An amazing surprise arrived today from Highland Park Whisky. Remember this Cynthia Rowley Flask Bangle that i posted on NOTCOT.org a while back? Well the awesome folks at Highland Park made a special version and sent one over! I can’t even begin to describe how curious i was when i started to open the box and saw the silver flask bangle with a subtle little H logo on it… and it’s a perfect fit. It even holds around 3 fluid ounces! Perhaps we WILL need to do a ladies’ Hero’s Chest Dinner yet… see all the details on the next page!
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The Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner was on Thursday night, and it has possibly moved up to one of the most inspiring evenings… of my life… so far! At precisely 7pm, 10 designers/creatives were invited into the gate of Magnus Walker’s Urban Outlaw Garage in Downtown LA. As we mingled over cocktails, the group quickly found familiar faces, and those they didn’t know personally, they definitely knew of… and more often than not the admiration was mutual. From the men behind Baxter of California and Icon 4x4, to Oakley and BasecampX… from Triple Aught Design (and new secret project, Prometheus Design Werx) to Acquire and KILLSPENCER and Johnnyswim… and more! As giddy as I was to see each of these folks, it was inspiring to see how thrilled they were to see one another! It was beyond an honor to be able to sneak in as one of the few women amongst these inspiring men. Over Highland Park Mint Juleps, the mingling filled with anticipation and you could hear the awe and cameras clicking as soon as the garage door opened to unveil Magnus’ collection of vintage racing Porsche 911s… and then up to dinner… which includes tastes of a Highland Park Whiskey from 1968! Also Show & Tell was mandatory ~ “Please bring an item of yours that says a little about you - something that you can’t live without.” See it all on the next page…
I’ve been learning a lot from Shawn and have come a long way since we first got our Laser Cutter! My latest little project is for last night’s Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner (inspiration overload!) ~ etching table and bar signage into real spanish sherry oak cask wood that was used to create the delicious Highland Park Whiskey we tasted during the evening! And the added bonus was that with each cut and etch, you could smell the complex aromas absorbed into the wood over the years… The challenge was to laser etch the aged (and very curved!) wood, but keep the final outcome looking just as aged… Take a peek on the next page!
Packaging isn’t everything, but gorgeous, playful, happy graphics, branding, and simple inforgaphics never hurt… and with Skoop it definitely grabbed my attention ~ enough for a post on NOTCOT.org and a few inquisitive tweets. Well one thing lead to another, and next thing i know, a box of Skoop goodies arrived on the doorstep! And as far as supplements go, compared to what you find in a look at GNC or Whole Foods, these will definitely stand out and make you look twice!
Though the graphics were the first things to grab my attention, the proposition of the Skoop A-Game “Super Simple Superfoods” are intriguing in their own right. These powdered supplements you shake up mixed with anything from water and chocolate (almond) milk or oatmeal or yogurt are being positioned as a playful path to SUPER you! It’s less about diets or meal supplements but that extra something to help boost your potential… and nothing says that like comparisons to fueling up with premium… or a cape on a human icon. For those years when it felt like i was living on airplanes and in hotel rooms, i used to always have some Macro Greens on hand to help balance things out. They were the best tasting at the time… though that wasn’t saying much. So i was skeptical and curious about how Skoop would taste! First reaction, definitely sweeter and more palatable than expected, yummy even in the chocolate milk combination. So far we’ve only tried milk, chocolate milk, and almond milk - all not bad with both variations.
Also fun, they included some of our favorite Blender Bottles in the surprise package! The design of the BlenderBall, which is a springy, spherical wire whisk has always made me smile - and they work wonderfully when shaking things up. So this week we will be taking the Skoop 5-Day-Challenge to get SUPER and it couldn’t be better timed with the endless projects and sleepless nights, i can use all the boosts i can get! Take a peek on the next page for all the unboxing and details!
Whiskey Barrel Coffee! So many things i love in one thing i don’t even know where to start. I love beautiful packaging (and a good skull graphic! and a well designed glass bottle!) I love good whiskey… and i’ve been learning to appreciate and love good coffee. I love good dark chocolate. Artfully combine them all, and you have Espresso Smith’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee ~ and chocolate covered coffee beans ~ in wax sealed glass bottles… the idea alone makes me swoon… but the deliciousness and beautiful branding make me need to share the details with you!
