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Showing posts from January, 2008

Vodka's still cool

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Most of us wine and spirits bloggers tend to get ahead of themselves because we're always looking for the next big thing, which would explain the plethora of Absinthe and Cachaça blog posts in the last few months.

However, when you're out there hitting the bars and clubs, you still see that the majority of cocktails that people order have vodka in them. Vodka's light flavors make it easy to for bartenders to design drinks around it as it can be easily flavored to taste like just about anything. The fact that Lindsay Lohan can't seem to stay away from the stuff doesn't seem to be hurting it's street cred either.

This article talks about some of the new things being done with vodka, the chicken of alcohol.

Vodka, Clearly Cool as Ice

Cork Taint bGone!

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Corks made from the real bark of a cork tree are pretty sweet. They look cool, you can collect them all, and they're sustainable! Oh, but the taint. Up to 9% of bottles? WHAT? The steam cleaning they use to get rid of that bacteria must not be working well.

Corks made from non-corky things, such as plastic, claim they're able to stop cork taint, but some recent studies have shown that they're not much better.

A company called Oeneo is saying they have the problem solved. Using their specialized "Diamant:" process they're able to remove all of the molecules and compounds that cause TCA.

They'll even hook you up with a free sampling kit that lets you smell the differences yourself. And if there's anything I know about you, it's that you like to smell things.

Taint Free Corks

Orange Liqueur's are important dammit

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This is a great story. It starts out with an anecdote about some wanna-be connoisseur who order a high-end vodka then proceeded to dump a powdered Cosmo mix in it and then called it a "Real Cosmopolitan."

Just like the guy who orders a Red Bull and Grey Goose because he thinks he can taste the difference. Bonehead.

Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, and Countreau are all vital to mixing certain drinks and shouldn't be substituted with non-alcoholic mixers or powders. Yes, this includes "Stirrings" that everyone seems to be buying at Cost Plus and BevMo.

Just say No. Keep it real. There's plenty of fish in the ocean. It looks like the upper hand is on the other foot, etc, etc.

Read about these important orange liqueurs and some you haven't heard of in this Washington Post article.

Splurges you can't afford to skip

Wine and chocolate for Valentine's Day

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You won't see a bunch of Valentine's Day posts from me, no sir. However, the fact that you gave your wife a vacuum for Valentine's Day last year has me a bit concerned, so I thought I'd help you out with enough notice of something simple you can do to make it just that much better.

Natalie MacLean has gone through the trouble of giving us the top 10 wine and chocolate matches. She didn't make it hard on you by giving you specific brands of chocolates and wines that you had to buy for the pairing, it's a simple list of types of chocolates and types of wines, that gives you some room for a bit of creativity and a way of "making it your own." Much like the vacuum.

Top 10 wine and chocolate matches
Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, FranceChocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, ItalyChocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, AustraliaChocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, PortugalMilk Chocolate and Tokaji, HungaryBittersweet Chocolate and Amarone…

Tequila boom means tequila bars

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One of the age-old questions is almost always "What wine goes with Mexican food?" The answer is always complicated but without much cause, the Good People of Mexico have already solved the problem for us.

Not only are Mexican restaurants starting to stock hundreds of tequilas but tequila bars are popping up all over that allow you to sample hundreds of tequilas. The tequilas are much like wine and always have a story about their production and their taste ranges from burn-your-throat to sipping-smooth.

When you walk in to a bar and it has 96 blanco tequilas, 130 reposados, 121 añejos, some snacks to help you not fall over, then you know you've found the right tequila place.

Tequila has changed significantly since the time you made that "Girls Gone Wild" video on Spring Break in Cancun (Wow, did your kids feel awkward). The good stuff has no burn, is great for sipping (shooting is ridiculous), and costs enough that you'll be glad that The Fed lowered intere…

Twitterific!

Are you following me on Twitter? If not, then you're only getting half the story!

Sign-up yourself and follow me for even more sarcasm, drinking stories, and the links that I don't necessarily want to write about but make for interesting reading.

http://twitter.com/martinigroove

The classic cocktail lounge with geek cred

Eyecandy lounge at Mandalay Bay not only has the finest in fresh cocktails and signature drinks, but has interactive touch tables with iPod docks. The table allows you to plug in your iPod, see your playlists, then the DJ can select from it and play it over the main sound system.

Finally! You can show the world how "hip" you are by making sure that Tokyo Rose and Massive Attack are at the top of the list. Just be sure to hide your Captain and Tennille: The Early Years from prying eyes.

The dance floor itself is interactive so when you dance on it, it will light up and bring attention to how light on your feet you are when you show the world how you can Smurf and Cabbage Patch.
Here's my favorite part of the whole deal: It's one of Vegas' only non-smoking nightclubs. Table service costs around US$200 an hour (fairly average) and drinks are an inexpensive US$6-10.

