Category: Rule 5
Rule 5, Vodka

Three Olives O-Face Contest and Campaign

of-logo OK, this is kind of fun. Three Olives is running a new promotion/contest called, What's Your O-Face? The stated aim of the contest is to find the model that they will use in an upcoming ad campaign for the various flavors of Three Olives. You use the ad creator gadget on their site to put your face in an ad for one of Three Olives' flavors of vodka, and it will be uploaded to their site, where visitors will rate it among all the others. The finalists will be sent to New York for a big party and a photo shoot. The winner gets to star in the ad campaign, and ten grand for their efforts. So one of you, my loyal readers, could be the next (O) face of Three Olives Vodka. Yes, you! Oh, um, no. Not you. You either. Listen folks, by you, I mean you, one of the myriad of hot, model-quality men and women who read this blog. Not you the other, um, people. Regardless, everyone can have fun with this. I did. You can check out my set-the-supermodel-world-on-its-head entry here. Be sure to vote for me! Of course, while we are talking about this contest, we should examine some of the elements. First off, let's discuss the name.
Oh yes, Doug. Please do. Tell us all about what the O in O-Face means.... Grant us your vast and omnipresent wisdom on the subject.
Sarcastic wench. Actually, I thought I'd take this opportunity to post this scholarly (really) discussion of the origin of the word Orgasm, without which there is no understanding of the O-Face. Now, I have gone to the great and onerous trouble of examining a lot of entries for this contest, so I can excerpt a few to give you a taste of what you can find. First off, few of the pictures submitted really have much resemblance to true O-Faces. This first one really doesn't qualify. In fact, I can't for the life of me explain why I thought I ought to waste my bandwidth with it.... babe1 This one is much more like it: o-facebabe And the pictures aren't just women, either. Why can't a guy win for best O-Face? This is why: bobroberts Oh, after all this, I should say a word or two about vodka, and Three Olives Vodka in particular. Since this whole O-Face exercise is intended to get people talking about and linking to them, it'd be churlish to not comply.... Three Olives is one of a select few vodkas that I look for when approaching a bar to order my fallback, a Vodka Martini. Why? It's what I refer to as a sweet spot vodka. Vodka is a very simple beast, really. It should have no defining characteristics, beyond proof. The fewer taste elements plain vodka has, the cleaner it is. There is a direct relationship between cleanness and desirability, for me at least. There is an inverse relationship between expense and desirability. Three Olives dwells in the hammock, or sweet spot, where these lines intersect, as shown here:
graph
Source: The Pegu Blog Institute for Economics and Vodkaology
There are other vodkas in this sweet spot as well, some of which I've written about, some I haven't, and some I've likely never heard of. The point is, Three Olives is reliably good, reliably affordable, and reliably available, so it's a good choice for most bars out there. This may seem a bit like damning with faint praise, but it isn't. It's just illustrative of how things are with vodka. There are brands out there that cost twice what Three Olives does. In no way are they worth anything like twice as much. For most people, they won't be worth a dime more if they can't see the lable. Just facts, folks. A good vodka is definitely worth the added expense over a mediocre vodka, but a super-premium vodka is not worth the added expense over a good one. This illustrates the difficulty for the vodka industry these days. How do you distinguish your product, when it shouldn't be distinguishable once it reaches a certain threshold of quality? Three Olives' answer is to focus on flavored vodkas. They offer the widest array of flavored/infused vodkas (14) I've seen on the market today, and I think that they are wise to go this way. Once you start flavoring vodkas, quality reappears in comparing your product to competitors. It puts both character and originality back into play, which, for a quality manufacturer, is fertile ground to gain market share. Also, a selection of these bottles makes for an attractive and eye-catching display either behind a bar or on a liquor store shelf. Some of their flavors would be of use to me (vanilla), some escape my understanding (triple shot espresso). And for all you anti-vodka snobs out there, especially those who turn up their nose at flavored vodkas as beneath you, what are you going to do when Three Olives (or perhaps someone else small enough to take a gamble on being puckish) puts out a Juniper-Infused Vodka? Hmmm? Oh wait, don't Beefeater and Bombay already do that?
Hey! You are not done, you know.
What? This is pretty damn long already, especially for a post about funny faces selling vodka.
Listen. Where is the recipe?
Oh come on. Do I have to? There is only one that's appropriate for this post, you know.
I know. But it has to be done. The International Guild of Boozeblogging's latest standards circular (Required Elements for Certified Liquor Blog Entries, ed. 2009, rev.3) states that all product posts must include a recipe to establish the bona-fides of the blogger. Now do it. You know the one.
Sigh. I suppose I should include a quick recipe here at the end. After all, it does seem appropriate for this post.
SCREAMING ORGASM
  • 1 oz. Three Olives vodka
  • 1.5 oz. Irish Creme liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. coffee liqueur
Build in a shooter glass and swirl to combine. Be sure to leave enough time for recovery between consumption and your next class.
Finally, as a public service, I include a classic (and I do mean classic) instructional video to help you understand the nuances of constructing this drink. abc
Brandy, General Cocktails, The Four Gospels of Cocktail

