The funniest, least fair, yet most insightful booze tweet of 2013 so far: “Vodka Expert. That’s like saying you write children’s books, right?”
The funniest, least fair, yet most insightful booze tweet of 2013 so far: “Vodka Expert. That’s like saying you write children’s books, right?”
Excuse the crude Photoshop, but there are literally no photos from the manufacturer of this product that I can use, even on this blog.
It will come as no surprise to any sentient adult that makers of alcoholic beverages have used sex from time to time to sell their product. Rule 5 is more often employed with selling booze (especially beer) than even in in blogging. Sexually charged images of attractive people draw attention. I guess I should be surprised it has taken this long for the industry to strap on water skis and jump that shark, but jump it it has. I’ve thought it had done so before, with Cabana cachaça, then again with Ron de Jeremy, but I was wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you G Spirit rum, whisky, and vodka. That link goes to the website, but be warned it is not remotely safe for work.
What distinguishes G Spirit spirits, beside naked pictures of topless women showing off the, ahem, product? Well, below is a picture from the company. Understand, this photo depicts the production process!
And yeah, I cropped hell out of it. Click for a bigger, but still cropped version. If you visit the G Spirit website, you will not be able to avoid seeing it uncropped.
Yup, the thing about G Spirit is, every drop was poured over the naked body of the master distiller you see above before bottling. Actually, just the rum is poured over Miss Amina Malakona there. There are equally, um, qualified young ladies who sluice off the whisky and the vodka. And yes, each bottle comes with a photograph to authenticate the process!
I have no chance to see what any of these spirits taste like personally, as they are not yet available in the US. I can tell you that, for instance, G Whisky No. 1 boasts that its “versatile flavours range from roasted almonds, dried fruit, and toffee, to honey, vanilla, baked apples and cinnamon”, as well as the breasts of 2012 Hungarian Playmate of the Year, Alexa Varga. Part of her prize for winning that honor was to be immediately flown to Germany to have 5000 bottles of scotch poured over her boobies.
I confess that even if I had access to a bottle of this stuff, I could probably pick out and confirm the vanilla, apples, and cinnamon flavors, but I could not vouch for Miss Varga’s breasts. Well, I’ve been to their website, so I can sure vouch for them, but I mean I could not vouch for the taste of…
Oh God, never mind.
The rum is an 11 year blend, the whisky a 12 year single malt, and the vodka is a sextuple(har!)-distilled barley distillate. I managed with great effort to discover that there are words on the website as well as all the pictures, and those words are all the right ones to use to describe these types of spirits. Caveat emptor.
I would usually embed G Spirit’s product video here at the end, but it is every bit as Not. Safe. For. Work. as the rest of their website. Here is the link should you wish to research the unique details of their actual production process. The apparatus includes a big hose and a glass basin, and it can be seen after the 4:10 mark, if you want to skip all the tedious footage of the photoshoots with the models…. I suspect there were fist-fights at the Heath Department over which inspector got assigned to supervise the production.
I gotta ask, have any of my European readers tried this yet?
How to make a White Russian. Um, I am compelled to note that she doesn’t measure her portions…. What kind of mixologist is she?
Oh… that kind!
UK government agency officially declares Madonna unappealing to young people, so she’s got that going for her…. It does mean that Smirnoff can continue to run their new ad campaign featuring her.
The Archetypal Vodka Ad. This is three straight minutes of style and funny with P Diddy and Aziz Ansari. It also gives us the obligatory a seriously hot chick, but nary a word about any characteristics that might allegedly distinguish Ciroc from any other competitor….
Let’s look at a Tiki drink from the twilight of the Tiki Era, 1975. Rome may not have been sacked yet, but you could smell Alaric and the Visigoths in the neighborhood. This drink, called The Best Year, won the United States Bartending Guild’s National Championship for its creator, Bobby Batugo. Thus, this drink was pretty much state of the art, not just for Tiki, but for bartending in the US in general in 1975…. I think the name is somewhat ironic.
Here’s the recipe:
Combine in a blender and blend at high speed until smooth. Pour into a tulip glass, adding crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a paper umbrella and other mass-produced Tiki garnishes.
