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Showing posts from June, 2006

Break Time

With the real world closing in and the 4th of July around the corner, I'll be back in a week.

On the return: Lichido review, Ocean Vodka review, Compass Whiskey, 44 North, and much, much more.

Mixology Monday 7 - Gang Grape: The Second Pressing

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I'm hosting the August version of Mixology Monday. You might say to yourself "Rick, August is a long way off. Tell me at the end of July."

To this I say, "No."

This coming weekend is the 4th of July. Then you'll be on vacation or something. Then you'll have that thing. Next thing you know, it'll be August.

So, I warn you now. It's coming. It'll be here before you know it. So write about the topic and let me know and we'll post it on Mixology Monday. If you're looking for a way to promote your blog, this is a good way to do it.

Topic: Grape drinks (Not wine).

A pretty broad topic. It could be about Cognac, or Sherry, or something that only you may know about and want to share with us. BRING IT ON!

Drunken dialing cure

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If you know me, then probability is that you've received a phone call at 3am from me expounding either on a) How great you are or b) An awesome new idea that is utterly absurd (Like the Abe Vigoda Toilet Seat).

If you know me and have not heard from me at 3am, then it is because you are wise and have not given me your phone number. I do not discriminate.

That being said LG of South Korea is introducing the LP4100 that has a little breathalyzer in it. You blow in to it and if you are too drunk, it shows a little animation of a car weaving in to traffic cones. Though I would prefer it showing some guy with his head in the toilet or waking up next to a goat, to each his own.

You can also setup users on the phone so that if you blow over a .08, you cannot dial them. So now you can make sure that your ex-girlfriend's grandma will sleep peacefully knowing you won't disturb her with late night calls of you screaming "OH MY GOD YOU'RE SO HOT" in to the phone.

New Cel…

Venus Rechargeable Automatic Wine Opener

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Yes, that really is a picture of the rechargeable wine opener. Not some other...um...device.

The alarmingly easy and simple task of pulling a cork out of the bottle with a manual wine opener has been reduced to the mere flick of a switch and quiet machine noise.

This wine opener has two switch positions, one that opens the bottle and one that delivers the cork back to you. Lest it become too simple and do everything at once, it comes with a foil cutter so that you still have something to do. It's important that you feel you're part of the process.

It has internal batteries and a charging stand so that if the power ever goes out you won't need to fret, you'll still be able to get your wine open.

Venus Rechargeable Automatic Wine Opener - US$49.99 - [after5catalog.com]


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Chartreuse Martini

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The Seattle Times does some great reporting on their local bars by not only talking about the bar but by offering up a signature drink made by that bar. Would that all cities had such useful features and writing in their fish wraps.

Though I haven't had the pleasure of visiting this week's bar, West 5, their ingenuity with the Chartreuse Martini has me chomping at the bit to visit them on my next trip to the Northwest.

To wit:
3 ounces vodka
½ ounce Green Chartreuse liqueur
Mint leaf garnish

Combine vodka and liqueur in a pint glass with ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with mint leaf.

A little bit of a piney flavor should result. Let me know how it goes.

The Chartreuse Martini - [seattletimes.nwsource.com]


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The Beertender

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The Beertender is the keg for people who don't really want to keep a keg around. The easy-to-use Beertender holds the smaller 4 liter kegs from Heineken and allows you to have beer on tap for up to 30 days after you tap the keg.

This little thing's been around since last year but this blog hasn't been around since last year so I'm covering it now.

This thing's only available in Europe unless you want to translate it from The German, then you might be able to buy it online.

The Beertender - [beertender.ch]


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Firefly Vodka

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I already like Firefly because it's not trying too hard. There's nothing worse than a girl that tries to hard. Well, there are things that are worse, but that wouldn't really advance the point of this post.

Firefly vodka is all about South Carolina. It's a muscadine wine flavored vodka made from grapes grown on the SC island of Wadmalaw. It's then sent to a distillery in Florida to be made and brought back to be sold exclusively in South Carolina. They have high hopes of expanding to the entire SouthEast, but they're not like a lot of other vodkas out there that are telling us that they're selling in every corner of the world.

They are having a contest to allow drinkers to pick "The Drink of Charleston" and are proud of their South Carolina roots. Look for it next time you're in SC (which I'm sure is regularly).

Firefly Vodka - [fireflyvodka.com]


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Drunken Photos

C'mon guys! Add some drunken photos! I know you got 'em!

Just click on one of the photos and it'll take you to the add page.


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Wine A Day with Radcru.com

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Woot.com has created an entire business model around midnight. The latest trend is launching some sort of product at midnight at some ridiculous price and going until it's sold out or until midnight comes again.

Radcru is the latest in such activities in the meme of Woot.com and its drunk stepchild wine.woot.com.

The difference Radcru has is that they're launching a new wine every night as opposed to Wine.Woot's one a week and the wine is only coming from smaller wineries, so strictly limited runs. They're using the Inertia Beverage Group's stable of wineries which include the likes of Cornerstone, Titus, Brooks, and their overall 265 brands over 313 days a year.