Tuaca and the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Sidecar

tuaca
OK, seriously. What the heck is Tuaca?
Tuaca is one of those bottles that lots of bars have gathering dust because few bartenders, and even fewer customers, know what it is. Which is a shame. I class Tuaca with others like Lillet Blanc in my list of favorite, most personally used, utterly obscure liqueurs. Tuaca is a light, aromatic liquid that is redolent of oranges and vanilla, but isn't overpowering in any flavor. You can drink it straight, chilled or on the rocks, if you like. I personally don't, but that's because if I can't play with ingredients, I usually end up with wine. What Tuaca doesdo is give me the opportunity to talk about a fairly rare phenomenon: The House Standard Recipe. Now, every liquor and liqueur on the market, Tuaca is no exception, has a whole list of what SeanMike, over at The Scofflaw's Den, calls Marketing Cocktails:
What I consider a marketing cocktail involves the following aspects: It usually has a cute name that doesn’t identify the drink well (or at all), it’s made using very specific ingredients (or, at least, main liquor) by brand, and it is extremely unlikely that it is in any well-used bartending guides. A marketing cocktail may, over the years, become a mainstay of the cocktail world, but right now is used for advertisers to say: “Look at these cool drinks we make with our great stuff in exotic, cool bars”, for people to say: “It’s so cool to drink this drink” and for bartenders to say: “What the #%*! did you just order?!” and curse marketers.
I've seen it argued that these Marketing Cocktails are a good source for recipes, since who knows a brand better than its maker? And it is in their interest to showcase the brand in the best possible tasting drinks. My personal experience doesn't really bear that out. I find no more good recipes among Marketing Cocktails than elsewhere, and sometimes less. What I am talking about are House Standard Recipes. This is a variant on a classic, oft ordered cocktail. The variant is specific to a high-end restaurant or hotel or bar or often a chain thereof. These are not part of a menu of cocktails, usually sponsored by distillers, like you see at Applebee's or some such. This is just what you get when you order a real drink at this particular place. The first of these that I wrote about, long ago, was the Ritz Stinger. The simple addition of Cointreau to a base Stinger makes a great improvement. The one I want to write about here is even more useful, and it's why I keep Tuaca on hand all the time: The Ruth's Chris Steakhouse Sidecar. I like a good Sidecar, and Maggi loves them. She usually doesn't order them when we are out, because most bartenders don't make them as well as I do. Or like I do, at least. But she always orders them at Ruth's. Ruth's ordains, apparently nationwide, that Sidecars shall be made with Tuaca.
THE RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE SIDECAR
  • 2 parts decent Cognac
  • 1 part Cointreau
  • 1 part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 part Tuaca
Combine in shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a twist of lemon.
If you love Sidecars, you owe it to yourself to try one this way. If you think Sidecars are Meh, try one this way too. You'll thank me, and you'll thank Ruth. And you'll buy a bottle of Tuaca. I will make one niggly comment about Tuaca. They need to consider changing their stopper on the bottle. I usually like cork stoppers; they have a rustic feel that often seems appropriate. It certainly is for a luscious old world liqueur like Tuaca. But the corks they use are mediocre at best. My first bottle's cork snapped off less than a third of the way through the bottle, and I had to resort to a plastic lever-operated stopper. The latest bottle I got through the mail, and the unopened bottle had leaked just a tiny bit. The booze is fine, and virtually all there, buy the neck of the bottle was just slightly sticky. It sure ain't gonna stop me from buying the product, but I just wish I could trust the cork. UPDATE: By the way, since I wrote this post, I've done a series I call The Four Gospels of the Cocktail. The Sidecar is what I consider to be The Gospel of Brandy.abc
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