Showing posts from March, 2006

Martini Commercial

Here's an Italian commercial with 3 of the greatest things on the planet:

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron's Ass


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Beer of the day - Google Module

Here's another Google Module for your homepage.

You don't need all that news and weather on there, it'll just depress you. I will sum it up for you.

News: The world sucks
Weather: There will be some

Now you have room for this awesome module right on the top of your page.

Beer of the Day Google Modules - []

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Mahali's Sky and Thai Mussels

Over at The Spirit World they may not post a lot, but the posts are damned brilliant. Great matches with drinks you probably haven't tried and even some matching dishes to boot.

The latest post is no exception and just too good to pass up. Mahali's Sky (named after a giraffe) and Thai Mussels, I can't think of a more perfect fit of drink and food. This is definitely one of those "impress your friends" type of combinations.

Mahali Sky and Thai Mussels - [The Spirit World]

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Merlot fights back

Merlot's have been my guilty pleasure for some time. I don't travel in the heavy wine circles so when I started reading about how it was the bastard step-child of the red varietals, my regular question was "What's so wrong with Merlot?" It's well priced and there are lot of CA vineyards that make some pretty good stuff. Not *every* wine you drink has to jump up and bite you, a little mellow can be a good thing.

Swanson Vineyards, the largest producer of estate-grown Merlot in Napa Valley, is doing a seminar about all the things that are right about Merlot and why not every word out of the casual wine buyers mouth has to be "Pinot." A little self-serving for sure, but that's the way the market works. If not Swanson, then who?

C'mon guys, give Merlot a break. It's the mongrel puppy that can love you even more than the pure-bred can.

Swanson Vineyards Merlot Seminars - []
via Hip Tastes

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Sommelier Glasses

Oh the irony. Plastic looking cups made of glass that are named "Sommelier." I can finally return to my roots but still show some class!

These actually may be pretty good for wine as they have nice open rims, allowing you to get a good wiff. Probably better for whites though.

Sommelier Glasses - US$30.30 - []
via Product Dose

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Some thanks and virtual bartender

As of last week we averaged over 1,000 users per day. That's pretty damned cool. I'm surprised to see it myself considering how poor we rank on Technorati, but doesn't lie!

In case you live under a rock, the Virtual Bartender are girls that do as you command, just like any good bartender does. They each have a huge list of commands and the most recent version has two girls. The shot pictured is them doing Star Wars. But they make out, shake ass, and many other things (no nudity, but plenty of cheesecake).

They seem to do a lot of stuff except being able to make a martini. Brilliant.

Virtual Bartender - []

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World's oldest whisky auction

On April 4th you have your chance to bid on one of the rarest bottles of whisky in existence. This 1937 vintage of Glenfiddich only had 61 bottles of it originally, but because of import laws, they had to make a special 750ml bottle. This is the only one in that size left. Only 3 other bottles from that lot exist, but in different bottle sizes.

The bottle, from Cask843, has survived World War II, terrible shows like "My Mother the Car," the death of Elvis, and Britney Spears. The last alone making it nearly priceless. It'll be interesting to see what it actually goes for. If I ever bought a bottle like this I don't think I could ever get the guts to drink it, just way too much uniqueness to pop it open.

Glenfiddich to Auction the World's Oldest Bottle of Whisky - [BusinessWire]

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Wine grapes and vodka

There's been plenty of press releases on wine grape vodka by the companies that are making them, but this article from last Thursday (No, I don't know how I missed it) talks about a specific Calfiornia vodka made from wine grapes by Roth, a pretty well established winery.

With pundits from places like the French Laundry chiming in, it gets some pretty good marks. Not only that, with every case sold Roth will donate $1 to Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. A needy organization, I'm sure.

Wine grapes turn in to vodka - []
Buy it at BevMo - $27.99 - []

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Used Auto Parts Winery

The venerable Sebastiani & Sons are using their Three Loose Screw brand to create a Bordeaux-ish wine named Used Automobile Parts.

It's a mix of 43% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petite Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec but it's all Napa Valley, baby and even has actual gold used on the inscription.

A single bottle costs US$50 but buy three and you'll save and it will only cost you US$150. Math sucks.