It remains to be seen if they will compete with Wine.Woot's mind-blowing prices (especially over the last two weeks), but it may be wines that are hard to get anyway and so pricing isn't going to be as much of an issue.

The site plans to sell it's first wine on July 10.

Wine a day from Radcru - [r…

Mojito Madness

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The Mojito has really taken off as the summertime drink of choice for the discerning warm day aficionado.

They've been sucking these things down in Miami for almost as long as there's been a Miami, thanks to the heavy Cuban influence there, but they're starting to take off all over the U.S. and in destinations abroad. The combination of ice, light rum, and the fresh minty taste just screams "refreshment."

The Miami Herald has a piece on the drink and covers it from soup to nuts, even mentioning the Mile High Mojito I posted about a few weeks ago (Was it weeks? Or days? It's all running together. So much alcohol...must...tell...others).

Right now it's the #3 most popular drink. But much like the Jefferson's, it is moving on up.

Mojito frenzy hits U.S. mainstream - [miami.com]


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The Sexy (?) Bartender

Oh, this is rich. The Sexy Bartender is the latest in vlog's on YouTube focused on creating their own bartending video.

Sexy is definitely a subjective term on this one and not really accurate this time in my opinion. Anytime a girl refers to herself on her vlog or blog as "Sexy" or "Babe" you can usually bet they aren't either one.






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New Art of the Drink!

Watermelon Margarita

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Bobby Flay covered a great watermelon margarita recipe on his show "Boy Meets Grill" which I have faithfully reproduced here in order to spread the news of the Mighty Bobby Flay, He Who Will Save Us All and Cure Your Ills. Yes, he's that great.

5 cups cubed watermelon, seeds removed
1/2 cup simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water, heated until sugar melts), cooled
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups silver tequila
4 ounces orange liqueur
2 ounces melon liqueur
Watermelon wedges, for garnish

Place watermelon in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour the pureed watermelon into 2 empty ice cube trays and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Place 8 martini glasses in the freezer to chill. Place 2 cups of the watermelon ice cubes and the remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 4 glasses and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Garnish each glass with a watermelon wedge.
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Zen and the art of garden maintenance

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The Seattle Times has a little article about the type of garden the perfect cocktail connoisseur would have in their backyard. Forget about eggplant, avocadoes, and plum trees. Instead plant Sage (for a margarita), Spearmint (always a good garnish), and Tarragon (for peach vodka).

The Bartender's Garden - [seattletimes.nwsource.com]


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This week's Wine.Woot [Correction! Buy it now!]

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Wine.Woot has their deal up and the verdict for this week is: Get it!!!

The Nicholson Ranch Estate 2001 Pinot Noir is a great wine and normally sells for US$47.99 per bottle. In this deal you're getting 4 bottles for the single price of US$49.99. You're not going to beat that unless you find out about someone who's getting this Woot and then robbing their house of the delivered wine package while they're out buying food for the party they're going to throw because of the deal they got.

I initially rated this deal as a "Pass" because I never learned to read, so I assumed that when someone told me of a single bottle for $47 vs. Woot's $49, that was a crappy deal. I would take the time to learn to read, but living The Beautiful Life is very time consuming, thus requiring one of my many servants to handle the task. Said servant has thusly been sacked.

So again I say: Woot!

Nicholson Ranch Estate 2001 Pinot Noir - US$47.99 - [wine.woot.com]


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Organic Whisky

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Benromach Whisky is the first whisky to ever be certified organic by the Soil Association in the UK. The product comes from a distillery that started in 1898 but has been in and out of financial trouble until it was purchased in 1993 with a new focus and determination to come out with an organic whisky that would please the fussiest of Scotch drinkers.

Benromach raises a glass to status as first organic malt whisky - [scotsman.com]
Available at Arkwrights Malts - US$38.70 - [whiskeyandwines.com]


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Juice box for big kids

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These green juice boxes may conjure up thoughts of cold box of apple juice ready to put in your lunch box. Of course, this is Martini Lounge, so that would be a pretty weak subject to post on.

These boxes have a pretty decent Pinot Grigio in them, according to Courtney Cochran over at Hip Tastes.

The boxes contain about 1/3 of a bottle of wine (which is how much you end up drinking anyway when you open a bottle with some friends) and is made from mostly recycled stuff, reducing waste significantly. It ships in four packs.

Courtney conjured up images of sittinng around the game console and sucking down a box of Grigio or Cab. She must have really enjoyed them though because she forgot to tell us how much they cost!

The Juice Box, All Grown Up - [courtneycochran.com]
Michael Skurnik Wines - [skurnikwines.com]


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Inflatable Floating Wet Bar

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A wet bar that you're actually wet for. This wet bar seats four and has drink holders and a built-in ice chest. The seats work for people up to 200 lbs, which means that it will barely hold me, but for US$59.95, it's worth it just for the novelty factor.

