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Showing posts from May, 2007

Ethanol popularity means less tequila

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High gas prices were annoying but didn't bother me much until I learned about this.

High gas prices means that more people are interested in alternative fuels (this is good), that means ethanol is starting to take off (also good) which, in turn, means that corn is in much higher demand (okay), which means that farmer's are burning their agave crops in order to plant corn instead. This is very, very bad.

Tequila's popularity created a gold rush of sorts with the agave plant, which takes about 8 years before it can be harvested. There was so much agave planted that it drove down prices to rock-bottom levels, which also made it very easy for smaller players to enter the tequila market. Now that ethanol is popular, it's driving corn prices up and making it more profitable to burn the agave.

No good will come of this. Mark my words. NO GOOD!

Ethanol boom may fuel shortage of tequila

Website for French Wine Travel

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Wine writer, Wink Lorch, has developed a website that is independent of any company that has over 40 travel guides for helping you to get the most out of your French wine tour.

Initially covering French wine regions, there are more than 40 Guides available to view or print. Using experienced contributing writers with the inside knowledge of their area, the Guides provide recommendations on which wine producers to visit, where to stay and eat, wine and food shops, interesting attractions and much more.

The site is based on a subscription model rather than relying on advertisers, which I rather like. If you're the type that's traveling to France for a wine tour then purchasing a single guide for €11.01 or unlimited access including Michelin Green Guides and micro-region guides for €71.92 is not a big price to pay and more than worth every penny.

Expect to see other wine regions included as the site takes off.

Wine Travel Guides


Vodka Mudshake coming to Mexico, is the U.S. next?

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One of the most popular Ready-To-Drink (RTD) beverages in the world is the Vodka Mudshake. It has a unique blend of vodka and...milk, if you can believe that. The drink is sold pretty much everywhere but in the U.S. and has just entered Mexico, which could position itself pretty well for an entry in to America.

It has a fairly light consistency so it's not coming across like a protein shake and tends to be fairly sweet. It comes in Chocolate, Strawberry, Caramel, and Banana flavors. Could be some mixing even in between flavors there.

You can't really taste the alcohol in them and they have screwtops, which means they could have a hard time in the U.S. on the heels of Spykes being pulled.

Prices are all over the map in different countries, so who knows how much they'll cost here.

Vodka Mudshake

Review: Phillips Union Vanilla Whiskey

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Phillips Union found a way to create an unholy union of Canadian Rye with Kentucky Bourbon and have it come out smooth without breaking the bank. They then went one step further and added some flavors to the whiskey in order to stand out from the tons of other flavored spirits out there.

Chapter the First: In which we find our young taster looking at the bottle then decides you've already seen it
The bottle looks exactly like the damned picture you see here. Why do people comment on this? Seriously. I should stop but it's so trendy to tell you what I think of the bottle! It looks like a big freakin' bottle of whiskey.

Chapter the Second: In which our hero smells the drink and wonders how they put stripper perfume in there and still be drinkable
As always, I started it off in a glass all by itself. I put in a couple of ice cubes and started sniffing away. The smell of vanilla was so unbelievably strong that I probably could have used it for a linen spray. I'm a va…

Jaguar Vodka

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Jaguar Vodka's primary goal is to make a good vodka but if they make some money in the process, that's a nice thing and some of the money even goes to help preserve the native habitat of the jaguar.

This is no sex panther: Rather than use potato or grain to make their alcohol, they use sugar cane molasses which is what most people call "Rum" but it doesn't have the sugar and spices added and uses a proprietary process to reduce the molasses taste. Mix it with Barbados' finest water and a five-time-distillation process and you have a vodka without the burn of a lot of other vodkas.

Their site says they've saved 2,500,000 sq feet of rain forest through proceeds from Jaguar Vodka. Though that only works out to less than a tenth of a square mile, it's a start.

The vodka is available in 12 states right now and gaining steam. Use the store locater on their site to see if it's near you.