The value of buying three actually gets you a bottle with three different types of non-cork enclosures. The screw cap, the Zork from Australia and the German engineered Vino-Seal. So, even if the wine sucks, you'll be able to impress with all those crazy openings!

Used Automobile Parts - []
via Just-Drinks [Paid Reg Required]

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The Disco Bar!

It'd be cool to have an entire bar like this, though it would probably cause seizures after a bit. Too bad this one is on top of such an ugly cabinet.

The Disco Bar - []


Self-Cooling Can

The Blogosphere is on fire! The latest in beverage cooling technology is making the rounds on news that there's a can out there that can instantly cool a drink by up to 30 degress just by being activated.

I think it runs on a combination of circulation, ventilation, and imagination. I say "imagination" because I haven't seen one actually working yet and it will be vaporware until something I'm holding in my hand is being cooled by up to 30 degrees.

Everyone seems to be talking about it's huge beer applications but I don't get why everyone is so focused on drinking beer from a can. Even if I were to drink a beer from a can, it's because it's cheap and I needed a case and only had $10. The self-cooling can would have to raise the price significantly to completely negate this value.

I'm looking forward to the huge amount of applications that can come from this. Maybe it will bring peace in the Middle East because all they really needed was a co…

Skorppio Vodka

After a night of drunken debauchery some often resort to their local greasy spoon for a regiment of gravy and french fries or some other artery-destroying concoction.

Here's an idea: Make a vodka that will get you drunk AND finish you off with a light snack at the end. Skorppio Vodka has a safe-to-eat scorpion built right in to the bottle, ready for you to consume at the end of your martini.

"Rick, how do I know it's safe to eat?" you say. Well, the internationally acclaimed food tasting and safety organization Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce has deemed it so! Duh.

The only thing worse than this concept is the brown-bag-over-the-head inspiring girls they have as models on their website. The stuff is distrubuted from Las Vegas for crying-out-loud. I know there are hot girls there, I've SEEN them. You can't even throw your Margarita Yard across The Strip without hitting one, don't you think you could get a few to pimp your product?

It says that the vodk…

Pomegranate Mixer

Martini mixer's work great for the do-it-yourself party, though they don't have alcohol in them so drinks can get too sweet if you're not careful, they do make it easier and add a lot of flavor. This helps in the recent trend of drinks that taste sweet and fruity.

Stirrings is pushing out a new mixer to go along with their current line that consists of flavors like chocolate and espresso. Their new flavors of pomegranate, watermelon, and wild blueberry all promise the creative person plenty of chances to create something new and different.

Stirrings Mixers - []
via Bottle Watch

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Pomegranate Vodka

Pearl came out with a pomegranate vodka named Persephone and the more I think about it the more I like it. It's a great flavor for mixing a lot of different drinks and fits well with their line of coconut (not a fan) and straight vodka.

Their line of vodka's has a super-premium vodka taste without the price and I'm looking forward to experimenting with this one. Pomegranate has come out in a lot of different drinks and the recipes that are out there are unique and full of flavor.

Pearl Persephone Vodka - []
Buy it at BevMo - $22.99 - []
via Luxist

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Aperol - The social drink of Italy

I've gotten to enjoy Aperol while in Europe but have very rarely seen it in America. The sweet drink that has over 30 herbs and spices including sweet and bitter orange really goes down smoothly and it's low alcohol content (11%) makes for a lighter concoction and more of a social party drink than a lot of the heaver stuff. Its taste of orange and rhubarb without feeling syrupy is probably it's biggest achievement, plus people will keep asking you what it is that you're drinking. That's always fun.

The Aperol Martini (pictured) has a little bit of dry vermouth in it, more than you would normally put in for a dry martini, and can have a twist or an olive. I like using an olive as it really is a nice contrast in color.

It's now becoming available in the U.S. thanks to Skyy so you should be able to start picking up at your local drinking shops and should cost around $17 for a 750ml bottle.

I'm not finding info on Skyy's website yet as they just launched i…


Cocktail's at home can definitely have it's challenges. Though things like martini's and simple mixes like a vodka-tonic come out pretty easy, things like margarita's or pina colada's take a bit more of a committment as well as a larger drinking audience. Unless you got an axe to grind, you really don't need a blender full of margarita.