Aqua Bar - $59.95 - [alsto.com]

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Overpouring at bars

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That jerk of a bartender that steals money from the pockets of the owner of your favorite bar by overpouring drinks (read: My favorite bartender) is about to have Big Brother stop his shenanigans and put an end to the US $7 billion in losses.

Capton has developed a liquor monitoring software package that includes RFID enabled pouring spouts so a bar manager can see just how much of each alcohol is being poured. Understanding how a bar can stop overpouring can save the average bar around US$90,000 a year and the system only costs somewhere in the neighborhood of US$20k.

This type system is perfect (for the owner) of the type of bar that Las Vegas has. That is, one that dishes out free drinks to the sloths at the $1 blackjack table. Most hotels in Vegas already have automatic devices for the actual pour but a lot of the side bars don't and this can be a useful tool.

The system can track pretty much any drink, thereby putting an end to the heavy-pour as we know it.


Beverage Tracker S…

Smirnoff contest winner and some summer drinks

The Denver Post has an article today that has some great recipes in it for Summer drinks to keep you cool as the temperature gauge rises. Like, really rises. Seriously, what's up with it beig 106 degrees? I'm in the Bay Area dammit!

The winner of last year's competition to be Smirnoff's drink ambassador has started doing some actual work and contributing to society in a meaningful way. That is, he's got some good drinks on his list.

Pomegranate is becoming the order of the day more and more but there are some other good one's on this list.

Drinks for the party - [denverpost.com]


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Hydra Vodka Water

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I'll give you a tip on marketing stuff to me:

I'll pretty much buy anything that uses a ninja to pimp the product. And this isn't some realultimatepower.net fanboyism, it's from the desire to be stealthy and wear black stuff and occasionally throw a smoke bomb to escape from certain situations, like sales forecast meetings.

Hydra vodka water uses said ninja and has a product that sounds like a good concept. They have two flavors of strawberry and lime and it's 7% alcohol by volume. Sounds yummy.

Unless you live in America Jr. though, you're out of luck. The product is only available in stores and bars across Canada. Here's hoping they come to the U.S. sometime soon.

Hydra Vodka Water - [hydravodkawater.com]


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Ocean Vodka - Hawaii's first vodka

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Hawaii Sea Spirits is launching Ocean vodka. The vodka made from de-salinated sea water. The alcohol is distilled from corn and rye and brought in from Idaho. The sea water is taken from 3,000 feet below the surface off the Kona coast which is water from a current that originates in Greenland.

The product is just now starting to figure out distribution but should be hitting stores and restaurants soon. Plans are for it to compete with Grey Goose and go for US$35-40 a bottle.

This is actually one of the vodka's I'm more eager to try, just from a production standpoint it sounds really interesting.

Spirits of the deep sea - [starbulletin.com]
Product site - [oceanvodka.com]


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Wine.Woot! Get it!

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Michael Sebastiani's Abandon Chardonnay 2004 is being offered up at Wine.Woot for US$47.99 (Plus $5 Shipping).

This is a very good wine and your saving about $60 on getting 4 bottles. This is *exactly* the kind of Woot I've been expecting from the site. It's something that makes me say "W00t!"

Abandon 2004 Sonoma Chardonnay Quartet - [wine.woot.com]


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Hip Tastes Wine Club

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I think people are forever and always pushing their wine clubs because, for the most part, they've already been billed for it.

You get these two bottles you've never heard of at about the same price you'd get them for at the store and you pretty much give it liberties that you wouldn't normally give because it's been paid for. It's wines that if you were trying them in a tasting room, you probably wouldn't buy. Obviously this is not always the case, but I've found it to be a decent rule.

Plus, they're just a pain in the ass to cancel sometimes.

Sommelier Courtney Cochrane has started her own wine club with the simple idea that they shouldn't suck. Knowing Courtney's taste in wines fairly well by now (I've watched her lists extensively), they won't suck. A quote from her:
It's THE BOMB for adventurous wine drinkers looking to know a little more about the wines they drink at home, and especially for those who wish to get creative w…

NY Times Summer Contest Winner

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The NY Times held a contest for the best Summer drink. The ultimate winner was "The Cuke."

I had this drink one Summer in Chicago and it's definitely as refreshing as it gets. You can skip muddling the cucumber in if you like and just use Hendrick's Cucumber Gin, but I've had a hard time finding the stuff at retail outlets so you may not have that luxury.

6 limes, rinsed
1 cup mint leaves, no stems, plus sprigs for garnish
3 washed, unwaxed cucumbers
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups vodka or gin (preferably Hendrick's gin)
Sparkling water

Slice 3 of the limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest and add juice to pitcher. Add mint leaves. Slice 2 cucumbers and add, then add sugar. Muddle ingredients together with a muddle or spoon. Add vodka or gin, then place in refrigerator to steep at least 30 minutes.
Peel remaining cucumber and cut lengthwise into 6 spears.
Fill 6 highball glasses with ice. Strain mixture from pitcher into each. Top each with a splash of sparkling water, g…

Chateau Lafite announces pricing for 2005

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Chateau Lafite has come out with the pricing for the bang-up 2005 Bordeaux vintage. Almost every wine from this region is going to skyrocket in price due to a bumper growing year with almost perfect weather that created the ideal grape for wine.

