The illegal vodka pipeline(s) you never knew existed. But you did know where they are located! Thanks to: @Teekeemon
The illegal vodka pipeline(s) you never knew existed. But you did know where they are located! Thanks to: @Teekeemon
Have a difficult problem to solve? Try vodka! Study shows that light booze consumption improves creativity.
Someone felt they had to pay (probably our) money to figure that out? And for what it’s worth, I’d bet gin does the job better.
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?
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….
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.
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.
Why is this man smiling?
Well, first off he’s back on screen with Belushi. A Belushi at least. In the picture above, he’s torturing Jim Belushi’s lawyer character as Judge Max Hunter in the CBD series, The Defenders. I got a kick out of this little scene at the start of last episode because I like Dan Aykroyd and because I like seeing lawyers being tortured.
But he didn’t make me burst out laughing until much later in the show, when he wasn’t even in the scene. Check out Belushi’s desk (highlighting mine):
Many of you are laughing now too. If you aren’t, the highlighted bottle looks like a skull. It is a vodka called Crystal Head. I wrote about a controversy surrounding it here, and also about their promotional gift pack with the coolest shot glasses evar.
The reason it’s so funny to see this bottle suddenly appear on that desk in this episode is that Crystal Head is owned by one Dan Aykroyd. Now that’s product placement I can live with happily. I wonder if it was part of his guest star contract, or if he just slipped two bottles to the set dresser on condition that one ends up on the desk.
Judge Hunter has nothing to do with the rest of the episode after that first scene, and I had just remarked to my wife that either Aykroyd really wanted to hawk Crystal Head, or The Defenders was engaging in a seriously expensive bit of stunt casting to use Dan Freaking Aykroyd as a throwaway bit character when they ended by teasing the next episode….
30-40 hits of Ecstasy, a gun, and a hooker on a gurney will require a bit more work by your Defenders, even if you are a judge in Las Vegas.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t find a way to shoehorn this post into Tiki Month somehow. So, in honor of Aykroyd’s fine vodka in the awesome bottle (a Tiki decoration in it’s own right), I offer you this vodka based Tiki drink. It’s a modification of the classic Blue Hawaii, a cocktail that embodies all that was right and all that was wrong about Tiki, and one that originated as a cheap promotional stunt to boot.
Combine all ingredients except 151 in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a glass with a large chunk of ice. Drizzle 151 over the chunk of ice as a float. Cut a wheel of lime and drop a few drops of grenadine on each side so it colors the pulp. Mount on the rim of the glass.
Rather than post a photo of this more-tasty-than-it-deserves-to-be concoction, I’ll take this excuse to post one last screencap from the Defenders. This image from the opening credits is the inspiration for making this particular drink. It is also a good way to highlight my contention that Las Vegas may have a thousand themes, instead on just one, but at it’s heart, it’s naughty, less dangerous than it looks, gloriously inauthentic heart, it is just the world’s largest 24-hour Tiki bar.
Among the spook-tide offering from the Liquor Fairy this year was a bottle of Three Olives Purple. Three Olives has one of the larger spread of flavors available, with more coming all the time. Purple is a bit more differentiated than most, as we’ll see in a moment.
I’ve written before about the difficulty vodka makers have in differentiating their products from their competitors. Some use sex. (Some are bit more on the nose about this than others.) Others use beautiful or gimicky packaging. The most useful thing the distillers do to make themselves stand out is to offer a flavored or infused variant or two.
Three Olives has used all these methods over the years, but they seem to have chosen to be the king of flavored vodkas as their core competency. They show sixteen flavored vodkas on their website currently, including all the basics called for in most decent cocktails that use flavored vodka, such as a citrus and a vanilla.
Purple, along with the unfortunately(?) named Rangtang, are part of a new evolution in the flavored vodka field: Color. Purple looks just that, a dark, opaque concord grape purple. It makes for some very interesting looking mixtures.
The flavor is also just that, Purple. The label says “grape-flavored vodka”, but it’s purple-flavored vodka. That’s not a bad thing, by the way, just a thing you need to know when deciding what to do with this product. I happen to like purple flavored things, others don’t. That’s no different from any other infusion choice in vodka.
Now, if you like the basic flavor, what do you do with it in a drink? The initial, and easy, route to go is sweet flavors. I think most bars will use Purple in shooter-like drinks. It looks distinctive, and the flavor is a powerful quick hit. Try playing with orange curaçao, cranberry, or even real grape juice.
You can also produce an interesting Cosmopolitan variant with a sweet red wine in place of the cranberry juice.
But this is a serious cocktail blog (har!) and I wanted to come up with a drink using Purple that was more dry and/or spicy, in the vein I prefer. After a few rather unfortunate dead ends, it hit me that Purple would marry well with ginger. Purple, Canton, a splash of lime, and some orange bitters (in all sorts of different ratios) yields a tasty cocktail.
The drink that I hit on that I really like, and that I think goes really well with this whole Halloween time we have right now, is my Skeletal Mule. It is essentially nothing but a Moscow Mule, modified for spookiness. Use Purple in place of plain Three Olives or other brand vodka. And replace the copper cup with the best drinkware you can find at one of the fifty temporary Halloween supply stores that are open near you right now.
Mix your ingredients in the vessel with ice cubes. Garish with a homemade brandied cherry impaled on a lime wheel and a chunk of dry ice.
This drink looks all Halloweeny without the dry ice, and positively Vincent Price with it. I plan on having one close at hand when answering the door for the trick or treaters this Sunday.
(A few words about Dry Ice: You can usually get it, year-round at good ice cream shops. They keep it to pack with ice cream for travel. And do not use dry ice to garnish shooters or shots! If someone drinks even a sliver of the stuff, the consequences don’t bear dwelling on. And even if there are no accidents, the bubbles in a small glass are going to splash Purple all over the place and make a mess.)
Liquor Fairylink in the header of this page.