Ok, you already know i'm an impulsive packaging based shopper often... and really Whole Foods is one of the WORST places for that (particularly if you combine that affliction with being starving!)... so today's Whole Food stop between traffic, i couldn't resist the adorable Fox logo of the Fox Barrel Hard Cider! AND it's delicious, pretty light ~ like champagne colored apple juice with a twist. But check out the packaging! Larger pics on the next page...
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I've been racking my brain as i photoshopped these pics and realized i didn't take pics of the magical door between/behind the booths you enter through.... or the crazy neon signs i love so much outside Cole's... i thought about telling you how you had to find your way in yourself, but here's a peek at the inside, but let's be honest ~ i was having too much fun, and really just took a few snapshots while inside!
For those who don't know ~ Cole's is an LA institution ~ (there's an age old rivalry as to whether Cole's or Philippe's invented the French Dip) ~ and it's adorable! And has an adorable bar in the front already, and old school booths and walls with pics of days past... and now, when you go through the door in the back with the little martini glass on it, you step into one of LA's latest speakesy-esque spots, The Varnish. Complete with old school cash register, industrial lighting, wood paneled booths, retro phones and more... my favorite detail is probably the flasks... and the giant ice... and the metal straws (which you can apparently purchase)... "The venture is a partnership between Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey in New York; mixologist Eric Alperin of Mozza and the Doheny; and Cedd Moses, owner of the newly remodeled Cole's" according to Angelenic... So take a peek at the pics on the next page ~
UPDATE! This just in... the designs of the awesome patterns are by Charmaine Choi for Dead As We Know It in Brooklyn, NY ~ Luckily the good folks over there are NOTCOT readers and Mikal Reich reached out!
Mmmmmm, Rosangel. I think it's definitely my new favorite tequila (boys, get over the pinkness. really.) ~ It's delicious, and the aftertaste is floral versus that usual tequila flavor... thanks to the Hibiscus infusion? Although i missed out on the NY launch that Anita covered for us, a bottle showed up mid-move, and i've been trying it out, and it really is so yummy... and while my fridge as been pretty empty, I did try some with OJ, and its SOO good.
Anyhow, the other thing i really wanted to focus on was how inspiring and captivating is the illustration/pattern they use on the hang tag... and as a downloadable wallpaper ~ found myself staring at them to see all the little details designed into it! See that close up as well as bottle closeups on the next page!
I totally buy beer for packaging ~ ok, i buy a lot of things for packaging... but while at Whole Foods, i couldn't resist the Hitachino Nest Beer Owl, and the Red Rice Ale is SO red and delicious! I'd first spotted the brand on Liqurious a while back, but this was the first time seeing it in person!
On the next page you can see all the labels and standard sized bottles of their 10 variations ~ the graphic design is awesome, it has a trippy playful almost retro disney-esque feel to it ~ the fonts on the White Ale, Non Ale, and Red Rice in particular are my favorites! Check out close ups of the bottle and bottle cap ~ as well as glasses and schwag i found pics of online... Question to you is ~ have you seen a Hitachino Nest Beer KEG? I'm so curious now what the branding looks like on those! Discussing with a friend we were thinking about how fun an Owl shaped keg would be...
I have a soft spot for Scotch ~ especially when the packaging grabs me... Although the packaging redesign for Highland Park Single Malt Sotch Whisky happened in 2006, i was still curious enough to poke at their PR to show me the old bottles for comparison ~ and there's just something about the cleanliness of the design of the 30 and 40 year bottles and their wood boxes i'm loving. Don't the slight curvatures of the 40 year bottle remind you of the Ri(1) bottle? Well, only shorter and stouter, and with a much cooler label and silver "H" emblem ~ which apparently dates back to the Orkney's 12th-century Viking ancestry. Even the 30 year bottle is so clean, i love the transparent look with only the small paper labels covering the gorgeous color of the scotch in the glass bottle... As you'll see below, the packaging of the 18 and 25 year bottles are similar but have much larger labels, although on a similarly shaped bottle ~ they are however packaged in fun gloss black on matte black boxes! And you can see how they compare to their predecessors... Also noteworthy, it's nice to see a brand site dedicate a section to the thought that went into the redesign of the packaging! See close ups and more on the next page!