One of the vendors of mixers for things like margarita's and such has launched little ready-to-drink packages of drinks like Frozen Margarita and Frozen Strawberry, so just add your bit of tequila to the 10oz pouch and you have yourself a little Happy Hour at home.

They're also launching a larger drink-in-a-box that gives you 1.75 liters of mix, for those gatherings where you don't want to spend your life shoving things in to a blender. The box comes in either margarita or cosmopolitan flavors. I'm more skeptical on this one as no one that makes cosmopolitan flavoring has done a very good job of replicating the…

Michael Collins whiskey comes to the U.S.

So, in 1921 this guy from the Irish Republican Army signs a treaty with the British. He is subsequently blown sky high for making peace with the enemy. His name is Michael Collins.

Fast forward to when they decide to name an Irish Whiskey after him and put his signature on the neck of the bottle then sell it in a country where not a single person will have one effing clue as to its significance.

It's being launched by Sidney Frank, who I can't really question as he's the guy who gave us the ugly girls with hot bodies roaming from town to town on a bus and shoving Jagermeister down our throats, and the Last-Resort-For-A-Good-Martini-Staple that is Grey Goose vodka. He clearly knows how to bring in the bucks.

Michael Collins Whiskey For US - [London Times]
Buy it at BevMo for $27.99 - []

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Sparks Alcoholic Energy Drink Review

There are just way too many alcoholic energy drinks out there for me to try every one of them and report back. Though I would certainly be awake enough to get all the posts done, I just don't roll that way.

The Impulsive Buy has reviewed Sparks in it's own eclectic way. It seems that it tastes like every other energy drink out there. That is, you have to get used to it.

Let the mass of wide-awake drunks begin.

Sparks Review - [The Impulsive Buy]

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Your glass can get you laid

Over at Gizmag, they have an article about the latest in Picking Up On A Drunken Stranger technology, a growing field in the world of electronics. In the spirit of the Internet and all things that make a process even more impersonal (like the aforementioned robot bartender), these new glasses allow you to hook up through a digital display on the glass itself.

The glass basically allows you to see who's in the bar, view their profile, and even drop them a message. Believe me, there's nothing as exhilarating as messaging a person that is 15 feet from you. You can send the message then see the joy on their face as they read it! Priceless!

Priscilla Bernikowicz is the brainchild behind the Interactive Glasses and is looking for funding. The sad thing about all this? It's going to really take off.

The Connection Glass facilitates and enhances meeting compatible people - [Gizmag]
Connection Glass Homepage - [Product page]
Robot Bartender - [Martini Lounge]

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Idol Vodka

Most of the grape vodka's out there are actually pretty good, though they definitely stray very far from the idea of a traditional vodka that is supposed to be fairly tasteless. They tend to be very grape tasting but with a nice crispness that you don't always get from a wine.

Luxist recently did a review of one of the better ones that is much more consistent with the vodka motif, Idol vodka. They got to taste it at an "event" they attended. Since I'm not invited to such "events," I have to go out and actually find it to try it.

Though not something I'd want to mix, it's a great vodka for sipping or for a martini (with just a drop of vanilla vermouth, which I guess would be mixing). Worth a try.

Idol Vodka - $35 [Product Site]
via Luxist

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Bad Word of Mouth

Over at The Consumerist they're talking about new research that tries to give specific numbers to just how bad word of mouth can be for a business.

Those of us that have bartended have known this for quite some time, for the sheer fact that we can see the effect of word of mouth over a single night. If you treat a customer poorly they will tell the rest in their group to order from the *other* bartender or from a waitress so they don't have to deal with you. Tips will then be affected.

The most compelling stat is that almost half of people will not use a vendor if someone else has spoken poorly of them. We are, after all, sheep by nature.

Worth keeping in mind no matter what you do.

Quantifying Bad Word of Mouth - [Consumerist]


How much gold is in Goldschlager?

Everytime I drink a shot of Goldschlager, or even better an Oatmeal Cookie, I think about the little flakes of gold and what it might be doing to my digestive system and how come I never seem to see them when I later use the toilet. Though I have seen them when I've had too much Goldschlager and had to boot and rally. (eeewwww, you didn't want to know that)

I've found a deep, college level experiment that tries to find just how much of the stuff is in a bottle and what the street value is.

