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Showing posts from November, 2006

Rare limited edition and special Scotches

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Jonathan Forester over at Slashfood is the drinking man's man. He clearly does his research and knows what it is he's researching.

If you're not a Scotch drinker it's not easy to buy something for someone who is. Slashfood has come up with a pretty good list of Scotch ranging from US$40 to US$5995.

I like that they included the Compass Box Whiskey, it's a good one and well worth the price.

Rare limited edition and special Scotches

Rules for the savvy drinker

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Esquire popped out with some rules for the savvy drinker. Full of quality snobbery and a few yucks, here's some of the more pertinent ones.

5) Actually, never open a frozen drink.

31) There is no upside to karaoke.

35) Sitting at the bar never works for 2 people. Three or more requires a table.

69) When all else fails, have a martini.

The Rules
via Liquor Snob

WineCountry.com Relaunches

Winecountry.com is like Napa's version of CitySearch.com but without all the annoying reviews from people who are only pissed off at the restaurant.

Their site has relaunched with some new navigation and tons of information to help you be ready for that next trip to Napa, whether it's your once in a lifetime dream vacation or a weekend excursion, they got you covered.

They even have a nightlife guide by our buddy Courtney Cochran. Check out the new launch.

Winecountry.com Relaunch

Free personalized spirits labels from Pernod Ricard

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If you want to give a special bottle of alcohol away this Christmas, Pernod Ricard is making it so you can look extremely cool by sending you free, customized labels to tack on to the bottle of 18 year old Scotch you bought for your boss.

Now you can say "I hope you choke on this for not giving me that promotion. Happy Holidays" with style!

Your Gift Label

Martini Lounge Gift Guide: Gadget Edition

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Buying just got more fun with the Martini Lounge's Gift Guide. I'll do two of these, maybe three. This one focuses on gadgets and whatnot. The other one's will focus on wine and booze, or maybe I'll split those two up. Either way, you're getting this one and once you see it, it'll really be all you need for that alcohol loving person in your life.

No, no need to thank me. Really, your valued readership is more than anyone can ask for. Also, I like Scotch and Gin, just in case.

The Bar Master
The Bar Master stores 1,000 drinks, has a a pretty easily navigable menu, and can search drinks by various types, including occasion. It also has some pretty large buttons, which allow you to use it as you sample more and more of its library of drinks.

The little thing even demonstrates mixing techniques and has some built-in jokes, so that when your witty banter is drying up at the end of the night, you have a fully fresh repository to bring life anew to the party.

The B…

Wine.Woot gives New Year's Love

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New Year's Eve is going to be here before you know it and you'll be looking around for something "bubbly" to drink and have to settle on some bottle of Korbel that you've had in the garage for the last 3 years. Unless you're at some swanky party, then they'll give you Korbel that is only been in someone's garage for a year.

This is the New Year, man! What are you THINKING? These moments are going to set the tone, the cadence for the entire next year. What you do shortly after midnight says to the world, "Hey World! I'm doing something!" So, why not do the right something?

Wine.Woot has a trio of Sparkling Wines that are sure to do their part for the new year. They won't hold back, make you look like a slouch, or leave you wanting more. Hell, you won't even be able to say that about your New Year's date!

The S. Anderson 2000 Brut Rose, 2000 Blanc de Noirs, and 1999 Blanc de Blanc are 3 fine sparklers that will make you fe…

Bulldog Gin

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Gins are starting to come out at the same pace as...well...vodkas about a year ago. Here's the neat thing though, gins actually have "character" and "depth" and won't make you look like a "complete, fucking tool" when you order it. Something vodka can rarely do.

(Awwww, Rick's sorry, Vodka. Come back. Rick didn't mean it. Rick loves you).

Though gin's are starting to use some vodka terms like "Ultra-Premium" and "100 times filtered," Bulldog Gin has put together a nice set of flavors (according to their press release, which, when printed out, tastes very good) and has a pretty cool looking bottle which will at least get you a "What the heck is that?" from someone looking at the bar.

