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Showing posts from January, 2006

A toast

I've got a new baby. Tip your glass to her when you get a chance. More posts to return Wednesday.

Vodka is vodka is vokda is wrong

The Marin Independent Journal is a good little newspaper for the most part. I have friends over there and it runs pretty well for a small-time newspaper. I don't know Jeff Burkhart who wrote the article "Barfly: What's in your 'water of life'" but if I did I'd probably have to give him a call.

The take-home of the article is that the extra $2 for a premium vodka may not be worth it due to the fact that all vodkas get to 190 proof before being blended with water to bring it back to 80 proof. The argument is that at 190 proof, all alcohols become chemically indistinguishable regardless of their origin: potato, grain, etc. He then adds that just because they add water after that, the tastes between a $1 shot of Vodka of the Gods and the $8 shot of Precis should taste exactly the same, so why spend the extra money?

The article does a great job of going in to the chemistry and history of vodka, then stops abruptly. It looks like it was written by two peopl…

10 tips to being a better wine buyer

The Chicago Tribune has an article with some important thoughts about how someone can be a better wine buyer.

The best rule that most authors seem to forget to include?
10. Above all else, always remember that the wine isn't a bargain if you don't like it.

Read on, young wine drinker...

10 tips to being a better wine buyer [Chicago Tribune]

Rosie, Get Me A Beer

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Is there any greater use of technology than this? Fighting cancer is so time-consuming. Ending hunger is just unrealistic. Serve man a beer? That's not only possible, but necessary.

Asahi is giving away 5,000 of their robot bartenders as a promotion with a bunch of beer to boot. The ro-bot's body is a refrigerator that can hold a six-pack. Pop the beer in the little holder and it picks up the beer, cracks it open, tilts the glass, and pours the beer with a perfect head every time.

Unless your IP ends in a .jp, you won't be getting this one, though. I'm sure they'll be up on eBay for way too much soon.

Asahi Brewery [Company Site]

Only Hot Girls Can Park My Car

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I've gone to bars in LA and dropped off my car (A '72 Pinto with bald tires and one brown door) with valets many time. Not so long ago I handed the keys to the vehicle I lovingly call "The Sugarland Express" over to a complete hottie. I was immediately concerned because I thought some random girl thought she was hot enough to just walk up and take my car on a joyride through the streets of LA.

It turns out, she was the valet and part of the company "Valet Girls" who send out their girls for special promotions. A lot of the girls do the work because they hope they might get discovered by some big shot producer parking his car. Based on the club I was going in to, there was a good possibility of that happening, if she wanted to get in to porn.

They're opening up a new franchise for San Diego and I expect the idea has good promise in a lot of cities. Well, depending on how cold a city gets...

Valet Girls put some sizzle in those seats [San Diego Union T…

Kravitz Kool

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Absolut vodka has launched Absolut Kravitz. Lenny has switched from having us rock out to putting his smooth voice to groovy dance tracks and he's created a cross-promotion with Absolut for a free download of one of the first songs on his new album.

Breathe is the name of the track and we've been playing it over and over here in the office. Definitely a nice transition by Mr. Kravitz. Yes, we'll go his way.

The song is downloadable in MP3 format, so no crappy DRM shenanigans. That's right, we said it. Shenanigans.

Absolut Kravitz [Product Site]

Drinking and driving

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In order to promote the concept of just how smooth a martini with plenty of vermouth can taste while driving 200 miles an hour, Martini (the company) has signed on as a sponser for the new 248 F1 Ferrari on the Formula One circuit.

The normally dominant Ferrari got their collective asses handed to them in the 2005 season despite having Hall of Fame bound drive Michael Shumacher.

Hopefully we'll see a giant martini being drunk by the 1st place winner at the end of a race soon.

Martini used to have one of the best Spirits websites on the web, but it has gotten somewhat cliche since the re-design. Just thought we'd mention that.

Ferrari launch their new '248 F1' [Story]

More Mini's

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Along the vein of making your alcohol easier to consume and carry with you, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte has come out with mini-bottles of Non-Vintage Brut and Brut Rose. The bottles are called One Fo(u)r and will sell for $9.99 and $12.99 respectively.

Both will be available in wine shops, bars, and nightclubs nationwide in Spring 2006.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte [Company Site]
Via Bottlewatch

Pushing Young People to Drink

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One of the more annoying things about most wine bloggers is that a lot of the writers think they "get it" and they're "down to earth" yet rant on with articles that show just how little they understand of the market they're trying to reach. Fermentation is an excellent example of this whereas Uncorked is not. (Note: Fermentation, however, IS a good source of information. Just important to take it with a grain of salt.)