Jaguar Vodka - US$30

Mixed beer drinks

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There always seem to be two factions in the drinking world, the beer drinkers are on one side and the mixed drink lovers are on another. When their worlds collide, someone will pay and the price will be justice.

Drinks like the Beerita are bringing the worlds together in a total affront to all that is holy. Instead of adding Triple Sec in to the classic margarita recipe, add some beer. It supposedly lightens up the drink and, of course, makes it bubbly. BUBBLES!

One mixed beer drink that I've had is mentioned in the article. The Chelada is a light lager with lime and salt served over ice. Miller Brewing is even trying to cash in on the drink by offering Miller Chill, a bottled version off the drink.

So, when your summer party goes horribly awry with threats of violence as mixed drinkers once again confront beer fanatics, hose them down with the sweet taste of compromise.

Bartender, we'll have a round of Beeritas

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines

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Wine Spectator has published their top 100 wines of 2006 and it's a good one.

Sure, it has a few we'd expect, but it has some great deals that I like a lot including the Mueller Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Emily's Cuvee 2003 and the Matetic Syrah San Antonio EQ 2004, both under US$30.

Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2006
via Cheap Fun Wines

Lindsay Lohan and Svedka Vodka

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I'm pretty sure that people at Svedka Vodka are in the midst of getting fired right now.

First, they come out with one of the best ad concepts in quite some time, then execute it so poorly that I prefer to go out of my way just to avoid the ads. The next step was to decide to sponsor a 20 year old girl fresh out of rehab and provide the vodka and money for her 21st birthday party.

Lindsay then goes on a binge and gets caught while driving under the influence of *something* but no one is saying if it's the cocaine that they found in her car or alcohol.

Now, Svedka backs out because it's "irresponsible" to be involved with someone who just got a DUI. I guess no one thought that sponsoring an AA Member, fresh-out-of-rehab, cocaine snorting starlet might be a bad idea in the first place.

In a span of two weeks Svedka has been able to embarrass an entire industry and put a whole heapin' helpin' of shame upon themselves. I doubt they'll go out of business be…

Cocktails on the Fly Show

If you're looking for a web program that covers cocktails, then you'll be hard pressed to get more solid info than Alberta Straub's new show, Cocktails on the Fly. It doesn't have a plot of fun like Tiki Bar TV, but Alberta has a fun attitude, plenty of knowledge when it comes to cocktails, and an obsession with 60's jet culture. She also makes episodes more frequently. Do you hear that Tiki Bar TV??? More episodes!

Alberta's been around in magazines and cooking up drinks for 8 years in San Francisco including a 2004 award from SF Weekly for Best Bartender. She also doesn't look like a lot of the freakin' tools out there trying to tell me how to make damned Scotch on the rocks.

Check out the promo episode below and all the rest at Cocktails on the Fly.

Van Gogh Banana

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In a crowded vodka market, Van Gogh has decided to make sure they're seen by offering up new flavors like crazy. They're now at 19 flavors with the addition of their new banana infused vodka.

They've recently launched Acai-Blueberry and Double-Espresso and I guess they threw up another dart on to the "Wall of Flavors" to see which flavor they'd launch next. Actually, banana makes more sense than some of the other flavors they launched as banana can go with a lot more other flavors than something like pineapple and you can get some interesting mixes out of it. Chocolate-covered banana martini anyone?

Van Gogh Banana Vodka - US$25

Infrared Wine Thermometer and Corkscrew

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I know it *seems* like a good idea, but just opening a bottle of wine and then putting a meat thermometer in to the glass to be sure that it's the right temperature just doesn't work that well.

Oh sure, you may even have a wine fridge that keeps things at all the right temperatures, but are you willing to bet that US$5 bottle of wine on it? Are you willing to bet...your life?

Well, should terrorists ever kidnap you and make you play some sick game where the wine has to be right or they'll kill you, you'll be safe with this little baby. Just put the corkscrew up to the bottle and super-secret spy technology (read: infrared) will tell you what the temperature is INSIDE the bottle! It's like having ESP, except not.