Fun Fact: 2006 is the Chinese Year of the Dog! Perfect for the launch! Glad he got it off before 2007. Trying to launch in the Year of the Boar would have just been downright awkward.

Bulldog Gin

New version of expensive software uses free search engine

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I don't care what you have in your cellar, if you can't find it all, you're useless and your wine collection sucks.

eSommelier will set you back a coo US$5000 but it comes with a touch-screen (Remember what Nintendo said, "Touching is good") and over 150,000 wines already loaded in to its database.

The new version now has every rating from Robert Parker (Does anyone know what will happen to the wine world when this guy dies? Anyone?), an ethernet port for updates, and the ability to search Google Images to find bottle labels.

Of course, you can enter your own notes as well, but seriously, who wants to know what you think about a wine? IT'S ROBERT PARKER DAMMIT!

eSommelier Wine Management Server

Christmas Wine Accessories

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I know you're just waiting to hear:

"Oh my, where DID you get that clever Rudolph Jumping Rope bottle stopper?"

or

"That reindeer bottle holder is the cutest thing I've ever seen!"

Either way, the Wine Enthusiast has your number on their collection of Christmas stuff. They've launched a few pages of Christmas Wine Accessories that are going to make your holidays that much cuter.

Unless you're Jewish, I guess Wine Enthusiast doesn't think Jewish people need cute things for the holidays, because there's no Jewish stuff. I mean, I guess you could take the little glasses they have with snowflakes on them and say it's Chanukah stuff, but that's just not the same.

Wine Enthusiast Christmas Wine Accessories

The Vodka War in Europe makes US news

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The EU has been in a fight for a few years about what actually constitutes vodka. Of over 500 posts on this blog I've only covered the topic 1 other time, mostly because it's a big policy fight about economics and has little to do with the people that actually care about vodka.

However, the NY Times is covering it and has done a pretty good job of synopsis of the story up until now. At the heart of the story is the question of whether vodka must be made from a potato or a grain, or if it can be made from pretty much anything, such as grapes, maple syrup, or malted barley.

The story gives some good history about the origins of vodka, what it is today, and the current fight that's going on.

Vodka World Shaken, and Stirred, by Fruit Spirits

Single Malt Vodka

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Take all the ingredients of a great single malt Scotch and make it in to a vodka, that's pretty much what the makers of Valt vodka have done.

It's 100% Scottish malted barley and soft Highland water from the River Spey, the malt vodka has all natural ingredients distilled five times in traditional copper pot stills.

The makers say the distinct, mellow taste of the drink is aimed specifically at the 21-40 year old age group. Of course, that seems like the pretty common age group, not a lot of other choices. Maybe some drink should focus strictly on the 65+ crowd on fixed incomes.

So the list grows of "Things To Make Vodka From." I'm all for giving vodka some more character and look forward to trying this one.

Raise your glass to a single malt...vodka!


Luxist Holiday Gift Guide

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One of the sites I regularly read (and link to, even though IT NEVER LINKS BACK TO ME ON MY STORIES!) is Luxist. They often have booze news that I don't get first.

They've now published a Holiday Gift Guide that doesn't suck like a lot of the gift guides out there. Anyone think I should push one out? If so, I hope you like porn! BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU'LL BE GETTING!

Though not every item is a winner, it's a good one for the wine lovers. Check it out.

Luxist Holiday Gift Guide
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Wine Spectator's Top 100

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Wine Spectator has come out with their Top 100 wines for 2006.

At the top of the list is the Casanova di Neri 2001 Brunello Di Montalcino. It's made from Sangiovese grapes and aged in Slavonian Oak barrels for 30 months, then in the bottle for a year. It sells for about US$70 and about 45,000 bottles were produced, so you have a chance of finding one., though I wouldn't expect it to go for 70 bucks anymore.

Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2006
Casanova di Neri
via Days That End in "Y"

Slashfood Gin Notes Roundup

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There are only a few sites that I look forward to reading everyday. One of them is Slashfood. I actually have it at the very bottom of my RSS feeds list so that I have it as my "reward" for getting through my feeds.

They fine editors there have fought the good fight and reviewed over the past couple of weeks some off the more well-known, and 1 or 2 less popular, gins.

Gins are taking their rightful place at the head of the martini class as people are figuring out that vodka tends to be pretty standard. Sure vodka can go with almost anything (and I still absolutely love it), but gin has character and definition that vodka regularly lacks.

So, the reviews are:
Bulldog GinCascade Mountain GinCitadelle GinDamrak Amsterdam GinGin No. 209Gordon's London Dry GinHampton's GinMagellan GinMartin Miller's Reformed London Dry GinPlymouth GinTanqueray London Dry GinTanqueray No. TenSeagram's Extra Dry GinSouth GinZuidam Dry GinThe author, Jonathan Forester, clearly know…

Pocket Shot

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Going to the in-laws house and need a quick taste of tolerance?
Pocket Shot!

Crashed in the middle of the ocean and on a deserted island with no one to talk to except the guy who was in 3C on the plane and thinks that anything having to do with Vanilla Ice is cool?
Pocket Shot!

Out on a blind date and realizing why the person who set you two up kept describing your date as "A great cook?"
Pocket Shot!

Pocket Shot come in flexible, squishy, nearly-unbreakable bottles that give you one of your favorite drinks anytime, anywhere (including detox). With flavors like vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey (Bourbon), and gin, you're sure to find a flavor that grandma likes so you can sneak it in to her at the home.

Best part is you can buy a box of these babies with 120 in the box. Hellloooooo Saturday Night!

Pocket Shot

Bud's Holiday Bottles

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Just like Shamrock Shakes, the Cadbury's Easter Bunny commercial, and Mountain Dew's new summer drink, the world awaits with breathless anticipation for Budweiser's Holiday Bottles, except not bottles because they're aluminum.

Nothing makes me want to drink bad beer more than putting my lips to something that makes me look like I have no self-respect. Go out and grab a six pack right now!

Budweiser Holiday Bottles
via Bottle Watch

Tiki Bar TV Episode 21 "Snake"

It's a new Tiki Bar TV with plenty of Lala Hotness! Check it out!

The Thirsty Traveler

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Travelistic has lot's of juicy stuff, but the stuff that's relevant to us drinkers is their vlog, The Thirsty Traveler.

The guy does lot's of fun stuff and updates regularly. He does sake in Japan, Oktoberfest in Munich, and Mead on the shores of England.

Here's a taste of his travels in Hungary Australia.





Thirsty Traveler on Travelistic

Battery operated wine opener

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I've had just about every wine opener imaginable. One's that go on your keychain, fit in your glove compartment, ones that are gas powered, one of the first jackrabbit corkscrews ($120???).

There is something to be said about taking your favorite hand wine opener and massaging the cork out of the bottle. It's a time-honored and comforting ritual and despite all the gadgets that are around my house, the novelty of the wine openers eventually wears off and I'm back to my trusty hand one.

The Oster Inspire Cordless Opener may actually be something that sticks around though. When it comes to Christmas parties or regular get togethers this thing can really shine.

It opens up to 30 bottles on a single charge (Read: about 15 bottles) and has a foil cutter built in to make it quick. Now you can pop open those bottles at your parties with a minimum of fuss and move on to enjoying that bottle of Yellow Tail a guest bought.

Oster Inspire Cordless/ Rechargeable Wine Bottle Open…

O2 Sparkling Vodka Review

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A huge box showed up today that I immediately ripped in to thinking that my pectoral implants finally arrived.

Much to my delight it was a two bottles of O2 Sparkling Vodka, one was the regular version and one was the premium. For the sake of all involved, but mostly for the sake of my neighbors as I open up a new bottle of vodka, I tried the regular version first.