On adventures in the snowy NYC this week, Proximo Spirits has out done themselves once again... they were kind enough to invite us out to NYC to experience the launch of their latest: Gran Centenario's Rosangel hibiscus-infused tequila! I already knew the bottle was a beauty, and the branding... *swoon* i LOVE the graphics they've used everywhere from backgrounds to bags to glass etchings... how beautiful does that look? But they really carried that rose colored (or should i say hibiscus colored?) world into the full day of bartender immersion and launch party... unfortunately, i wasn't able to make it out myself, but luckily our favorite Liqurious expert, Anita Crotty, was able to rearrange her life ever so slightly and pop out to NY for a few days to check things out! It also doesn't hurt that she took so many breath taking pictures so we don't feel left out! So on the next page you can check out her adventures ~ from the gorgeous gift bag on the bed at the new Thompson LES ~ to the camera crews filming them at the Clover Club ~ to the launch party with live music from Vanessa Trouble at the exquisite Ella Lounge... You've got to see the pictures to take it all in!
Not to name drop, but Anita's link laden story on the next page reads like a who's who of must see bars across the country... makes me want to roadtrip to experience all the places linked! Enjoy!
And for our newest site ~ Liqurious that was launched in 2008 ~ it's had quite a fruitful year of delicious and beautiful drinks! While an idea that launched out of a less than fun learning experience over the late TasteSpotting (yes yes, for those who missed those few months, TasteSpotting died in 2008 just 1.5 years old ~ and we sold the domain name) ~ but happily, from that launched Liqurious!!! With which i think we've all learned a lot very quickly about the mysterious world of mixology! Where science, design, and liquid poisons come together perfectly ~ here are the top 100 posts from Liqurious in 2008 ~ click to explore!
Spy schwag!!! Ok, well not quite schwag, and i've been holding off on this post until these gifts are opened by the birthday boy... (wouldn't want the post to ruin the fun!)
So one of the highly recommended (via Twitter and Facebook) must sees in DC was the International Spy Museum ~ and it was so fun! Unfortunately no pictures allowed, and while the beginning was questionable (pretending to make you memorize things and move from room to room on their schedule) ~ it opens up quickly and had some great displays and interactive stations throughout! SO much imagery wish i could have taken pictures of to share! But what i CAN share is some of the fun goodies i found in their impressively stocked store! (You can shop online too, but not nearly as much stuff) My favorites that i couldn't resist... their DENY EVERYTHING one way mirror like shot glass and the magnetic bottle opener logo guy ~ so stealthy, so classic! Also, how nice is the graphic design of their tickets? See more closeups on the next page... and their James Bond Credit Card Lock Picks i just found in their store too!!!
As spotted first at Today and Tomorrow ~ the Greece is for Lovers "Hooker's Delight" is an interestingly misleading name (if your mind naturally leans that way) ~ for a fun martini glass design perfect for the fishermen in your life! Talking about living dangerously ~ you may hook yourself at any moment... or on the flip side, your olive can't go far when its attached to the stem! See more images of this pretty, playful design on the next page!
On more gorgeous neon signage ~ somehow ended up at The Griffin in downtown vegas ~ although we later realized there is The Griffin in Los Feliz too, pictures made it look like this vegas one has the prettier neon/fonts for sure! And they even have Griffin tiles in the bathrooms! Take a peek at their adorable branding and beautifully simple brick arched ceilings and interiors, lush red leather booths to sink into, awesome 360 fire... its like walking into that classic den... only slightly more hipster than retro... lots of pics on the next page!
The 8 exclusive ceramic tiki mugs of Frankie's Tiki Room are exquisite by any tiki loving standards. I showed you the space here, and the mugs and stirrers deserved a post of their own! So here are some close ups in the hotel room, and on the next page you have to check out their backs, close ups of the stirrer, images of all of the mug designs, and the adorable menu illustrations of them too!