Mark Fisher writes well, keeps it interesting, and doesn't rant over and over again on certain subjects that most of us don't really care about. Maybe it's because he's not based in Northern California and has to write for an audience that is still warming up to the wine idea. (Full disclosure: Martini Lounge is based in NoCal).

One of his latest articles goes in to how companies view the young market and exactly how they like to push their products. He talks about his experience with a company named ShotLuge (Pictured)…

Bit o' the Whisky

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Whisky's are a tricky thing. Even the most avid whisky drinkers can balk at some 18 year old that everyone is supposed to love. Chivas has solved part of the problem by letting you have 7oz of their 18 year old Chivas Regal for a sample.

A regular sized bottle will normally set you back $120, a hefty price for a whisky you may not have had before. The mini will run about $30 and is going to be sold in airports around the world. Now you can finally join the mile-high club with an 18 year old.

Chivas Regal [Company Site]
via The Moodie Report

Urinal Advertising

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The next time you stumble in to a urinal at your favorite watering hole, you may be fairly surprised by what happens once you start releasing the tap.

Wizmark (pun intended) has an electronic display that goes in the bottom of urinals that activates once the heat of your urine hits it. It can do thinks like light up or even activate a voice recording that pimps the product.

Could be awkward if the guy next to you doesn't have a voice one in *his* urinal and then yours goes off. Try to explain that one.

Wizmark Interactive Urinal Communicator [Product Site]

It's the end of beer as we know it (And I feel fine)

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According to beer companies, beer's not doing so well. Though we think it's not because people are buying less beer, their just spreading around their dollars between beer companies. Rather than buy an MGD or Budweiser, they're buying a local microbew.

But people who know these things say we're wrong and have written an article all about it. It includes a campaign to bring beer back in to the limelight and convince us that it has every bit as much of a place in a romantic setting as wine does.

We don't expect we'll ever be able to pass off a good beer on tap in place of a bottle of Duckhorn on a first date, but it certainly sounds like a nice idea.

What, no beer runs and bikini models? [CNN/Money]

Chillin' at the Holiday Inn

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Hotel bars have changed a lot over the past 5 years. The once barren wastelands of company and music have turned in to just the opposite. Great bars inside hotels such as the W hotel chain play good background music, have good crowds, and are a nice alternative to clubs or stand-alone bars.

A Phoenix paper has an article about the growing popularity of hotel bars and their associated $12 martini's.

What do you think? Are hotel bars the new place to be?

Hotel bars provide mature alternative [East Valley Tribune]

Organize your wine with bar codes

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Okay, not everyone has a "wine collection." For the longest time mine only consisted of a small rack of wines that I knew I would be drinking in the next week or, at most, a few months.

For those of you that have more significant collections though keeping track isn't always easy. I've had a few friends who found a bottle that they knew they should have opened a few years ago finally see it in their rack and remember why they put it there.

Intelliscanner has solved this problem with a complete wine collection solution that includes a scanner and tracking software.

You can scan your bottle's bar code and it then will match wines in their 62,000 wine database, so you only have to scan it, download the scan to your computer, and the software connects to the Internet to auto-fill in all the information in the software. Very easy.

The scanner has two options, tethered or untethered with a 500 scan memory (via Bluetooth). The tethered system sells for $199 and the wi…

Espresso Vodka

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Van Gogh is adding to their aresenal of flavored vodkas by offering up a double espresso vodka that is another example of the industry turning you in to a wide-awake drunk. I guess if you're awake you'll buy more alcohol. It's win/win.

A single shot of this stuff is equal to 3 shots of espresso yet it still has the same alcohol content as other vodkas (70 Proof). It has a Jagermeister color to it in order to convince you just how espresso-like it is.

It's priced the same as regular Van Gogh too at about $30 a bottle (750ml).

Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka [Company Site]
Found via Luxist

4:20 Vodka

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Considering how most pasttimes are inundated with products now, it's only natural to start seeing more and more crossover between those pasttimes. Bong Spirit Vodka is no exception.

Oh, if you can't tell *which* two pasttimes are being combined here, you may want to just go ahead and skip past this entry.

Bong Spirit is made in Holland and curiously, is filtered through sheet, candle, and charcoal filtration. If you like your vodka's crisp, this is going to be the one for you.