I tried it first with just a few ice cubes to cool it down. I was almost able to define the two parts of the drink: The vodka and the bubbly. The vodka tastes a lot like Precis vodka which I decided was a good thing as Precis is a vodka that's not trying to just be clean and flavorless but actually has some distinctive flavor and bite to it. The bubbly part of it makes it taste like a vodka-soda.

The first taste of it took me by surprise, but then I thought of the millions of drinks that I could now make thanks to this remarkable libation. I decided to try it with two splashes of cranberry and it opened up in to a s…

The Total Blender

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I hate blenders for the most part. You always have to plead, prod, or cajole them in to doing whatever it is you want. It's rare when you can just hit a button and get the result from a blender that you want.

The Blendtec Total Blender is basically like a jet turbine sitting inside this blender case. It has the capability of turning just about anything in to a fine puree that a person in the most vegetative of states (like me on Sunday morning) can swallow down.

They even have videos on their site showing it blending up golf balls, marbles, and a can of Coke (full) with a rotisserie chicken. Just like Mom never made!

Blendtec Total Blender - US$400

Beer Booty

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Okay, so this one isn't so you can sneak beer in to the park like the Beer Belly, it's so that when you get in to the park, you can park your ass somewhere that's a little more comfortable.

The Sit n Sip is a seat filled with your favorite beverage and with every sip, becomes less of a seat because it's filling you with your favorite beverage. It's kind of like a Camelbak, except of going on your back, it gets warm under your ass.

Sit n Sip US$24.99

Tequila Lovers Group

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Voodoo Tiki, the same one's that offer you your Tequila Diploma, have started a Meetup group for Tequila Lovers. If that's you, then head on over to Meetup.com.

If you sign-up before December 15, you get the "Gourmet Margaritas" recipe guide, which you'll promptly give to someone else as a stocking stuffer.

Tequila Lovers Meetup
Voodoo Tiki Tequila

Drinkable Dessert Contest

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If you can think of a yummy drink that uses any of Bailey's flavors, then you may very well be on your way to drinking stardom.

The Bailey's Drinkable Dessert Recipe Contest let's you submit that drink you've been making for friends on the side and gives you a chance to have it published in Gourmet magazine.

If you're a pro bartender, you also get to be part of local promotional efforts, though they don't say exactly what. Amateur's seem to get a nice prize as they fly you out to New York City and put you in a class with Gourmet magazine's Chef, Jennifer Day.

You have until December 15, so get moving!

Bailey's Drinkable Dessert Contest

Glass of Truth tumblers

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Just like Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth, these glasses aren't.

Instead, these glasses allow your fingertips do the warming so that the subtle aromas and flavors of your favorite wine come out without the rush that you often get when your whole hand is warming the wine. The tapered opening keeps those smells in so you can take your time enjoying them as well.

They're hand-blown in the Czech Republic and cost US$38.00 for the pair.

Glass of Truth Tumblers

Vitamin beer makes your huge gut feel better

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With the launch of vodkas, gins, and energy drinks that are supposed to be good for you, it was only a matter of time before a beer came along telling you that it was good for your health.

Beers take certain vitamins out of you as you drink them and Stampede Light Beer puts them back in, including:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
FolateThe beer also has no fat to boot.

Sounds like it's pretty good for you and could stop you from getting hangovers. Therefore I'm sure it tastes like donkey swill.

Stampede Light Beer
via Bottle Watch

DH Krahn Gin launches

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It's really great to see new product launches going from who can make the most tasteless Vodka (which, don't get me wrong, is very nice) to products that have much deeper flavors and more distinguishing characteristics.

DH Krahn Gin is a blend of Italian juniper berries, Moroccan coriander seed, Florida oranges, California lemon and grapefruit, and Thai ginger, and singled-distilled in "Stupfler Alambic" pot stills, which is just a fancy name for the guy who invented the still and the process it flows through and has been around since about 800 AD.