Bottom line: About $1.38

How much gold is inside Goldschlager? - []
Oatmeal cookie recipe - [Webtender]

11 Green Things

One of my favorite SF Chronicle articles is "11 things." A regular contribution of 11 things based on one topic. Today's is, of course, St. Patrick's Day.

Though I think St. Patrick's Day was originally invented by the Irish just to screw with the rest of the world and create a single day where people could think that you could be deprived AND still be white, it does have it's charm.

Best thing on this list? The Shamrock Shake.

11 Things [SF Chronicle]

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SkyBox Vendor

How about your own vending machine for that snazzy entertainment room you're setting up?

SkyBox (made by Maytag, believe it or not) has a handy vending machine that can hold 64 cans OR 32 bottles and it does not require coins, though I recommend having some sort of made-up contraption next to it so the drunks can have something to stuff dollar bills in to.

The "SmoothDrop System" also makes sure that there's no shake-up when the beverage of choice is delivered.

Skybox Vendor - $617 with logo - [Product Site]

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Easy wrist opener

Here's something handy. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

This little baby attaches to your wrist like a watch and allows you to open up all those GOOD beers. You know, the ones that you can't just twist off the cap or pop the tab?

Perfect for bartenders or for that big party you're soon to throw. No more trying to keep track of your opener as things start to get busy.

Don't expect for me to post too much from this company though, their site is a pain in the ass for recommending stuff.

Leather Wrist Opener - $8.95 [Bar Supply]

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The Beauty of Gin

Over the past year I've been becoming a much bigger fan of gin. The revival of hard alcohols in general have created a market for more gins and it's become a very good thing.

Over at Days That End in "Y," the blog that seems to find EVERY single interesting post about alcohol, Mike discovered a post from Forbes that goes in to the stylings of gin and even pushes out 20 great martini recipes. Well, there are 20 recipes, I consider about 12 of them as "great."

Interesting that Forbes is publishing this as well. Clearly their readers need to drown out the cries of the recently unemployed from the companies they've run, so they give them a fresh line of things to drink.

Best quote from the article:
By 1727, England was consuming 5 million gallons of gin per year--a pretty astounding figure for a population of only 6 million.There are some GREAT gins out there and they taste good WITHOUT you having to put some flavored vodka in it. Try them out.

Original Gin

London Dry Gin

Here's a twist, a London Dry Gin that's actually from London. Oh sure, there are plenty of gin's that say that, but this stuff is from the last actual distillery in London and has been produced there since the 1700's.

This Gin is entirely organic using organic grains, pure water, and organic botanical herbs. I know what you're thinking, all this organic usually means that it probably sucks, but this stuff has actually won awards. And not just awards at some competition they made up. These are REAL awards.

The stuff sells in .uk for £13.99.

Juniper Green Organic Gin - [Product Site]

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Creating a good lychee martini

It seems the Lychee Martini is taking off in every place that new drinks like to take off in. It's hard to hit a hip joint (as you kids call it) in any city in America and not see someone chugging away on the light yellow drink. Yes, I know the fruit in the picture is red, but the juice comes from the pulp in the center. You're very smart, now shutup and let me continue.

Lychee martini's can easily go awry and that is one of the reasons that I think they might not be taking off more. Some bartender here's how to do it, then mixes one poorly.

I'm here to rectify and testify.

These are great drinks and a fantastic way to get your friends who don't know how to drink (ie ordering Mai-Tai's but not sitting on the beach) in to a more refined type of alcohol. So, here's a few quick tips to make sure they're getting the goods.
Lychee Flavor: The really good Lychee martini's have lychee liqueur. None of which are available in the U.S., but some places…

Hello, My Name Is: Glasses

It seems that there are so many glasses out there for parties that there's an entire industry sprouting up around trying to remember who's glass is who's. I think the little charms for wine glasses are cute, but after 4 glasses I can't remember for the life of me if I was the shoe or the wheelbarrow. Wait, that's Monopoly.

These handy glasses have the ubiquitous "Hello, My Name Is" on it and a space for you to write your name, just like the stickers you always get at the A.A. meetings. It also comes with a grease pencil that allows you to a) actually write your name on your glass so everyone will know it's yours and b) get grease all over your face when your palms sweat from holding the glass because you're talking to the hot brunette, then go to wipe your stress-induced bloody nose. No, I'm not bitter.