Here's some video of it.


via BornRich

Martini: Bruising the gin debate

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I'll just start with saying this: You can't bruise gin.

However, you don't want to shake it so much that it's filled with little ice crystals and waters it down so much you'll feel like you're in a Speakeasy.

The shaking vs. stirring debate rages on and will almost always come down to personal preference. Stirring blends the ingredients (try it with different colored spirits and you'll see) while shaking it actually emulsifies it, changing the flavor.

We can all get along here. Just ask the bartender what you'd prefer and they should be glad to do it. They would rather make you a drink you like over just making you a drink that you'll tolerate.

You can read more about these life-changing items as well as research from around the world that is changing cocktail shaking technology so we can all have a brighter tomorrow.

Martini: Shaking can bruise the gin

Drink recipes to keep you warm

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With all the talk of vodka martini's and gin gimlet's, you'd think that you'd have to drink something iced just to be satisfied, not something that's too interesting when it's so cold out that you're wondering what the hell Al Gore is talking about.

Come in out of the cold and warm up to drinks that will warm you up quicker than you can say, "Wow! That really warmed me up!" Try drinks like The Nutty Irishman, a Café Brulot, and Hot Buttered Rum.

Look! That last one has "hot" right in the name! You know it's going to be nice and warm!

These 3 recipes and six others are available for your enjoyment at Fine Living Network. The network that reminds you that you don't have enough money to do anything you really want to do.

9 Hot Winter Cocktails

Rose Petal Vodka

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Modern Spirits is home of the unique flavors that are either incredibly hated or completely loved. Their list includes products like Pear Lavender Vodka and Pumpkin Pie Vodka and, as expected, come out with mixed reviews.

Their latest seasonal flavor is Rose Petal Vodka, just in time for Valentine's Day. The founders of Modern Spirits grew 3 rose varieties in their backyard and infused their vodka with the essences. This gives the vodka flavors from sweet floral to spicy herbal.

Modern Spirits Rose Petal Vodka - US$42.99

Free Pravda Vodka Mini

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I know you want your mini bar collection to be as big as mine (pics of this to come). Start your collection now with Pravda's offer of a free vodka mini!

They also send you a little brochure on how the vodka is made! Yay Internets!

Pravda Vodka Mini Offer

How to drink Absinthe

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As with any drink that has been around for a long time, Absinthe is steeped in history, tradition, and extreme headaches. Now that the licorice flavored herbal drink is legal in the US and we can expect a big rush for The Green Fairy, at least initially, it might be good to learn how to drink the stuff.

Wikihow has an article with everything you need to know about Absinthe. From how to select the right one (louche effect!), the different preparation methods for drinking it (glass in a glass for me), and how to not cut off your ear.

How to drink Absinthe
Absinthe FAQ

Report on Premium Vodka made in Kansas

Fox Vodka is made in Kansas and has gotten fairly good reviews. Here's a news report on the first distillery to open in Kansas since Prohibition.

Sorry, no embed tag.

My Fox Milwaukee report on Fox Vodka

Toga Party Science

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The Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Studies and Services at San Diego State University recently did a study of college parties and came up with a stunning revelation: Playing drinking games at parties leads people to have higher blood alcohol content.

Okay, so your tax dollars weren't a total waste. They also came up with a few other handy conclusions:
• Having a lot of drunk people at a party led to a higher overall average blood alcohol level
• Girls tended to drink more at themed parties than they would at a party that they attended without a costume
• Larger parties tended to have less drunks

Of course, this basically gives a guideline for frat boys to throw a party: Make sure your party has a theme and don't invite too many people.

They plan to continue this study in order to help find out how they can get party-hosts to safely stop drinking games without killing the party and to ensure that everyone at the party can absolutely, positively, get sex.

Inside college parties: …

Herr Vodka

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I don't know a lot about this vodka as details are rather sketchy, but do you really want to know? I mean, really?

All I know is that "Herr" means "Man" in German. 'nuff said.

2008 already rules you in the pants

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Wow, what an amazing New Year! The two weeks off did me good and Martini Groove is coming back stronger than ever.

Of note:

- Martini Groove is now part of the FoodBuzz network. One of the new, hot networks of food and drinking articles. This will make me wildly popular and make me great at parties. This means that there will be some ads running on the site, but I promise you this, all money will go exclusively to weekly drinking binges. So click on those banners!

- You'll be seeing even more of me in Nightlyfe magazine. The magazine is going to start publishing me monthly in print and their ezine and they are increasing their circulation so you can buy it at newsstands in places like Borders, Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton Booksellers, Hastings, Walden Books, and lots more places. If you would like a signed copy, please send one to me. I will then return it with a picture of my bare ass and a recording of me laughing at you.