The exclusive tiki mugs are purchasable online for $15 each! And really they are so so awesome we might have to buy more. But if you go in you can get them for $20 with a drink (drinks normally $8)
From Unica Home we made our way to Frankie's Tiki Room... and WOW. Seriously. While in Vegas, wtf are you doing on the strip? Go to Frankie's! It is dripping with tiki bar lore, and art works from many of our favorite contemporary tiki loving artists (so much SHAG-aliciousness!)... and even an exclusive set of custom Tiki Souvenir Mugs! Not to mention the awesome old school neon signage on the front of this 24 hour joint that just opened last month! Soooooo, there will be three posts on Frankie's since there was too much to show you in just one!
First up ~ photographic look at Frankie's and my very strong drinks and giddy view of the tiki wonders... so go see the pics on the next page, and i'll slip more info in there, but you really need to see more first!
On silly holiday experiments, and with so much wine around combined with freezing (ok well not literally freezing, but cold for LA) weather... and seeing Mulled Wine, Spiced Wine, and Glögg recipes on Liqurious... when it came time for dan's birthday Xmas eve we couldn't help but read up on all the different recipes, and there are SO many variations, and ended up making out own variation that we've tweaked a bit over the last few days as well! So, here is ours:
NOTGLÖGG ~ a simple NOTCOT take on Glögg
1 Bottle Red Wine
1- 2oz Creme de Casis
1-2oz Creme de Mures
4-5 oz Brandy
1/2 cup Sugar (adjust to taste)
in cheese cloth:
2 Cinnamon sticks
6-8 Cardamon pods
2 All Spice
pinch and a half Nutmeg
Put 1 bottle of red wine in a pot ~ add sugar and the cheese cloth bindle (we just tied it all up in there... yes, it looked like a bloody bandage) ~ keep it just under boiling for about half hour ~ add creme de casis and mures and brandy ~ simmer a bit longer ~ serve HOT [Notes: make sure its not TOO sweet ~ makes about 4 mugs... ~ also, i kind of wing all the measurements ~ so fiddle to taste... other optional ingredients we saw in researching - honey, sugar cubes, vanilla, almonds, raisins, corriander, orange/lemon peel (twist peels to release oils before dropping in)]
For more info, here's wikipedia on Mulled Wine and Glögg... See more pictures of the process, and some fun new glasses on the next page!
On long overdue and super amazing things that have shown up recently ~ 8/9 of the 1800 Tequila Limited Edition Artist Bottles arrived, and i can't bring myself to open them, i just kind of sit and stare at how gorgeous they are ~ honestly, if you haven't seen them in person, you must! Because i've seen pictures, from high res to billboards, for some time now, and they were far more incredible in person! They are like gorgeous drinkable works of art... basically it feels like they are screened on to the backs of the glass bottles, which results in a nice matte feel on the back, and the art looks like its floating in the bottle of tequila... perhaps my favorite detail besides the art work itself (and the fact that the cap is a shot glass) ~ each bottle is numbered (out of 1800), has the name and bio of the artist, and their signature in silver! Really i can only ramble so much about this, but what you really need to see is all the close up pics of the bottles themselves! So click through and browse them on the next page!
Not sure what to bring for a last minute party, gift, etc ~ i think its pretty hard to go wrong with one of these... SO pretty!
This gift guide is all about pleasure ~ indulgence ~ luxury ~ and fun toys to go with it all! It has kind of become the theme of the day... and there's more to come! So take a look at the collection on the next page and as usual, click the products to browse further... also see more coupons!
Wow. Ok, so Rubyy, i can't even decide where to start on telling you how many ways i'm loving this latest addition to the Energy Drink space... obvious first impressions, GORGEOUS bottle ~ i'm such a sucker for the matte black, and the vector graphics on the label with playful fairy tale-like motifs... and its the fun aluminum bottle! In such a unique shape! Not to mention the nice use of fonts and color palette... and it totally glows under a black light! And that's just the outside... you'd think with that type of exterior, they might be trying too hard to over compensate, but this is no red bull... granted, i do have a think for blood oranges, they are just so visually dramatic and delicious! But this Blood Orange Energy "lightly carbonated energy drink" ~ is yummy! Yummy to the point where i was so exhausted and thirsty and accidentally chugged the Rubyy by my laptop after the Paper 24 Hour Dept Store... and then i was up for ages, so it works too... And unlike those Monster/Red Bull type drinks where the color of the liquid is less than appealing with its radioactive glow, well this one is actually a nice pinkish blood orange color (pics on the next page if you don't believe me!)...