Hello My Name Is… Pint Glass Set - $34.95 [Pixel Planet]
Alcoholics Anonymous - [Get Help]

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The Robot Bartender

Unfortunately, this bartender won't be around long because it will be insane due to the conflict it will have with the 1st Law of Robotics. (Not a nerd? Look it up).

This charming device uses voice recognition to access it's large library of drinks and then mix one up for you. Do you like a drink that it doesn't know? Just tell it what the ingredients are and it'll mix it up for you.

While it's patiently making your drink it pulls from a big list of jokes in its database and regales you with its wit and humor.

"Hey! Remember that joke that the robot bartender told us? Soooooo funny!"

At least if the joke sucks I can take a swing at him and not feel bad.

Robotic bartender understands verbal orders and tells jokes [Gizmag]

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RFID for Sake

Pure sake is really hard to find in the U.S. It's pretty delicate and not easily transportable. Though there's a great factory in Berkeley, CA that produces most of the sake that American's drink, it's nothing like the pure stuff straight from Japan.

Enter something the Japanese are great at: having an open enough mind to realize how technology can solve a lot of these problems. They've attached RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) labels to each bottle of sake and tags to the entire box. The tags use the nation's 3G network to talk to the home office and send info such as location and, more importantly, temperature. This allows them to ship the sake much farther than previous capabilities as well as make sure it arrives in the right condition.

I'd imagine that some wineries would pick up on this in order to make sure that their precious juice isn't sitting outside of a restaurant in San Francisco on the days that it snows (like it did last weeke…

The Pleasure of Port

I'm one of Port's biggest fans. A good port and a cigar is probably one of my favorite habits for after one of those dinners where you're just nothing but happy. I'd even put it up there with a good whisky for a relaxing evening.

The Wine Sediments blog has gone in to detail about some of the differences and similarities between the types of ports, namely Ruby and Tawny.

If you're new to Port or interested in learning more, it's definitely a good read.

The Pleasures of Port [Wine Sediments]

Best Place To Drink Whisky

The Pot Still in Glasgow, Scotland has been voted the best place in the world to drink whisky. I don't know who voted, but it's Whisky Magazine, so they should know, right?

The Pot Still's literally hundreds of whiskies plus it's location in the downtown theatre district of Glasgow keep tourists, regulars, and celebrities happy with their encyclopedic knowledge of whisky and great service.

The Pot Still [Bar website]
Map to location [Google Maps]
via Luxist

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Talking Beer Mug

There's nothing worse than getting lost in the throes of conversation while drinking only to look down and find that you no longer have a drink. You are then left with an embarrassingly empty mug or, if the bartender is one of those retentive types, no mug at all because she took your empty!

Finally, someone has done away with this problem. The beer talks to you and lets you know when it's getting low and even has a warning siren when it's VERY low. Can you ask anything more of your beer glass? No, you can't. Well, you can, but I think it would make the people sitting around you at the bar feel very uncomfortable.

Bar owners! Take note! Increase revenues by having a constant reminder for your patrons that they need to refill.

Never Empty Beer Mug - $21.00 []
via Coolbuzz

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Vodka at War

The vodka market in Europe is up in arms about what the definition of "vodka" is. The two camps, “vodka purists” and the “vodka liberalizers" are fighting about what vodka can be actually distilled from.

The purists tell us that vodka can only come from grain or potatoes. "Rubbish!" the liberalizers say. "Potatoes weren't even in this region until the 18th century, so why can't vodka be made from other types of source products!"

It's very edge-of-your-seat discussion, I know. The real story is that Poland is having a hard time winning the vodka vs. beer war in the hearts and minds of drinkers in Europe, so they're trying to push the Hungarian liberalizers in to naming their vodkas, often made from molasses or grape marc, in to naming their vodkas something else so as to not confuse the drinking public.

The EU loves to regulate food and drink and this battle is right up their alley, market forces should be deciding this, but it's…

Access wine ratings from your phone

All the software in the world running on your PC can't help you when you're at Costco or your local wine shop and wondering if their latest value is a good steal or a bunch of crap with a fancy sign next to it. Even PDA software isn't updated enough to give you all the relevant information you need when you're out and about.