It's currently only available in Florida but is expected to be widely available by end of 2006.

No word yet on if it makes you giggle, gives you the munchies, or can be made in to brownies.

Bong Spirit Vodka [Company Site]

Polar Pitcher Keeps It Cold

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This 60 oz pitcher let's you put ice in the middle chamber and then pour your beverage into the outer part for a long-lasting, cool drink.

It's plastic, it's useful, it keeps things cool. It may just save the world.

Polar Pitcher - $19.95 [Kegworks]

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Vertical Box Set

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Finding a tasty wine that you can enjoy for under $30 is all well and good, but there are often reasons that a bottle that is much more expensive is worth it. Yeah, those inexpensive ones are "nice" or "good" but pull out a bottle of $100 Silver Oak or this Rotchshild and you realize what you're missing.

Costco is selling bottles of 3 vintages from the fabled Chateau Mouton Rothschild winery in the Bordeaux region of France for $869.99. Though you could drink them right away and get every pennies worth of value from them, you'll be well off to let them sit for a while, depending on their storage conditions and such. You may want to talk to your local wine shop about the best time to open.

One of the bottles breaks away from the paper label tradition and has a gold-etched ram on it, making it that much more of a collectors item.

They can only ship to California, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and West Virginia addresses but you can usually work out a sh…

SF Chronicle Best Of

The San Francisco Chronicle is the only newspaper in America that has a daily wine section. They also have some excellent reviews and info on the industry as a whole. It's easily one of the better resources out there for wine information.

That being said, they have come out with their 2006 Wine Competition winners. They had 55 people try over 3,500 wines and came back with some great results.

They did a great sampling and clearly weren't going for snob appeal just by the fact their white winner was a $16 bottle from Windsor wineries (which I just love).

If you're in the SF area, they are doing a public tasting at Fort Mason on Feb. 25.

Best of Class [SFGate.com]

Four(play)

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The guys over at Four were nice enough to send us a picture of this extremely hot girl drinking their beverage. If there's a better way of getting us to post on your product than an extremely hot girl holding it in their hand, then I don't know of it. Well, maybe if they sent the hot girl to us to deliver the product. Yeah, that would be better.

Four is the latest caffienated, malt-based beverage to hit the market. It has all the usual energy ingredients in it like Guarana, Taurine, and caffiene, but it also has a little extra kick.

The final ingredient is Wormwood. That's right, the main ingredient in everyone's favorite green fairy, Absinthe. Though I have high expectations of Four not making anyone go blind or driving them insane like the Absinthe of old could. There's just not a market for drinks that do that anymore.

However, this is a market for drinks that get you drunk, keep you awake, and increase your sex drive.

Four also comes in a hefty 16oz can and…

Cocktail Essences - Herb Infused Flavoring

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As the market for premium alcohols starts to get more and more flooded, plenty of companies are taking advantage of trying to offer the perfect side dish to compliment them.

The new Essences line of infused flavorings include 60 Petals Rose Martini, Hillside Lavender Martini, Summer Basil Martini, and Mediterranean Rosemary Martini, sold in 12 fl. oz. glass bottles featuring a cork-like closure.

The company site even has a few recipes for review, though 3 recipes per drink isn't really enough to get me interested. The bottles sell for around $14.99 each.

Essences [Stirrings.com]

Live from Las Vegas

Not many posts this week due to our arrival in Las Vegas for serious market research. So far, we've had drinks with Aerosmith, drinks with the winner of a pole dancing contest, and drinks by ourselves at the terrible iBar. More to come.

Alcoholic Energy Drink

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Okay, it's about time someone figured out that it would be better to just go ahead and package the energy drink and alcohol together rather than always make people go through the trouble of mixing it.

It's like the new Ricochet drink is poised to give people even better access to being the wide-awake drunk they've always wanted to be. It's got all the goodies you'd expect in an energy drink plus it measures 6% in alcohol. It also has that tangy citrus flavor you've been dying to ingest.

It's available at Albertson's et al (Osco's, Shaw's, Sav-On, etc) and you should see it in their stores starting this month.

Enter Generic Post Update Here

News and items have been slow to come by this week. It's usually the slowest drink week anyway because of the massive collective hangover. Fear not, the football playoffs are coming and are sure to bring about a plethora of new items and products.