Pricing is going to be about US$5,400 per case and is expected to skyrocket as they get snapped up.

Lafite comes out at €4k per case - [decanter.com]


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Shoot to win

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Press the start button to start the timer, grab the shot, drink it, and slam the glass back down on the plate to stop the timer.

Sure, anyone can do it in 1 second on the first shot. But what happens when you get to that 7th shot of Jager? Oh yeah, you're feelin' me now.

Sprintz Shot - US$40 - [gadgets.dk]
via Gadgetizer


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Victim of wine warehouse fire intent on starting over

When the Wine Central warehouse on Mare Island in Vallejo burned down last October a collective cry could be heard throughout the wine world. Well, a bigger cry than their usual whining that has now become mostly background noise.

Hundreds of great vintages worth an estimate US$100 million from top-notch wineries were completely destroyed, never to be tasted at any point in the future. The fire, believed to be set off by arsonists, changed the entire course of some wineries as they were left without significant revenues for the destroyed wines. They're still working through the insurance paperwork with adjusters to try and get customer compensated as best as they can.

Now the company is picking through the rubble, helping with the ongoing investigation, and looking to see what they can do to start over again. The hard part for these guys is not just rebuilding, but getting former clients to believe that storing off-site again is a good idea.

Victim of wine warehouse fire plans to…

Dear Australia Wine Grape Growers - STOP IT WITH ALL THE GRAPES!

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Australia's wine market has been booming since they started making some wines that are actually good. They've also done a great job at establishing new markets around the world to sell their goods, including the U.S. but also the UK and China.

The problem started coming about when farmers saw this as the new cash crop (it beat the hell out of sheering sheep) and started planting wine grapes. The problem now is that so much has been planted, they've run out of people who can buy it.

It usually costs AU$200 to $800 to produce a metric tonne of grapes. Prices for next season's crop are going to be about AU$100 to $150 per metric tonne. I'm no mathmetician, but I'm pretty sure there's not much profit there.

The industry body Wine Grape Growers Australia has gone so far as to tell people to not grow anything at all in this upcoming season. The less people that grow, the closer they might get to breaking even.

The good news? Wait, there is no good news if yo…

Cognac for the masses

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Cognac Ferrand has dumped it's upscale NY digs for a more central location in Houston, Texas. The cognac's main goal is to take their Landy brand and turn it in to something everyone will drink. With drinks like "French Orgasm" being pushed by the brand, they're hoping to find a market for the 20-somethings that want to branch out in their drinking tastes.

Their Landy Cognac is the opening salvo and priced well at around US$20 which is a good value for the flavor it provides. If you remember Cognac 101 I recommended the company's Amber Cognac 10-year for US$38.

Soon to be gone are the pictures from Spring Break of bikini-clad girls drinking from a bottle of tequila to be replaced with a much more sensible, well-crafted bottle with "XO" marked on it somewhere.

Cognac maker - [chron.com]
Cognac Ferrand Company Site - [cognacferrand.com]


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The Healthy Martini

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Pomegranate is finding it's way in to pretty much every drink out there right now. It's ruby color, slight bitterness on the tongue, and it's fruitiness that mixes well without overpowering has become a favorite of a lot of bars around the world.

The introduction of Pom pomeganate juice to the mass market has really helped push things along not only with product awareness but with a bottled version that keeps longer and makes it easier for bars and restaurants to serve.

Add to that, the release of Pearl Persephone vodka, La Pinta tequila, and the impending release of Charbay's pomegranate flavored vodka, the market is ripe for success around the drink. Oh look, I made a pun. This blog sure is clever! Tell your friends.

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on all of this and a few recipes to help get you started. The recipes come from The Martini House in St. Helena which is a required stop anytime you're in the Napa area. A man can not live on wine alone.

W…

Mr. Margarita for your next party

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A summer party out by the pool or on your deck or even in your backyard is a perfect setting for a margarita machine. This purveyor of frozen concoctions mixes drinks for parties up to 25 people (pictured) or 50 people for the double machine. It's the Slurpee for the adult generation.

Mr. Margarita provides machines in a lot of major U.S. cities for a fairly decent price. $120 gets you the single machine for all-day use and comes with 5 gallons of mix. No, not 5 gallons of tequila. Depending on the level of friends you're inviting, you can get away with mixing some lame tequila as you can't taste the difference with all the sweetness from the mix. Of course their headaches may be a cause for complaint the next day.

The Mr. Margarita website harkens back to days of yore when web designers displayed their skills with a Geocities homepage. Go visit it even if just for nostalgic reverie.