Infrared Thermometer and Corkscrew - US$129.95
Found it at Coolest Gadgets

Bud.tv, ready to die?

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Waaaaaay back, a long, long time ago, all the way to February, Anheuser-Busch launched Bud.tv with the idea that taking someone out of their regular job and replacing them with a chimp would be the next big thing on the Internet Tubes and they'd sell more beer.

They spent about US$30 million (!!!) launching the site and keeping it moving and were hoping to get 2-3 million people a month. Imagine their chagrin when they saw the numbers at around 200,000 people a month. Further disappointment came as the sites' numbers fell even further to its current <100,000.

So, Mr. Busch said today that they'll probably just let the site die over the 2nd half of the year and use the content/contracts on some of their other sites. I think this is an important business lesson for us all: Your stuff shouldn't suck.

Is A-B Canning Bud.tv?

Cirrus Vodka Review

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I don't just take a few gold medals that a vodka shows off and trust that it's a good vodka, nope. I want to get my hands on the stuff and that's what I did as soon as I read about Cirrus vodka.

And I wasn't just going to have a few sips, write down a few notes as I swirled it around in my mouth, then get to the computer and put up some notes about it, nope. I've had the bottle for a while and have been slowly nursing it, pondering its beauty, trying to decide how best to describe it. It was a labor of love.

This is the part where I tell you about the bottle
The bottle evokes the blue sky days of wispy clouds and keeps it pretty simple. It's not in some freakish shape or wacky color or obnoxious text. It's clean, simple and keeps things on the down-low.

This is the part where I mention the smell
It's like walking in to a nice store that used to be a candy shop. It has a clean, crisp smell but with little hints of something else. Something sweeter. …

Absolut Vodka Commercial

Riot control goes wrong in this Absolut commercial that's part of the launch of their new campaign.

Edit: The song is “Boum” by/par Charles Trénet (1937). The commercial was filmed in Uruguay and was the largest production in the country's history.

Beer bands won't lose your beer

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Once you're 2, 3, or 15 hours in the party, all the beer bottles pretty much look the same, especially if it's one of those BYOB parties and everyone just brings a case of Coors Light because they're cheap bastards.

Beer bands uses the age-old armband technology that Lance Armstrong made popular with his "Live Strong" campaign and uses it for something other than helping all those freaking cancer patients. Well, I guess it could help cancer patients keep track of their beers too.

The bands come in 4 different categories and are all colored differently. You can get "Bombed etc" which includes ones like "blitzed, ripped, and hammered," or "Designated Driver" which has 10 "drunk" bands and two "driver" bands, "Personalities" which has "bed wetter, control freak, desperate" or "Mine" in which they all say "Mine."

So, make sure you don't have another night drinking another per…

Mixed drinks for guys

Okay, there has to be more than making a mixed drink for a guy than a scotch on the rocks (I can't believe someone made a video how to make this) without making them something pink.

LadyThrills has put out a few tips on making drinks just for the guys. Rules are: color (obviously, no pink), texture (not too sticky or syrupy), mixture (not sweet), and garnishes (think about it this way - most guys don't accessorize much).

Mixed drinks men love
via Slashfood

Late Night Shots

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LateNightShots is an invite-only social network for people in the Washington DC area and dedicated to the DC nightlife. Normally this would seem like a very small target-market but they've already got 10,000 members and haven't even started to launch in other cities.

When members sign-up, after being recommended by someone who's already a member, they have to input 5 bars and restaurants that are their favorites. Other features include a comprehensive list of happy hours in the city, neighborhood maps, event planning functionality, a dating component, the ability to send drinks to friends that can be redeemed at local bars, “spotting” friends at bars, and message boards.

They have plans to expand the site in to New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Dallas and Charlottesville later this year.

LateNightShots

Kai Vodka Launches

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Kai vodka, made in Vietnam, is setting itself apart in two ways. The first is that it's made from rice, the second is one of the flavors they're launching is lychee infused vodka.

