.

Pity that we can only use one at a time.

Karim Rashid designed these in 2004 for MOMA to celebrate their 75th. Check 'em out here

Martini LED Lamp

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Chiasso has the perfect accessory for the top of your bar. The LED Martini sculpture. The sticks pop in and out and light up while inside the glass.

Got more tips on Martini Culture? Send them to abeautifulmartini@gmail.com

Welcome

A new blog about style, culture, and drinks. But mostly drinks.