New Website and New Locations Add More Invites to the Mr. Margarita Party - [drinksme…

Energy Drink Meltdown

The New York Times has an article that goes in to the details of energy drinks and how important it is to use them in moderation. It event talks about an energy drink that I haven't heard of, EndoRush. It has 4,000 times the FDA recommend for B12. The next time you're pissed off at your kidney's, send some of this stuff their way. That'll show 'em.

The important thing is not overdo it and make sure you're still drinking other fluids that can replenish (such as water) as these types of drinks will take a lot more out of you than they put back in.

Energy Drinks Are Fueling Concerns - [nytimes.com]


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Ikon Vodka teams with V2 for release parties

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Ikon Vodka is teaming with V2 records for launch and release parties around the country. This means that the venerable Russian vodka will be readily available for tasting at multiple venues.

V2 Records has such bands on their list as Moby, White Stripes, and Better than Ezra.

Follow the links for more info:

V2 Records - [v2music.com]
V2 Records Blog - [myspace.com]
Ikon Vodka - [ikonvodka.com]
Ikon Vodka Blog - [blogspot.com]


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Lychee Liqueur comes to the US!

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Yay! The awesome Lychee Liqueur that I've raved about is coming to the US!

The stuff is being sold in NY and is about to hit the CA and NY markets very soon. At $22.99 for a bottle of the stuff it's easily one of the best flavored liqueurs you can put in your bar or the cabinet in your house that you call the bar.

The flavors of vodka, cognac, lychee and guava essences, and white peach make this a unique one and is sure to get a great response when you serve it. It's being distributed by Transatlantic Spirits LLC and their marketing diretor's name is Lana Lang. HOW COOL IS THAT?

New Lichido Liqueur Brings Sophisticated Taste With a Touch of Exotica to the U.S. Spirits World - [marketwire.com]
Lichido.com - [Product Site]


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Touch Artisan Vodka

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I mentioned a few weeks ago about how vodkas seem to be coming out of Florida like crazy. One would think that in order to launch a new vodka in the US, you have to start in Florida.

It does make sense though. It definitely has a good base of customers, good distribution touch points for the East Coast and overseas, and you can do some sexy launches in South Beach or Hollywood and the like in order to promote the product.

Touch vodka is competing with some heavyweights but is doing well by not competing with them at all. This honey based vodka produces only 500 bottles a month and is just as good as a sipping vodka as a unique mix for interesting drinks. Its tones of honey and light-sweet taste without being syrupy is quickly becoming well known.

Florida Vodkas Make Good - [theledger.com]
Touch Vodka - [Product Site]


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Jay-Z vs. Cristal: FIGHT!

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The ephemeral Jay-Z and the legendary Cristal are exchanging a war of words about the brand's association with the hip-hop lifestyle.

The head of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud, mentioned that Jay-Z's myriad comments and allusions to Cristal in his songs and lifestyle are "unwanted attention."

Jay-Z fired back saying that it was a racist comment and subsequently refused to promote Cristal products in any way, including at his 40/40 nightclub.

So, when is protecting the image of your brand important to the point that you'll turn down business in order to do so? Are they truly racist comments? Personally, I think playing the race card just because your feelings got hurt is pretty weak. Jay-Z is probably used to people clamoring for his attention and when someone decides they don't want it, he gets offended.

Frederic's response to all of this? Not phased in the least. He said, "I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business…&qu…

Art of the Drink - World Cup Cocktail

Another week, another good drink with a hot girl.





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South Texas Merlot

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The wonderful Wine X magazine has an article on the wineries in the Hill Country of Texas. A great, very humid area just outside of San Antonio. I spent a summer teaching kids to canoe on the waters of the Guadalupe and have loved this area ever since.

The area was settled by Germans who made a quick peace with the natives and were successful in establishing a few small towns that still have largely german influence today. With this European slant on things it was natural that they would make the push in to wine.

They even talk about a place that made it's own Sangiovese just so they could have a wine strong enough to go with their smoky brisket.

The hills are alive with the sound of meat - [winexmagazine.com]


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How wine barrel's are made

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Annette Hoff's blog is one of an actual winemaker, not someone working in marketing for the winemaker, or a big fan, or some reseller. She's the person who's getting knee-deep in the grapes and figuring out what next season's wines are going to taste like.

She has posted an article that talks about how the barrel's are made from birth (as a tree) to death (as a bbq). Though not all wine barrels are done this way, I know of some tequila and other hard liquor manufacturers who are now buying these old barrels to put their spirits in for aging, it's interesting to note that the wood is the same quality that you would build a house with. So, the next time you're building your house and exclaiming on the price of oak, blame the wine.

Roll out the barrels - [cimacollina.com]
via Fermentation


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Whiskies that *will* break the bank

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"One dram of The Macallan 1926 please."

"Sure Mac. Would you like to hear about our easy financing options?"