Two and a half years in the making, Espresso Smith now ages green coffee beans in authentic bourbon barrels in Colorado prior to roasting to create a coffee “the goal was not to create a whiskey flavored coffee… the goal was to create an experience that starts with coffee and finishes with bourbon.” Mind you, there’s no alcohol (though you can add your own back in) in the final product but the aromas are definitely present and delicious. Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page!
Valentine’s day is around the corner, and the Kraken Rum just surprised us with a V-day card, adorably mini rum, and a black rose! For their Kraken vs Cupid campaign, the lucky folks in London have a chance to pick up a bouquet of black roses paired with a bottle of Kraken (vs champagne)! How do they do it? “The black roses for sale are created by placing dark red roses in vases filled with a Kraken’s ink in place of water. This ink is then transported up the stem, via the xylem, to the leaves and petals turning them black, a scientific process that will also be showcased in the space. For dramatic effect some of the flowers will also be turned black using special floristry dyes.” and they will be paired with “… Calendula Lily Eclips and Queen of the Night Tulips, both darkest purple in colour looking visually black to the human eye.” Take a peek at details of the gorgeously dark surprise we received on the next page! And if you’re in London, visit the Think Ink Florist on Feb 14th!
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw when she went to check out the 2013 Experimental Food Society Spectacular in London! A meadow of sugarpaste flowers billowing in the wind created by Rosalind Miller Cakes.
This post is sponsored by the Ford Transit Connect. For this next Transit Connect adventure, I was sadly stuck at home on jury duty, so Shawn Sims hopped out to NYC to join the folks at Café Grumpy as they did super early morning deliveries. See our first adventure with the Butler Blue Mobile Transit Connect here.
Café Grumpy was founded in 2005 (just like NOTCOT!) with a passion for quality coffee and it has been amazing seeing how they’ve grown over the years. With the opening of the latest (5th!) Café Grumpy in NYC last week, we knew we had to head over and check it out when we heard they too use a Ford Transit Connect to deliver their coffee and pastries! Beyond their cafes, they also have the Café Grumpy Roastery, where they hand-roast small batches of specialty-grade coffee on a restored vintage Probat, and the Café Grumpy Bakery, where they bake their pastries and other deliciousness! And all of this goodness gets transported in their Ford Transit Connect to the cafes… with the launch of the latest cafe in the Fashion District in NYC and more to come, Caroline told us that she’s thinking about figuring out custom shelves (which the Transit Connect is ideal for) to better optimize the space for their deliveries. So we tagged along for their bakery and roastery deliveries to see what their process is like and what their dream Ford Transit Connect set up might be… as well as tasting some delicious coffee, pastries, and checking out the adorable stuffed grumpy beans! Check out our adventures with Cafe Grumpy on the next page!
While Shawn was in NY earlier this week, he came home taunting me (and my juice addiction) with pictures of Summers Juice & Coffee that was just opened by one of his closest friends, Alex Kleinberg. So, here’s a peek at the fun design details and deliciousness. Congrats, Alex!!!
On happy places, you can’t help but smile when you arrive at the freshly opened Summers Juice & Coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve enjoyed following their Instagram all summer as Alex Kleinberg and Christopher Taha (and their friend, Steffan Elzinga, of Wood Mgmt.) got their hands dirty and converted the 50 year old bodega space into their adorably refreshing neighborhood juice/coffee/pastry/sandwich spot. They found surprises like exposed brick and a large window under the drywall, which combined with some reclaimed wooden fence planks (which turn into herringbone ceiling and counter facade) and the addition of concrete flooring and counters, projection surf flicks, a stunning red surfboard on the wall, and a fun surf mural on the roll gate… it’s easy to forget there was a bodega there!