MemWine solves the problem by being an easy to access, continuously updated wine site that allows you to enter your own ratings as well as see the ratings of others.

The site layout isn't pretty, which is the idea. The last thing you want when you're accessing it on your mobile phone is waiting for 200k logo to download and trying to scroll past it.

Memwine [Utility site]
Memwine Mobile [WAP site]

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Sex sells wine

Well, maybe it doesn't sell so well. The infamous Cleavage Creek winery is up for sale for a mere US$460,000. I've never even seen these wines reviewed, so I have no clue as to their quality, but their gimmick is a hot girl on the cover of every bottle. They're even in the process of determining who their next cover girl will be.

With the sheer amount of labels out there, a gimmick doesn't hurt, but I have to imagine that this gimmick isn't working well enough to keep the current owner interested in keeping the place. But you don't go in to the wine business because you're looking to get rich, do you?

Cleavage Creek for sale [Wine Enthusiast]
Cleavage Creek winery [Product Site]
via Fermentation

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Cheap Fun Wines

Anyone can go in to a wine shop and grab a $50+ bottle of wine and be fairly pleased with the bottle. Sure, there are some expensive wines that are more worth it than others, but you're not going to spit the wine out, something that is very possible with a bottle that is less than $20.

Cheap Fun Wines focuses on those wines that are great and are under $20, not always an easy task. Though it is one of those blogs that is trying too hard with ad placement everywhere as to nearly come across as a porn site, but the info is good.

Cheap Fun Wines []

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For the love of beer

Well, it's turned in to a beer themed day. So I bring to you the most insane beer commercial I've ever seen.

The beer, she is happy.

You'll need the Vividas player, whatever the hell that is. It seems to install automatically and quickly.

Toohey's Beer [For the love of beer]

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Do your part to save the beer!

The Spirit World published a great recipe on one of my favorite dishes in the world. Beer steamed mussels.

You can save the beer industry with this recipe! It makes you buy beer! Plus it's great to drink beer *with* these mussels! It's what we in the industry call a "beer/beer" situation. (We in the industry are very technical).

It also has plenty of garlic, which is very good for you. So, you're drinking beer and eating things that are good for you.

Cooking with Beer - Steamed Mussels [The Spirit World]

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Beer is dying (again)

So, when the CEO of Miller Brewing drops the line that beer is at a "critical crossroads" most people take notice.

Beer had a 61% market share of alcoholic beverages in the mid '90's when they were promoting beer as "the official beverage of the knuckleheads" and has dropped significantly because of demand for other types of drinks (namely, wine and vodka).

I think this is a hard number to quantify. Micro-brews seem to be continuously sprouting up and a lot of them are growing like crazy, maybe they weren't included in their overall percentages, but from a public mindset, beer has definitely been off the radar in favor of other, more "sophisticated" drinks.

The solution? Beer is changing the way they market, label the bottles, and the way they think.

I have a pretty good solution for companies like Anheiser-Busch and Miller to gain market share back: Make your beer not suck.

Miller CEO: Beer at a crossroads [CBS Marketwatch]

Heeeeeeere's Ed!

Though this weeks Nightclub and Bar Convention in Las Vegas has brought plenty of good news (ie Amande Demme's foray in to the Las Vegas scene in conjuction with W Hotels), there has been pain too. Oh the pain.

I name this pain, McMahon.

That's right. Ed McMahon's vodka.

Once we see McDonald's Vodka, it will be the last nail in the coffin.

Filtered four times with a Russian recipe, his vodka is only available at Southern Wine & Spirits' 3 locations, but is looking to expand soon. I don't see how I could order it though.

"Yes, I see you have Vox, and oh! Precis! You know what? Forget that, I WANT A MCMAHON MARTINI! Up. With a twist please."

Hey, I'm all for celebrity endorsements of spirits, God knows that the Celebrity Cellars wines do well. But we have to draw a line people. On the bright side, at least their website isn't a big conflaguration of flash with Elevator Downtempo music playing.

I'm going to hate myself if this bec…

A Martini article that doesn't suck

I know, I know. Martini articles seem to be all the rage for the food/beverage editor in some newspaper who can't think of anything else to write, so they push out some crap like a constipated baby. It makes me want to massage the article's lower abdomen and gently pump it's legs.