That one dram runs about US$3,300 and the whole bottle will cost you US$38,000. Or for those of us in the Bay Area, "Half a down payment on a house."

Forbes has come out with a list of the most expensive Whiskies in the world. Starting with The Macallan and encapsulating others like the Blended Scotch from Chivas Regal (US$10,000) or the Speyside 40 year-old from Glenfiddich (US$2,500).

You can view the complete list at the Forbes site.

World's Most Expensive Whiskies - [Forbes.com]
via Born Rich


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Restaurant.com Discount

If you're like me, then you like to eat food to sustain bodily function. Restaurant.com has made this easier with a 50% off discount off they're already discounted dining certificate. One of my favorite local chain restaurants, E&O Trading Company, has a $25 dining certificate for $10. With the code it's $5. I just have to have a minimum purchase of $50 for 2 entrees. Pretty easy to do at this restaurant. Use their easy search to find restaurants near you.

Use code: 40795. It expires on 6/18/06.

Restaurant.com - [restaurant.com]


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RSS Problems?

I got a report from one of my venerable readers that they are having a problem using Pluck and getting funky results on the XML results on this site. She's having a problem clicking through to get to the actual articles.

Anyone else having this problem? Drop me a line at abeautifulmartini@gmail.com or here in comments.

Green Valley Ranch - In Room Martini Bars

Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas is an amazing place. It's definitely done a much better job going after the upscale party crowd than *any* hotel/casino in Vegas. That's right, I said it. More than Hard Rock, Mirage, or the others you might want to add the list. They have a suite with built-in turntables and a lot of suites with in-room martini bars. Check it out.




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Delta pushing new drinks in-flight

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Delta Airlines is adding to their line-up of drinks with some new additions to the menu. For $5 you can get a "Mile-High Mojito" or "Mango Kisses" which is vodka-infused. Both are mixes.

Their low-cost carrier, Song, made a big splash with their great martini service (good choice of gins and vodkas). Apparently someone in management figured out that drinks can actually make the airline more money. Go figure.

Delta hopes drinks make a summer splash - [nj.com]


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Two Martini Lunch Box Set

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The Martini Lunch Box Set is perfect for having in your cube at the office or for taking out to your picnics.

The kit comes with a shaker and two 6 oz martini glasses that sit perfectly inside the pail. Even the Boy Scouts tell you to Be Prepared.

Two Martini Lunch Box Set - US$54.00 - [homewetbar.com]


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Make your own vodka flavors

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With the huge amount of flavored vodkas out there, probability is that you'll find one to your liking. But what if you don't? Or what if there's a flavor you want to capture that will remind you of something specific? Then you'll need to make your own vodka flavor. God knows a framed picture won't truly encapsulate the moment.

Modern Spirits vodka can help you do just that. They work with high-end clients to build brand new flavors for their own use. Maybe Black Truffle Vodka or Honey Lavender Vodka or whatever you can dream up. The company works with you to find a taste profile and a vodka that will match it well.

The price? The minimum order is 10 cases at US$150/bottle, so you'll be paying US$15k just to start. But what price can you put on creating your own vodka?

Modern Spirits Vodka - [modernspiritsvodka.com]
via Cool Hunting


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Colorado Vodka - Altius

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Apparently, other vodkas that are labelling themselves as Colorado vodkas are really made in California then marketed as Colorado vodkas.

Altius Vodka claims that they are the only vodka that is made completely in Colorado, including distillation. They consider themselves a "micro-distiller" and went through all the pains and headaches of getting a distillers license in what is notoriously a very hard state to do it in.

They bill themselves as a top-shelf, premium vodka that doesn't compete with the other vodka's in the state such as Vodka 14 which is trying for a more mass-market appeal. Once I have a taste, I'll let you know.

It's available in Colorado right now and working it's way out to the surrounding states.

Altius Vodka - [Product Site]
via Liquor Snob


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Quench Bar

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The Quench Bar has tons of super coolness for your home bar. Plenty of well-organized space, a stainless steel construction, and UV Reactive lights give off a cool blue glow (click on the picture for a bigger version). Therefore, putting stools on this bar might be a cause for concern.

"I'd like a Vox Martini with a twist please" [sits down]
"That'll be right up."
[10 minutes of conversation and an empty drink later]
"This bar is so awesome, I love the colors. But why are my legs sunburned?"
"The bar is UV reactive."
"Awesome! Let's have sex!"

Your results may vary, but I've heard of a guy this happened to.

Quench Bar with UV Reactive Panels - US$7,727 - [drinkstuff.com]
via Born Rich


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This week's Wine Woot

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This week's Wine.Woot is a 3-pack of Joseph Phelps Syrah from 2001 for US$69.95.

This is a good wine for drinking pretty much right when you get it. Parker gave it 89 points and I've seen it selling for anywhere from $19.95 to $29.95 per bottle. Capitalwine.net has it for $19.95 but shipping is well over Woot's $5, so Woot is saving you some bucks there, unless you're shipping to somewhere on the East Coast in which case it'll be break even with Woot. Really though, shipping shouldn't be the reason I'm buying from Woot, I should be buying because the price is killer, it's just not. Okay, I'll stop complaining on that front.