So i'm loving the bottle, the liquid is delicious... and we haven't even begun to explore the mixology options! You can pretty much mix Rubyy in with rum, vodka, tequila ~ from your variations of cosmos to tequila sunrises, you know the type... but to get a little more unique, i've attached some of their new Holiday recipes as well! So see all the packaging pics, recipes and more on the next page!
TO WIN: Leave a comment here ~ answer this: "You're trapped in a room, and all you have are these objects... what would you do?" ENTER BY 11/28. WINNER: Matthew in Halifax NS!
Design Public has a little bit of everything ~ from furnishings to gifts to awesome kids stuff ~ so for this giveaway we're going with some of the funkier gift ideas in a bundle of fun! So here's what you can win: 1 pair of Cake Octopi Cups, Harry Allen Rabbit's Foot Keychain, and Harry Allen Bulb Candles!
More pics of the goodies on the next page, and a few things to note ~ that lucky rabbit's foot is HEAVY! It's 14k Gold Plated Brass! The Octopi cups are larger than i expected, they'd make for some crazy beer mugs! The lightbulb candles would be so fun to burn!
So when you comment to win, answer this: "You're trapped in a room, and all you have are these objects... what would you do?"
"Beam Global Spirits and Wine, Inc., redefines rye with company's first ultra-premium rye whiskey - (rī)1 Whiskey Brings Cocktail Style and Straightforward Sophistication to Traditional Rye Whiskey Category", and you've got to admit, it is a seriously un-whiskey looking designer bottle... and even more stunning is the acrylic box they sent it over encased in along with a glass and the coolest stirrer/stirrer placement i have ever seen. Using the transparency of the styrofoam slit to turn the plastic stirrer into what appeared to be a floating droplet of (rī)1 when you slide open the box... so awesome!
(rī)1 - pronounced Rye-One - is certainly making waves in what has been a rather traditional genre, and the flavor is incredible... the spiciness really hits you upside the head (i decided i'd try it neat first and not read the tasting notes until after, so i didn't see it coming)... it was refreshing and fascinating with a cube of ice, really opening up the flavors - you have to try it!
As the press release describes: "Bottled at 92 proof, (rī)1 features a light, slightly spicy flavor and a long, luxurious finish. Straight, the nose offers a gentle, peppery nod to its rye heritage. Cut with water, the scents of dried fruit and cinnamon push to the front, providing a rich palate experience." Also exciting... "Future variants, including (rī)2 and (rī)3, are planned to create a complete product line." Can't wait to see what those flavors are like! But for now, you have to check out the incredible acrylic box of goodies - i've been trying to figure out what else it can be used for, and first idea is... light box? See all the pics on the next page!
Just got back from the midnight showing of Quantum of Solace... and as a total bond junkie... i still stand by my opinion that the last one was one of the worst... and this one... well, it was off to a good start! Decent intro graphics ~ like the color palette and sandy look ~ awesome techy glass wall and table touch UIs (details like having him spell out "G R Double E N" over the phone, and as he says "double" a W shows up and changes to EE) ~ the aston martin DBS chase scene in the intro ~ tom ford did an incredible job dressing him... The prada dress she wears through the desert is awesome... but seriously, no gadgets? at all? Painfully annoying semi background integrated text telling us when we were in russia, etc? (wtf was up with some of those fonts?) Range Rover was one thing, but Ford? The fight scenes were so badly chopped up, you couldn't follow what was going on... And could sony's product placement have been more blatant? I think the sony phones and terrible microPC must have been his only "gadgets"... and the villains weren't nearly amusingly villainous enough either! Ok ok, anyhow, i think i just needed to vent! BUT... seeing it was a nice excuse for me to post more of Justine's pictures (she seriously sent me TONS from her National Geographic night out in London).