Look forward to seeing this in a store near you soon.

DH Krahn Gin - US$26.99

Tasting Robot unveiled; Says humans taste like bacon

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NEC and Mie University have come out with their much promised robot that tastes food for you and let's you know what it is.

The robot can taste pretty much anything, even that piece of mystery meat that you found in your car, but it is mostly for tasting wines.

When it has identified a wine, the robot speaks up in a childlike voice. It names the brand and adds a comment or two on the taste, such as whether it is a buttery chardonnay or a full-bodied shiraz, and what kind of foods might go well on the side.

Someday it will replace wine reviewers. Then I hope it can taste sweet revenge! BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT IT WILL BE WHEN I SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!

Japanese unveil robot wine steward

Absolute Bling

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If you can't make a crappy vodka better, then at least put it in a package that people may want to get then don't sell it to American's because the rest of the world pretty much hates us and they'll buy it for the sheer fact that we can't get it.

That's Absolut Bling Bling, ready for your holiday cheer! Sales perfection!

Absolut Bling Bling

Sparkling Vodka

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It's vodka! It's SPARKLING! This might just be crazy enough to work!

It took 18 months to create the process that puts oxygen bubbles into the vodka. The British vodka is produced from wheat and a small amount of malted barley then distilled and filtered three times in 100-year-old copper pot stills. When these pots were made, the San Francisco earthquake was just a gleam in the San Andreas fault's eye!

Why has this one not been shipped to me yet? I want to try it! For some reason they're launching in Canada first, why should America Jr. get it first?

O2 Sparkling Vodka

Freshies make it easy

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Let's face it. Some drinks are a pain in the butt to make. Sure, they may taste tons better if you hand muddle ever single Mojito or make a Bloody Mary from your Grandma's Tomatoe Puree, but c'mon, who wants to do that stuff all the time? What are you? Mother Theresa? Now THERE was a girl who could hold her liquor!

Freshies take all that hassle out of mixing things and does it while still being all natural (Yes, just like your girlfriend). It allows you to get all the flavor of your drink and let's you get to the important part: Drinkin!

The popular (in CA) Whole Foods carries them now and you can get the yummy flavors of Margarita, Mojito, Bloody Mary (with 3 kinds of hotness), and Sweet and Sour. Perfect for your big party.

Freshies

Flabongo makes it fun!

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Hey, making the special day of your wedding a fun and unique experience takes a lot of thought. You only get married 3 or 4 times in your life, it's important to make it special! How do you do that?

Well, no more Chicken Dance for YOUR drunken guests! You're going to show them a good time and do something special to boot! BRING ON THE FLABONGO!

Fill up the Flabongo with your favorite alcoholic beverage, tip it over, then drink out of it's mouth. Just like it does when it's regurgitating shrimp for its chicks! How do you fill it? Through a handy portal in it's ass! Nothing says "I Love You" on that special day more than shoving a bottle of beer in a plastic flamingo's ass.

Get yours today! OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!

Flabongo - US$17.97
via Liquor Snob

Martini's to go!

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Ever grab for a beer out of an ice chest and wish it was a martini instead?

Me neither, but that's only because I didn't KNOW about Metropolitan Martini's! These babies come in packs of two, just in case of the off-chance that you might want to share a drink rather than just sit down to two martini's by yourself.

They come in flavors of vodka martini (of course), Cosmopolitan (shown), Apple Martini, and Chocolate Martini. Something for the fellas and the ladies. They sell for US$11.99-$13.00 for a pack of two. So you just throw it in the fridge, peel off the lid when you're ready, and drink away.

Peel open a cold one!

Metropolitan Martini's

National Harvey Wallbanger Day

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Okay, so it's just a screwdriver with a Galliano float, but that gives it its own name (as every good drink should have) and, for some reason, gives it its own day of the year.

thatsthespirit.com is promoting the day as well and tells you how the drink got it's name (I'm going for story number 1). So lift your glass high in the morning to Harvey Wallbanger! If nothing else because it's just a cool drink name to say.