Woot also mentions in their little song that Phelps' Insignia was wine of the year at one point, though it's to be noted that this is completely not relevant to this Syrah.

Joseph Phelps 2001 Syrah 3-pack - $69.96 plus $5 shipping - [wine.woot.com]


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Hey! Submit for the Carnival of Drinking?

I'm looking at *no* posts for the Carnival of Drinking. Well, there are two, but neither are related to the topic and I'm pretty sure one of those is just spam.

The topic: Energy drink cocktails. This is an easy one. Post an article to your blog, then tell us about it here: http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_273.html

See? That's easy.

Free Online Wine Course

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The brilliant King of Free over at Day's That End In "Y" found a free online wine course offered by Barnes & Noble University.

The class covers basics like history and the wine pyramid and then goes in to what you can expect from different wines and regions. Pretty comprehensive stuff that is great for the novice and I'm sure even some of those that are more experienced can get something out of it. The course asks that you purchase two books that are relevant to the class and is led by an ex-wine buyer and current event planner for a major wine importer.

Learn Wine Basics with Morrell & Company - Free - [barnesandnoble.com]

Two wine deals

WineExpress.com has lot's of great samplers that are well chosen and priced right. Their Bordeaux sampler is full of Frenchy goodness. The fun deal they have though is the surprise sampler. They give you 6 bottles of their choice of wines that had previously sold out but they found a few extras. The price is right at $92 and shipping is only a penny.

Get it here - [wineexpress.com]

One of my new resources for finding good wines is Best Cellars. Rather than list wines by vintage or region or whatever, they list them by flavors. Choose between fizzy, fresh, soft, luscious, juicy, smooth, big, or sweet. Click on a category and it lists wine that taste like that. Brilliant! When it asks for what state they're shipping to make sure you pick one that they actually ship to or you'll just be taken to the gift card page. The best part? All wines are $15 or less! If they don't ship to your state, at least you'll know what to look for at your local shop.

More here - …

Sandals with the bottle opener

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Shoes with a bottle opener in them are nothing that new. These are the first sandals I've seen though with them in it. Easy-to-use and handy for boat/lake/beach parties.

They have a nice thick sole and are lined with glove leather for comfort.

Reef Leather Fanning Sandal - $49.95 - [dogfunk.com]


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Champagne Cork Helper

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Unless you're popping Champagne/Sparkling wine corks all the time, you're probably one of those having a problem getting them out right. How do you pull out the cork without getting foam everywhere and without sending the cork in to some of your great-grandma's fine china, all while trying not to make too many faces as you tug on it?

The Champagne Key champagne screw is a must have for any bar or for those big parties. It's a caterer's dream as well. Just squeeze the spikes in to the cork and pull, the key helps you have a good grip which allows you to easily pop the champagne.

Champagne Key champagne screw - US$14.95 - [Wine Enthusiast.com]


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"Two-Buck Chuck" as the state wine of California

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The San Francisco Chronicle is hailing the inexpensive Charles Shaw wine as the "Official Wine of California."

Their argument is that it's popularity is the very essence of democracy and shows the industry that a wine doesn't have to just appeal to wine snobs in order to do well. Even though the wine only sells at discount market Trader Joe's, it's had the proverbial hockey stick of sales growth.

From the article:
California wines represent democracy. They showed the world that good wine can be young, flavorful and unpretentious. They showed consumers that they didn't need Ph.D.s to choose a good wine. In that spirit, we'd like to recommend Two-Buck Chuck. Not only is Charles Shaw the reigning prince of inexpensive, drinkable wine, but he has brought an entire new market into the industry.
Wine wars - [sfgate.com]

Hotspot focus: Chicago

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Chicago's bar scene is easily one of the best in America and I would rank it in the top 10 in the world. Gone are the foam parties, the huge amount of fly-by-night clubs, and the crappy DJ AM's of the world (redundant, I know).

What's left behind is a cool blend of party spots that you can go to by yourself and still spend the night with some friends. The crowds are fun, the drinks are liberal, and the warm summer nights create an ambience that's hard to beat.

The Chicago Tribune came out with 5 decent joints to get your groove on, all of them I agree with. My additions are the LakeviewBroadcasting Company for a fun night with the hipsters and Citizen Bar for it's killer wine list and amazing deck full of guys and girls that are dressed just right.

Right there are 7 bars for your week in Chicago. Let me know how it goes...

5 spots to raise your temperature - [chicagotribune.com]


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Snow Leopard Vodka

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It seems that the universe won't allow just one vodka to launch at a time. Vodka's have gotten higher energy, different tasting, and now they're getting...more ethical.

Snow Leopard Vodka is going to donate 15% of all of it's revenue to the Snow Leopard trust. A group established in 1981 to save habitat for the very endangered animal in its central Asian habitat.