Here are some quick snap shots of the fun Harrod's Brompton store windows as they closed up the Bollinger champagne bar... as well as the Aston Martin DBS, the Sunseeker speedboat, Tom Ford suit and black Prada dress worn by Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko and the latest Omega. Front and center of the bar you can also see the limited-edition Champagne cooler in the shape of a Walther PPK bullet that was featured on Liqurious. Perhaps better than the gadgetry in the film is the motion activated display at Harrods, where upon walking by you trigger clips from the film to play... Anyhow, check out more pics and info on the next page!
While i was in Tuscon, i picked up this bottle ~ yes, it was a total impulse buy based on packaging, but it had to be documented! And it didn't taste tooooo bad, but not exactly stellar, but how cute is it?
So this post is really all about the packaging of this adorable Boarding Pass Shiraz 2005 from South Australia by R Wines and distributed by the very playful Grateful Palate Imports. Check out more pics on the next page for closeups of the fonts and diagrams!
Inspired by Rachel's Yogurt flavors, here are - Sweet Summer Revival inspired by Revive (Peach Green Tea) and White Flower Bramble inspired by Glow (Berry Jasmine), and concocted by the fabulous Anita (yup, Married with Dinner, Anita who's been working on Liqurious with us!) ~ So check out the recipes and how gorgeous pics of some of the key ingredients on the next page!
So i'm sure by now you've seen some of the many Rachel's Yogurt ads we've had running on the sites... this is going to sound bizarre, but initially i thought it was crazy that a yogurt company wanted to work with NOTCOT... i actually told them that maybe after seeing/tasting it i'd consider it... and then three boxes of yogurt showed up... yes, 36 little tubs of yogurt... that's like a fridge full! Long story short, the packaging was gorgeous (handwriting on black? love the style)... i am actually still buying the Calm "Lavender Plum Honey" flavor... and as you can see the ads look so pretty and so NOTCOT!
On a really random sidetrack, when joking around with one of our FM sales guys about Rachel's we were so amused that a yogurt company would have Cocktail recipes on their site (their Yogatini cracked me up!), and somehow it turned into a silly dare about how Liqurious should have yogurt inspired recipes... i passed the dare on to the amazing Anita Crotty (of Married with Dinner fame) ~ and low an behold, she came up with three delicious and beautiful drink recipes! Turns our Rachel's legal team wasn't ready to add our drinks to their site, and after all the fun we had, i've decided to share them with you anyhow! Anita takes the prettiest pictures of drinks, and the ingredients that go into them! So for today, i wanted to kick off Monday with Bee Cool. See more pics and the drink recipe on the next page!
The internet is a buzz with rumors on the latest "viral" video of Dan Aykroyd showing us his new Crystal Head Vodka in a gorgeous glass skull. Rumors include this being a video for the new Ghostbusters or some Indiana Jones... but i guess lesson to be learned here is ~ just because it's going viral, doesn't mean it's not real!
I actually bought a few bottles today ~ lots of pics on the next page! Not the smooooothest thing i've tasted, but it's not bad, and i'm totally in love with the glass skull bottle made by Bruni Glass in Milan, Italy. Apparently it is made by Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd, out of Newfoundland water triple crystal filtered through herkimer diamonds (aka double-terminated quartz crystals)! Really the story is just great though, and the video and bottle make the experience priceless ~ here are excerpts from the box: "In reverence of those enlightened after touching any of the thirteen crystal heads unearthed around our globe we offer this pure spirit"... "One of the most compelling archeological mysteries is the story of the 13 Crystal Heads. These heads are believed to be between 5,000 and 35,000 years old and were carved over a period of several hundred years but without any tool marks. In fact their very construction defies the laws of physics and common logic. They are believed to offer spiritual power to those who hold or possess them."
See the pictures of the real thing and the video on the next page!
UPDATE: Dan did some crazy internet researching for us and here are some fun facts: Dan Aykroyd is not only an actor, but co-founder of the House of Blues, part owner of Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits Ltd (which distributes Patron in Canada), and is building his own winery, Dan Aykroyd Wines (which uses 100% snob free grapes!). There is a great interview with him on delish before the vodka release where he exposes how serious he is about wine, Crystal Skulls, UFOs, and "pure spirit from Newfoundland glacial pool water, and peaches and cream corn mash"!