There has been a *significant* jump in hits to this blog over the last week, yet no trackbacks are to be found. If you're linking to us, let us know so that we can provide the requisite link back to you for your troubles.

Drop us a line at abeautifulmartini@gmail.com

Wine in the Sky

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Contra Costa Times came out with a story about American Airlines and it's far superior, imo, wine service in Business Class and above. It spends some time talking about the evolution of the service and how it's an overall change from the box wine that most airlines (and some still do) push out.

One of my major takeaways is how different your nose works at 35,000 feet (It doesn't), so you they have to serve wines that have a very bold taste and few subtle flavors.

Though there are some International airlines that do even better by serving an excellent list even in coach (KLM, Virgin, and Japan Air come to mind), American has really stepped up their offering.

Airlines take wine selection sky-high [Contra Costa Times]

Super Cheap Item Alert!

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This barware set is only $4.99 at Target.com right now. It's on clearance so don't expect it to last.

8 Piece Barware Set - $4.99 [Target.com]

Giant Red Wine Stem Cooler

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It's the ultimate conundrum. It's a giant red wine glass but it's made for small, white wine bottles.

It's not made of glass but out of sturdy acrylic and it stands 4 feet tall. This is perfect for that snobby, outdoor wine party you want or for the snobby, outdoor wedding. That's why we're buying two.

Giant Red Wine Stem Cooler - $144.95 [Wine Enthusiast]

Whisky Blind Test

So, Frederik Ramm is no one you know. He's a German who loves his Whisky though and has proven it by doing an exhaustive blind taste test with a buddy. He took great pains in order to do it properly and wrote a significant amount of notes about each one. There are even a few whisky's in there that I haven't had, so it was some good notes.

It all started on a Usenet Newsgroup (still the best source of discussion on the Internet) in which someone made a claim that the older and more expensive single malts were always better. I HEAR A FIGHT A BREWIN!

Our pal Fred (Can I call you Fred?) did a fine job and came out with some great conclusions.

Whisky Blind Test [Remote.org]

Drink A Martini, Get the Munchies

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After lots and lots of court battles all over the world, Cannabis Vodka is readily available in most countries. It's a grain vodka that also happens to have hemp seeds in it which brings to bear the THC that is the active drug in marijuana (The kind you smoke or put in to brownies).

This could be an interesting concept for a drug test. You could conceivably fail a drug test because of the THC in your system, but say you got it from drinking this vodka, which is readily sold and legal in the U.S. I'm no lawyer but I'm sure one will be on this one fairly soon.

The grocery store size of this sells for about $23 plus S&H. Let us know if you drink it and get a bad case of the giggles.

Cannabis Vodka [Really bad company site]
Buy it here [absinth.com]

Top Wines of 2005

Mark Fisher over at the Uncorked Blog put out a list of the best wines from last year. The nice thing about this list is that most of the wines are under $30 and some are under $10.

Pretty good list for the most part, I haven't tried them all, but I like the ones on the list that I have tried. It also has a pretty good sampling from all over the world.

Top Wines of 2005 [Uncorked]

Presidential Wine Club

Our friends over at Luxist had an item today about a Presidential Wine Club. Well, they're not really our friends. We're their friend but they got that restraining order against us, it makes the holidays difficult.

ANYWAY, the wine club is the first of it's kind and is sponsored by Carnival Cruise Lines. So, you get on their big boat (sorry, "ship"), and taste wines throughout the trip. It also includes seminars from experts so you can learn more about viticulture. You can take a look at the schedule from last year's trip here.

Carnival plans to do more of these but, even if you don't take the cruise, we highly recommend joining one or two wine clubs. They are a great way to explore new wines without having to know a lot. We've found quite a few wines that we now drink regularly thanks to wine clubs.

Presidential Wine Club [Site]
Post at Luxist [Luxist.com]

Follow the Martini Rules

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Martini purists have spent quite a bit a time over the last year lambasting the Vodka Martini saying it's unpure and takes a way from a true Martini. Cleveland.com (Yes, Cleveland) has an article about The Proper Martini Rules that brings the Martini back to its roots of a fine Gin and Vermouth (Originally, more Vermouth than Gin).

It finally puts in print what a lot of us have known all along. Shaking a Gin Martini doesn't "bruise" it, but it does make it cloudy, which is a no-no. So, make sure you stir your gin libation.

Oh, and make sure you hold your glass by the stem. We don't want your greasy mitts warming the thing up.

The Proper Martini Rules [Cleveland.com]