This one's actually good though. It actually tells the California origins of Martini better than most California papers do. Seriouly, I wouldn't lie to you. I respect you more than that.

Spirited Glass: Martini is debonair drink of choice - [The Capital Times]

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Wine Hikes

California Wine Hikes combines two of the great Northern California resources in to one spectacular day: Hiking trails and wineries. For a (fairly) reasonable fee, you can have a guide take you on some of the best trails of California as well as to some of the great wineries that define the regions that the trails are in.

Most trips include snacks, bottled water, tasting fees, transportation where needed, and a naturalist who can point out the difference between a tree or a plant. A good thing to know should you be washed ashore after a shipwreck off the Northern California coast.

Hikes are graded from "Easy" to "Strenuous" to "Oh my God, please help me to just not die before the end of the hike." Also, you might see squirrels!

California Wine Hikes [Company Site]

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Glass with Bottle Opener

For those of you snobs that insist on the finer things with your beer like "drinking it from a glass" alongside stuff like "showering daily" or "walking upright," then here's the tool for you.

This little baby holds a full bottle and has a built-in bottle opener right in the bottom. You'll never experience the shakes as you look through drawer after drawer for the bottle opener again.

Sure, it's plastic, but you knock things over all the time anyway.

Oh! My Glass! - $12 - [Orangeskin]

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Lounging in Madrid

Madrid is far and away one of my favorite towns to play in. While America celebrates the few "after-hours" clubs it has, Madrid has no such designation because all the clubs go all night. Plus, where else can you see giant sheets of toilet paper blowing straight up out of the air vents on the street?

Mini has setup a great lounge close to downtown Madrid that looks just like a Mini Cooper on the inside. The club has a few cars that you can call to be picked up in a decked-out Mini and even a Mini Limousine that's not-so-Mini.

I'm waiting for the Aston Martin lounge though, I want upscale.

Mini Lounge - Spanish Only []

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Setting up the bar: Martini Glasses

I'm not going to lie to you: Setting up your bar is a pain in the ass. Even for a small one in the corner of your apartment, it can cost you a fortune and that's before you even buy the booze.

Your martini glasses can mean everything. You'll want a set of glasses for when you're having parties and they will get invariably broken, as well as a smaller set for the intimate dinner with friends when everyone will compliment you on how cool your glasses are.

The Spirit World has done a short tutorial on Martini glasses and a few manufacturers that give consistently reliable glasses without paying out a ton of dough (think: Costco). If you're looking for that upscale set, I recommend The Scandalous Cup, a great site for uniquely designed glasses.

Good luck with that bar!

Setting Up Your Bar: Martini Glasses [The Spirit World]
Martini Glasses [The Scandalous Cup]

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Mr. Freeze Martini Chiller

Keeping your martini cold through the entire drink is the bain of the martini drinker's existence. Well, that and too much Vermouth.

The martini chiller is a cool looking little helper that keeps it cold and holds your drink for you, freeing your other hand to make wild gestures or hold yourself steady because you've had too many cold martini's.

It doesn't have direct contact with the ice water like those other cool looking martini chillers either, so you won't get those drool-looking drips on your shirt from the water coming off your glass. Now you'll just have to worry about actually drooling.

Mr. Freeze Martini Chiller - $129.99 [After5]

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Fig Vodka

Kleiner Feigling vodka from Germany (the name means "Little Coward") is a fig flavored vodka that shows that people are actually trying to innovate on products rather than just throw diamonds in them.

Darcy O'Neil over at The Art of the Drink is a chemist/bartender who has some great takes on things by getting in to the science of why something is the way it is. Definitely one worth bookmarking.

Kleiner Feigling Vodka [Art of the Drink]

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8 Martinis? That'll be $2 please

In a town where deals are rarely to be had (unless you go Downtown or Off Strip), it's so nice to be at a nice place on The Strip and find a deal.

Enter the 25 cent martini at Commander's Palace (pictured). Yeah, the vodka's from the well, but if that bothers you, the 25 cent deal also applies to their signature Commander's Palace Martini (with Curacao), a Cosmo, or Ray's melon martini.

Tip well and you'll get to call your vodka too.

Commander's Palace Martini [Menu]

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