To be precise, Batugo specifies a pineapple spear toothpicked to a cherry and a sprig of mint.
Ok, vodka? In a Tiki drink? Great Tiki drinks have complex, subtle flavors. Vodka is primarily an accelerant, that is best used to give simple flavors an alcoholic punch.
And Blue Curacao? This is nothing but its manufacturer’s plain curacao or triplesec, with blue food coloring added. Blue Curacao is used in drinks to make them blue, period. A bartender could make a better tasting drink with Cointreau and blue food coloring, but it would affect the Tiki-illusion, I guess.
And Rose’s? Is this a Gimlet? I thought not. And if it ain’t a Gimlet, Rose’s doesn’t mean quality.
Aaaand a blender. Blenders are awesome for Tiki drinks, but it wasn’t until the end times that we ran those suckers for 30 seconds and left the drink with the consistency and appearance of a Blue Raspberry Icee.
Without tasting this, when I looked at it, I could tell it was bland, sweet, blue, mushy, unchallenging, blue, kitschy, and above all, blue. Just the thing for coked-up, underfed celebrities wanting to look fabulous at Studio 54.
So why’d I make it? Well, because it’s blue. And I’m a sucker for blue drinks. Have been ever since I was 12 and had a blue kiddie cocktail at some place in San Francisco (maybe Trader Vic’s?). Incidentally, they made my kiddie cocktail with actual Blue Curacao… but hey, it was the 70s. I’m just lucky they didn’t rim the glass in a sugar/cocaine mix.
I also wanted to try a late Tiki-era cocktail, most of which I avoid when looking for new trys. This was considered a good one. And you know what?
Really, it is a pleasant, tasty drink, and just looks fun. To be sure, like Oakland, “there is no there there” (once Trader Vic’s left anyway), but its flavors are pleasant, and it is not too sweet to quench a thirst. If you need a blue drink, you could do worse.
You could also do better. I’ll direct you to a light, funky, and exotic Tiki drink, still blue, but with much more going on, the Bloo Marlin, which I included with my first discussion of Orgeat two years ago.
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2012 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
In recent days I have been doing some serious damage to a new bottle of OYO Stone Fruit, the fourth product to come out of Ohio’s first microdistillery, Middle West Spirits, located here in Columbus. OYO Stone Fruit is based on the same rich winter wheat neutral spirit that makes up Middle West’s flagship vodka and fresh, tart Montmorency cherries. It is rounded out with a range of yellow peaches, and apricots, thus giving it the stone fruit moniker. In addition, the flaovr is enriched with almonds and sweetened with hibiscus and wildflower honey from local fields, not China. The result is a deep, complex liquor that is lightly sweet but carries considerable bite.
As with all their products, Stone Fruit is made almost exclusively with local products. The cherries are from the Niagara region, and the apricots are necessarily from further afield, but everything else is Ohio grown, allowing them the best freshness and control over quality.
The guys at Middle West call Stone Fruit an infused vodka. I don’t think this is a good idea, from an accuracy or a marketing standpoint. Like their OYO Honey Vanilla (my absolute favorite among their products), this is much too rich and nuanced a liquor to let be confused with the sea of infused vodkas on the market. And for such a small-run product aimed at the high-end cocktail maker, I think that’s a sales suppressant. This is a serious product, not some shelf-space expander.
Regardless of how you categorize it, Stone Fruit is a lot of fun to mix with. It holds its own as the primary spirit in a cocktail, yet also mixes very well with a variety of other liquors. It works particularly nicely with a soft bourbon like Four Roses or Maker’s Mark, as you’ll see in a moment. It pairs with good rum, depending on the variety, in ways either interesting or disastrous. I don’t have a rum solution good enough to offer yet, but I will suggest a bourbon pairing that I like quite a bit, another cocktail where the Stone Fruit is the primary spirit, and a third with champagne.
Combine ingredients with ice and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a tightly wound twist of lemon.