Kai vodka is made from Yellow Blossom Rice cultivated only in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is pot-distilled and transferred to a column-still where it is redistilled twice.

The vodka is being launched via Hawaii and University of Hawaii MBA students as part of the team to design the bottle. The name kai can mean sea, in Hawaiian. It means pleasure in Japan and happy gathering in China. Interestingly enough, it means nothing in Vietnamese.

A 750ml bottle will sell for under US$30 even though they're designating the vodka as "ultra-premium." It will launch in Hawaii on June 2.

Kai Vodka

Spykes gets pulled from shelves

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I'm not usually that interested in pushing hard against most products that come out, I prefer to let the market decide, but Spykes was just too blatant.

I'm clearly not the only one that thought so. Anheuser-Busch pulled the drinks today "Due to its limited volume potential and unfounded criticism." I have no idea how they can say it's unfounded when even alcohol guzzling bloggers are calling the stuff ridiculous.

Farewell Spykes, we hardly knew ye. Thank God. Hopefully there are better ways to reach 21-29 year olds. Like Spuds Mackenzie.

A-B Spykes is liquidated

Tony Sinclair and Tanqueray Rangpur

With the help of award-winning director Tommy Kuntz, composer John Frizzell and production company MJZ, the brand has created an exclusive web adventure show dripping with flavor. In this episode, Tony Sinclair and his crew search for the rare Rangpur lime and find much more – a new mixable gin, Tanqueray Rangpur.

I haven't had a chance to try this stuff, but if you're in to 10 minute commercials, this one's about as good as they come.

Because it's there

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Budweiser's new vodka name gets analyzed

Here at Martini Groove, I just put the stuff up and call it like I see it, but there are those out there who go deeper and actually think about what they write. Though I have no concept of this, I can appreciate when someone does it.

When I posted about Budweiser's new trademark for a name for their vodka, Strategic Name Development went the extra mile and did an exegesis on the name, they also dug deeper in to the follow-up story to find that the vodka would consist of pomegranate and açaí (a native South American fruit).

Read the whole story here.

Smirnoff Blueberry Vodka launches

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Smirnoff has added to it's rather significant line of flavored vodkas with its new blueberry flavor, bring the total count to flavored Smirnoff vodkas to 11.

The recommendation is not just for a martini (which actually sounds perfect for the summer), but to also put it in drinks like a Mojito. It could make for a good Cosmopolitan too.

You can expect to see it on shelves in the next few weeks.

Budweiser does Vodka?

Word on the street is that Anheuser-Busch is going to come out with a vodka and put all of their marketing muscle behind it. The planned name is "Pomacai" and A-B filed for a federal trademark on it. I hope they bring back Spuds Mackenzie for it.

Pic from CAV wine bar

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A 7 glass flight at CAV Wine Bar in SF. HUGE pours.

New wine and food matcher launches

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Maybe you're sitting there wondering, right now, "What wine DOES go with a hot dog?"

Well, Natalie Maclean was thinking the same thing, so she launched her food and wine pairing site. It doesn't just cover the stuff like what dish to make with a Tempranillo, because EVERYONE knows the answer to that, but also covers stuff like what vino compliments Jell-O the best. It even goes on to allow you to search varietals so you can find which ones she specifically recommends.

You can also sign-up for her free newsletter that gives you lots of solid wine tips.

Nat Decants food and wine matcher

New name! Same great crap!

Sure, you may have us bookmarked, or in your RSS feed, but what about those that type in the name every time? I know you're out there because my Google Analytics tells me so.

And what happens when you want to tell your friends just how awesome it all is? You start to give the address and then just say "I'll e-mail it to you."

Fret no more! Just point your Tubes surfer to www.martinigroove.com (or .net!) and you'll be in the right place.

Even more changes coming!

More Martini-Lounge in Nightlyfe Magazine!

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The Martini Lounge is a multi-national conglomerate that has been around for thousands of years, controlling entire countries like tiny puppets.