The vodka is made in Poland from a Spelt grain blend. The plan is to start selling it in the UK, namely London, and grow it from there. They hope to be able to donate US$1M a year. The bottle sells for US$67 a bottle.

Ethical vodka launch to aid snow leopards - [brandrepublic.com]


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Roberto Cavalli Vodka Launches

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Roberto Cavalli makes arguably some of the hottest clothes to adorn a woman. This guy is so good that his clothes turn almost any girl in to model status. He's also got the image going for him. His strong Las Vegas/South Beach lifestyle is well known and is a cornerstone of the martini set.

So, it's only natural that he launches a vodka in the ultra-premium range that sells for US$60 a bottle.

The whole concept smacks of Ralph Lauren and his "lifestyle brand" of marketing. The concept is to put your name on certain things that can increase your image. The link between fashion and drinking is thin at best, but it's all a consumable.

The vodka was launched in Florida, New York and California, and last month distribution was expanded to Chicago, Nevada and Massachusetts. By the end of the year, Cavalli vodka should be available throughout the U.S.

Cavalli Vodka - US$60 - [Distributor's Site]

Promoting new drinks

Anyone who reads this, or any other, alcohol related blog knows that there seems to be a new drink coming out every day. The amount is prolific and that means that there is a lot of vying for the limited space on the wall that is behind every bartender.

Most bars just aren't big enough or do enough volume to justifying carrying everything. Sure, a vodka bar is expected to have every vodka out there and to keep up with the new ones, but what about Chili's or your local hotspot? They'll grab a few of the trendiest ones usually but will stick with the standards for the most part.

The North Jersey Media Group has an article about the Bar Show in Manhattan. A trade show that is specifically focused on products for clubs and bars. The article follows one vendor, the maker of P.I.N.K. vodka (whom we reported on a few days ago here).

A shot at success - [northjersey.com]


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Napa Wine Auction Perspective

The always ultra-cool Courtney Cochrane went to last weekends Napa Wine Auction and was as excited as a Hollywood Starlet going to Cannes. She brought her regularly hatted self to the auction and did more in a day there than most people do in a week.

The auction didn't make as much this year as last year, US$8M as opposed to last year's $10M, but that's still plenty of money for a very good cause (health insurance for the under-privileged in the county).

Hamptons in California - [blogspot.com]


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Play the drink market with Unstabilizer

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This is an awesome concept.

This is a Flash based system that integrates with the order entry system at your local bar. Prices for drinks then fluctuate based on demand or settings the owner dictates, with a miminum price set by the owner so he won't lose his shirt on anything.

Trying to decide which drink to get? Take a look at the lowest price, as you and others buy the drink the stock price goes up and another drink starts getting sold.

Definitely fun to do from a social interation point of view.

The Unstabalizer - [nastypixel.com]


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The White Chocolate Martini

It's National Dairy Month, so here's how to make the White Chocolate Martini.

This is normally where I'd try to correlate the dairy thing with this girl pushing out her chest, but it's just too easy and I'm sure you expect more of me.

BOOBIES!




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Edit: If you go to this guy's profile page, you'll see a few more drinks, with a different girl.

Smithwick's introduces you to your new boss

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Smithwick's Ale has set up an interview for you with a manager in their company. He'll ask you questions, you respond, then he tells you what he thinks of the answer. The best replies come from answering the questions mundanely.

If you get the job, you're then entered to win a big Plasma TV. Yeah, like you'd want one of those, they're SO 2004.

Smithwick's Not the Usual Inc Interview - [notheusual.ie]


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Pinky Vodka Launches

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What's old is new again. Remember when martini's were made of gin but started to lose popularity, often because of their "flowery" taste?

Well, Pinky Vodka is bringing that great taste of flowers back to the bar with their new release. The vodka is It's hand blended by wine tasters using 12 botanicals of violets, rose petals, and wild strawberries.

Oh! Wine tasters blended it. Then it must be good! Because they're wine tasters working on a vodka! Though I'm not sure that I'd let a heart surgeon operate on my brain, apparently this makes sense to someone.

The stuff sells for US$29.95 for 750ml or you can pay an extra $3 and get a box. Looks like it's only available in CA at the moment.

Pinky Vodka - [pinkyvodka.com]


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This week's Wine.Woot!

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This week's Wine.Woot is Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel. A great Zin from the hills of Napa and definitely worth every penny of the $126.99 for 6 bottles that they're charging. You're saving about $8 over what most other online shops are charging (though there are a few that charge a lot more). I found the range online to be between $22.50 and $40.99 a bottle.

So, this is worth the price, but not an incredible deal, imo. Woot is a place to get something at an insane price. You want to look at it and go "Wow. I have to get this at this price." $8 off just doesn't make me do that. C'mon Wine.Woot, time to step up.

Storybook Mountain Mayacamas Range Zinfandel - [wine.woot.com]