The Rolling Stone is my favorite creation so far with the Stone Fruit. You can up the ratio of Stone Fruit to bourbon to as much as 1:1, but I think you get a more balanced result with these ratios. Four Roses works best for me with this, but try Maker’s for a little softer, sweeter result. Bigger, more robust, super-premium bourbons are both a waste and get a little titchy with the Stone Fruit. The drink leaves an interesting impression of passion fruit, or all things, without the distinctive electric vibe that fruit always leaves behind.
My bartender buddy, Cris Dehlavi, who also happens to be Middle West’s brand mixologist, suggested the Cointreau. Without it, the drink is still delicious, but that electric Passion Fruity effect is very pronounced. Don’t overdo the Cointreau, however, as it easily overwhelms the subtler flavor elements.
The Stone Fruit works nicely with different citruses, though I haven’t tried orange juice yet and make no warranty there. My second cocktail uses only the Stone Fruit which, when by itself, likes lime juice much better than the lemon I used in the Rolling Stone. I wanted to play up the almond notes in it and used a bit of BG Reynold’s excellent orgeat for a nice, funky sour.
Shake very well with lots of ice. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Offer smaller servings since this needs to be cold to be its best.
The last cocktail I’ve come up with so far that is worth sharing is the serendipitous result of New Year’s leftover champagne that was much too good to pour out and a Twitter discussion I had with a reader who wanted something like but unlike a Bellini. I’ve also been on a French 75 kick lately, and things kinda clicked.
Mix other ingredients in a champagne flute, then top with plenty of good sparkling wine. Garnish with a pitted fresh cherry.
A few notes here. Do not use Fee’s Cherry Bitters here, as was my first instinct. They bring out the cherry flavors of the Stone Fruit far too strongly. The Peach Bitters instead highlight the supporting flavors. And this is one of those cocktails where the bottled juice just won’t do. Squeeze your limes fresh or don’t bother. Really.
OYO Stone Fruit is available all over Ohio, as well as online nationally at The Party Source out of Kentucky. Middle West also hopes to have retail distribution in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Maryland/DC by the end of February. If you can get ahold of some, I invite you to try it out.
Got troubles? Life getting you down? At a fork in the road, and don’t know the path to take? Can’t find your car keys?
Bruce Willis has your answers! Just ask him.
This invaluable service is brought to you by the makers of Sobieski Vodka, and can be accessed on their website for the low, low cost of telling them your birthdate.
Bruce recently became “part owner” of Sobieski. Just what this means, I’m not sure, since the purchase of one share makes you a “part owner” of any company. I’m “part owner” of Diageo, for instance. But regardless, these days Willis is all over the Sobieski website, including this new interactive advice interface. His head looks appropriate, but I can’t quite make out where the big “8″ is.
I happen to really like Sobieski, for at least three reasons. Firstly, a bottle of their vodka was my first ever Liquor Fairy free product sample I got through blogging on this site. They will always have a warm spot in my heart, just for that. (Here’s my post on Sobieski from 2008.)
Second, I think it is damn good vodka. Moreover, it is damn good vodka at a more than just competitive price. At as little as a third the price of many “ultra-premiums”, Sobieski is possibly the best value to be found in any kind of spirit in the US market.
Third, I have always found their advertising and marketing efforts refreshing, entertaining, and above all offering some great insights into the nature and challenges of the vodka industry. That last is, I’m sure an unintended feature, but it makes it no less valuable to anyone who is interested in the business of liquor, especially vodka.
All vodka makers are in an inescapable bind. Sobieski has from its introduction not tried to ignore or, worse, deny the issue. Instead, they have embraced it and made it their strength. Here’s the bind: Almost by definition, you cannot compete in the straight vodka market based on the quality or distinctiveness of your product. Vodka is defined by law as being colorless and tasteless. You can (and many makers do) argue all you want about quality, but if you are holding your deep-diving championships in the local YMCA pool, Guillaume Nery won’t be able to beat my daughter.
Sobieski turns that bind on its competitors. The first, and still best, tagline of theirs that I saw was, “Distilled 5X, 8X, 39X. Oh, please. How about distilled enough?” A recent one is “The next gimmick in vodka is, well, the next gimmick in vodka.” Visit the Sobieski website, even if you don’t need the Part-Owner’s advice, for lots more fun stuff. They clearly have fun with their ad campaigns, and you will too.