As part of our continuing quest for global domination (and more free booze sent to us), we are now partnered with Nightlyfe magazine, your guide for the other 9-5.

So, not only can you get the latest info on nightclubs, music, and overall cool stuff, you can get your fix on us too!

Also, look for some big changes to the site coming soon. How about a URL that doesn't suck like the one we have now? How about some place to chat? Twitter updates? All that and more coming soon.

Martini Lounge at Nightlyfe magazine

Voodoo Tiki Tequila

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This was my Cinco de Mayo treat. Voodoo Tiki tequila sent me a bottle of everything in their product line. I cracked open the Green Dragon and loved it.

Malibu Banana Rum contest

Make a video to this remix of "Day-O" for Malibu Banana Rum and you could win a cool US$25,000 or a lush tropical banana grove. So yeah, take the money.

The contest runs through the end of June, click on the video below to get all the details.



North Korean liquor coming to America

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Though North Korea still falls under the "Trading with the Enemy" act, recent discussions have put that one up for grabs in an effort to bring North Korea in to the world market in exchange for them not nuking anyone.

Pyongyang Soju shipped last month from North Korea and is expecting to be on sale soon in specialty shops in New York and a few other major cities.

No word yet on if this will actually happen or if the stuff is just going to get stuck on the docks while political battle ensues.

North Korean liquor poised for U.S. debut

Metrokane Vacuum Decanter

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Decanting wine changes everything. Most people don't think it's that important to decant wine and will just suffer through a bottle that is mediocre or end up buying more expensive wine, whereas decanting wine can make an okay bottle a lot better and is a must for any of your older wines.

The Metrokane Vacuum Decanter serves a dual-purpose. It allows you to decant the wine in to it's stylish bottle and enjoy it at it's best tasting. However, if you don't drink it all, you won't have to worry. Just use the included pump to pull the air out and you'll have your wine ready to drink for another day. The pump even has a digital indicator on it so that you can know exactly when there's no more oxygen in the bottle.

It's even on sale now for US$68.99.

Metrokane Vacuum Decenter - US$68.99
via Gizmodo

Review: Smirnoff Ice Pomegranate Fusion

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Smirnoff Ice launched their new pomegranate flavored version of Ice a few weeks ago and I'm a huge pomegranate fan.

Smirnoff must have known of my love for the stuff as they sent me some for review. Well, not some. A whole case. This gives me a chance to get really in-depth about my review.

The bottle looks like the other bottles in the line but has the dark red label that you'd expect from pomegranate.

Right now, they have some contest running where they have a winner every 60 seconds if you pull the cap off and win something. I didn't win anything, but I have a whole case to keep trying. I'm in California and can't win anyway, oh well.

Most of the malt beverages in this space get too sweet when they add flavors. The pomegranate in this one is very light, stronger in an aftertaste than it is when you initially drink it and doesn't come across as extremely fruity. It's easily one of the better flavored drinks I've had and far and away the best of …

MySpace for the blog

Hey! If you're on MySpace, add me!

If you're not over 21 though, don't. I will delete you, because that's just weird.

http://www.myspace.com/martini_groove

Swan Decanter

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STOP STARING AT ME SWAN!!

Swan Decanter - US$79.95

360 eco-friendly vodka launches

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McCormick is a pretty well known vodka brand that's sold in just about every bar, whether you know it or not, it's often the well vodka that you get when you order a vodka-tonic (Please tell me you don't order a Grey Goose and tonic and expect to taste the difference).

The bottle is made using 85% recycled glass and has a unique closure. All of the packaging and print is done in an environmentally friendly manner. To add to it, they're donating US$1 from each bottle sold to their "360 Close the Loop" program that gives the money to recognized environmental organizations.

Much really isn't said about the actual taste or the process for distilling. Does the water come from an easily renewable source? Is it filtered through Hippies? This kind of thing should be in the press release.

Of course, this does come from a company who's founder also founded the Pony Express, so maybe there's something to it...

360 Vodka