Harvey Wallbanger Day

The Fusion Bar Cart

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If you take an old medical cart, make a few modifications, add some booze in to it, then it becomes a completely NEW type of medical cart.

The B52 Fusion Bar Cart has some big-assed wheels on it too as the thing ways over 200 pounds (My fighting weight!) and it will set you back US$1,490. Take heart though, that does include shipping.

B52 Bar Cart - US$1,490

Gin 209 Review

I went to Bourbon and Branch late last week and had some of the Gin 209 which I discussed in an earlier note.

Let's clarify something here, I *really* like gin, but this stuff can be summed up in one short sentence. It tastes like poo.

That is all.

Delta mixes it up

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The only airline that has done anything to make it less miserable to fly across the country in coach class lately is JetBlue. Nice people, satellite TV, and seats that actually fit tall people.

Delta is at least on the right path by working with After Midnight, owners of several New York bars and clubs, to create signature cocktails. All part of Delta's new focus to bring some class back to the skies and all for only US$5.

Delta Air Lines Partners with Nightlife Entrepreneur Rande Gerber to Create New, Worldwide Signature Cocktail Program for Customers
via Drink of the Week

Stag's Leap Appelation

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The Stag's Leap district is consistently one of the best area of an already great wine region. The best of the best.

This collection of 15 bottles from the appellation give you the area's best wines and are made specifically for this collection. All your faves are in there.

They have 300 cases going for US$1200, which is actually a pretty good price for 15 bottles from that area. Very much worth the dough.

Stag's Leap Appellation Collection - US$1200

The Modern Spirits Vodka Story

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I've posted about Modern Spirits vodka before. They're the ones that will create a unique, distinctive vodka based on flavors you choose, or let you choose one of theirs. Including flavors like Black Truffle, Rose Petal, and Celery Peppercorn.

The company seems to be taking off from their roots of only being sold at the Ritz Carlton to now distributing in 9 states. The husband and wife time have recently had an article written about the creation of the company and how things are moving along.

It's a love story that came together to create a vodka, which is a nice twist since it's usually vodka that ends up creating the love (read: lust) stories.

Husband and wife duo make vodka sensations

Gin 209

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Gin 209 is made in San Francisco on one of the piers (Pier 50) and touts itself as the only distillery that is over water.

This is a small batch gin but has some great distribution behind it so people shouldn't have too much of a problem finding it. It's gin with a distinctive California twist as it has orange, lime, and lemon flavors but mixed nicely with cinnamon, cardamom, and juniper.

Head over to Slashfood for the full tasting notes.

Gin 209 - US$39
via Slashfood

Almond Joy Martini

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This one's a great Fall drink. The Almond Joy martini has light coconut flavors with hints of almond and chocolate. Hard one to beat when you have a bit of a sweet tooth.

Shake 1 oz. each of coconut-flavored rum (Parrot Bay or Malibu), Frangelico, Godiva or other chocolate-flavored liqueur, Hershey's chocolate syrup, and vodka. Add 4 oz. half and half or light cream, shake with ice, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with shredded coconut.

Enjoy!

Global Warming makes good vodka

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In the Great White North things are warming up. This means that small icebergs (Growlers) are breaking off from large icebergs. Iceberg products are now taking these Growlers and using them for the water in their vodka and gin's.

Iceberg vodka is grain distilled from Peaches and Cream corn. That's the sweet corn that has the yellow and white kernels on it. Iceberg Gin says to have the same stuff in it, though I'm not sure how that process works with the grain distillation.

The website is full of spelling errors (Apparently, they're "Candadian") and it seems that their marketing department hasn't really talked to their production department, but the bottle looks pretty cool.

No idea how much it costs but there is a video on their website about the harvesting.

Iceberg Vodka and Gin
via The Spirit World