As for the food and drinks, Summers isn’t just fun decor, Shawn swears by the egg sandwich. (Here’s a peek at the making-of THE Egg Sandwich!) Part of the secret is definitely the parker roll from Clinton St. Baking Co. and the spiral of sriracha… also the bacon + avocado… oh, and the cheese folded in the fried egg. But i digress, with Alex’s history at his family’s award winning Clinton St. Baking Co., it’s no surprise the food and juice is delicious. (For Clinton St. fans, they also carry their pastries!) And as for coffee, they brew Brooklyn Roasting Company goodness. But, back to the visuals - take a peek inside Summers Juice & Coffee on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
Our adventures with Baileys began a few weeks ago, at the enigmatic Dennis Severs House, where we joined Bompas & Parr for a secret event which promised Culinary Alchemy, marbled foods, chocolate and rhapsodomancy. We didn’t know much, but marbling was suggested and a touch of alchemy… Once inside, we learned about the years or development behind Baileys’ Chocolat Luxe, which officially launches today at Harvey Nichols and will be available more widely from October. The new liqueur combines Belgian chocolate, Irish whiskey, and cream (alongside Madgascan vanilla and other delicious ingredients).
Baileys Chocolat Luxe was revealed among a sumptuous brunch of treats from Lily Vanilli with a marbled theme. The swirling marbling, mixing of chocolate, whiskey and cream is key to the new Chocolat Luxe as is its decadence, captured beautifully by the venue of the launch, which even included a dining room train! More photos of the teaser launch and Chocolat Luxe on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.
An evening of fruit salad and jelly, taken in through kaleidoscopic glasses and hosted in a masonic temple, within a hotel, in the heart of the City of London. The festivities were all to celebrate the launch of Bompas & Parr’s latest book, Tutti Frutti with Bompas and Parr and friends! A self-published, collaborative piece, the new book features architectural pineapples, the spaces of banana control, how blue became the international colour for raspberries and a luxurious host of fruity recipes from a host of characters including Sam Jacob of FAT, Alexis Gauthier, Martin Parr, Justin Piers Gellatly of St John, Joana Vasconcelos, Inventory Studio and more. More photos of the celebration of fruit and jelly on the next page!
Happy Meals come with toys… kid’s cereal comes with toys… but this is the first WINE i’ve seen that comes with fun toys! While in Sitka, AK at Ludvig’s Bistro, we had Torres’ Sangre de Toro and it came with a little plastic bull toy adorned on the side! It got even more interesting when the second bottle arrived, and the bulls were different! Then the waitress gave us a third from their house bottle, and it was different too! On the back of each bull is a number, and so far, we’ve seen them go up to 7, but who knows how many there are? Can you line them all up on a disc and spin them to animate a running bull? Also, out of curiosity i picked up another bottle at Bevmo when home, and between that and quick internet searches, it looks like the bulls and the ways they are attached evolve regularly. Take a peek at the bulls and packaging shifts up close on the next page!
Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
Last night we enjoyed the launch of The Gilbert Scott’s new Gin Garden created in collaboration with Hendrick’s Gin. A garden under the arches at George Gilbert Scott’s stunning Midland Grand Hotel at St Pancras Station, the space was filled with playful touches including a bathtub bench and Hendrick’s phonebooth/bar. More photos of the new Gin Garden and stunning architecture on the next page.
This week’s roundup from Tasteologie and Liqurious includes Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktails, Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cannolis, Grilled Artichokes with Crab Filling and more. To find out more about each post, click on its individual image.
Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw!
Earlier this evening, I headed to the previously featured urban food hub, FARM:shop Dalston for a preview of “Sunday lunch in 2063, an exploration into the sustainability of food and drink in the luxury sector”, part of Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge which will be part of the Brighton Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe and London Cocktail Week later in the year. The lectures will be presented jointly by mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr. Lyan), Shay Ola (Rebel Dining Society) and Duncan McRae (Hendrick’s British Ambassador) and our taster was hosted by the menu’s creators. Intrigued by sustainable luxury and “edible curiosities made from insects”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. More photos and a look at the menu on the next page!
Going through my phone, and due to an unfortunate delay in what was going to be sponsored content, i just rediscovered some Atlanta adventures i’d been saving to share with you guys!
While in Atlanta for the Final Four, we tried a few delicious restaurants… and one noteworthy detail is definitely the Black Tea Ice Cubes in the cocktails at The Spence (from Chef Richard Blais, winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars” )! When you’re first sipping on the drink, you know there’s a tea bag like tag and string hanging out of the glass, and some kind of huge ice cube, but it’s unclear how it all connects until you sip through it (and as it melts) only to find the cube on the end of the string! While ice on a string would have amused me already, finding out that their actually freeze black tea in the cube made even more sense… Take a peek at the details and a few more pics (and a video!) on the next page…