OK, most important thing: It’s pronounced Oh-WHY-Oh LAH-nee. Got it? Good.
My last post reviewed the new bottle of honey and vanilla infused vodka I received from local Columbus micro-distillery, Middle West Spirits. It’s a boldly flavored, and tasty, spirit, but it is a bit direct to leave on its own in a good cocktail. After some experimentation, I found it pairs rather nicely with a good premium bourbon, like Blanton’s, which adds some harmonious depth.
On inspection, the drink I’ve come up with to enjoy this bottle may seem a bt, um, straightforward to be called a Tiki drink. But the OYO provides a very exotic flavor on its own. Combine it with a healthy sprig of mint, and the resulting vibe is remarkably Tiki. I give you the OYO Lani:
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and chill throughly. Strain into an old-fashioned glass over a chunk of ice. Garnish with a bruised sprig of mint. Add dry ice if available.
The mint garnish is important here. I’m hardly comparing this little ditty to Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, but the effect of the mint is the same. The drink is delicious without it, but the aroma of the bruised mint oils as you sip livens things up considerably.
Of course, this drink doesn’t need to be thought of as a Tiki drink if you don’t want to. It’s just a complex Sour after all. Simply adjust the presentation to fit your mood, or the tastes of your recipient. But keep the mint.
I recently received via Liquor Fairy a bottle of OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka, the second release from local Columbus micro-distillers, Middle West Spirits. I quite like the unusual style of vodka in their flagship OYO brand, and was happy to give this new expression a try. (Yes, I said “unusual style of vodka”. Chew on that for a while, liquor snobs!)
The folks at Middle West make a commitment to locally sourcing everything they can for their products. The winter wheat that is the base for all their liquors is from a single farm in Ohio, and the bees making the honey for this product similarly bleed scarlet and gray. As for the vanilla beans, well vanilla orchids don’t take well to places where it can be sunny, raining, snowing and sleeting, all at the same time like today, so Middle West gets those from Uganda. But they buy the actual raw beans and scrape them here to get the best flavors. You can smell both of these ingredients in glorious flower, just by opening the bottle. The liquor is actually drinkable neat (very drinkable out of the freezer), which is an incredible rarity in a commercial infused vodka.
The Honey Vanilla Bean was originally intended as a one-batch seasonal bottling for Christmas. But when they ran out of their run, and found orders only increasing, they decided to make it a regular product for now. This is what is known in the business world as a “no-brainer”. I sense that they see the success of this bottling as a mixed blessing, because it takes a lot of hand crafting (scraping vanilla beans, etc.) to make this stuff. But again… lots of orders.
My next post will be an original cocktail of my own using this (here it is), but I’ll give you a few of my own impressions of how it goes with other ingredients.
First, the honey and vanilla flavors are powerful. I think it’ll be hard to use this in cocktails where it is the only spirit. If I put enough for a decent amount of alcohol into a cocktail, I found it very hard to balance out the intense flavors of the OYO, especially the sweetness of the honey. Fortunately it pairs well with a wide variety of other liquors and liqueurs.
Second, while my initial impression on tasting it was of rum, I’ve failed utterly to get it to pair well with any kind of actual rum, light or dark.
Third, it goes a lot better with lemon or orange, if you want citrus, than lime. Any significant amount of lime juice ruined every otherwise promising mix I got going.
Of course, advice (especially mine) is made to be ignored, but this is what half a bottle of OYO Honey Vanilla Bean has bought me in the way of experience.
I’m quite happy with the OYO Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka (though not with the name, which makes my writing seem verbose or commercial every time I type it). For me, most infused vodkas are at best either fun gimmicks or lazy shortcuts. This bottle brings some nice, real flavors to the table, flavors that aren’t necessarily going to be better added to the drink another way. If you are in Ohio, try some of this OYO. If you aren’t, stay tuned, it should be available outside Ohio in the not too distant future. I’ll let you know.
Liquor Fairylink in the header of this page.