I love when beautifully packaged delicious liqueurs come with nicely illustrated stories around their necks… like the Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction SNAP ~ a ginger snap spirit, from the makers of ROOT. Previously i showed you ROOT as well as a sample of Snap in a glass jar we tasted… since the production bottles were not yet ready… This time you can see the finished product! Popping the cork on this bottle, it smells like gingerbread houses wafting out, perfect for this wintry holiday season… the mix of blackstrap molasses, cloves, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibos tea and vanilla is just irresistible! Perfect for getting creative with cocktails playing with everything from apple cider to toasty fireside drinks. The story was so cute (and educational!) had to share the booklet details with you… lovely illustrations… check it all out on the next page!
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Sometimes that Christmas Spirit, comes in a bottle. Apparently for 2010, that was true. And the spirit came in the form of the Green Fairy. And it is delicious, and beautifully packaged, courtesy of Stranger & Stranger… it’s not enough that they make some of the most beautiful alcohol packaging around, every year for the last 12 years, they have also sent out a special Christmas Spirit, and i sip this year’s absinthe as i write this post. It’s delicious. Absinthe handmade in a single batch, not available for purchase… It is deliciously beautiful! When a bottle says “After one glass, you see things as you wish they were.” how can you resist? “Nectar, bitter-sweet - like the last kiss on the lips of a discarded mistress, is the secret charm of my existence; green as the moon’s light on a forest pool it glimmers in my glass; eagerly i quaff it, and, as i drink, i dream.” Marie Corelli, 1890.
See the close ups on the next page, and a very merry christmas to you!
Ice balls are definitely a huge 2010 trend! Down to the last week of 2010! From The Macallan Ice Ball Machine to the Muji Silicone Ice Ball Mold… and freshly arrived from Maker’s Mark, Bourbon Ball Mold! Also i recently acquired some Fred & Friends Brain Freeze ice brains as another ice ball alternative for scotch and bourbon sipping. So check out the Maker’s Mark and Brain Freeze variations on the next page!
‘Tis the season for a bit of overindulgence and there is no better way to get started than with some gorgeous, droolworthy inspiration from Tasteologie and Liqurious. To find out more about each temptation, click on its individual image.
The Saatchi & Saatchi LA xmas email came out yesterday, and this year they are “giving back by making donations to three nonprofit charities on your behalf: The Amanda Foundation, Free Arts for Abused Children and New Directions“… and then they announced NOG PONG! Exactly what it sounds like, only it’s always our turn, and they get to do all the eggnog drinking…
Teaming up with Deep Local (yup, our new favorite people from Project Reindeer, etc) - “Nogbot started as an off-the-shelf ping-pong practice machine. In one weekend, we reverse engineered the machine and replaced its guts with our own wiring and microcontroller. The new microcontroller allowed us to programmatically control the motors, switches and servos to do our bidding. We created a web-based API to communicate with Nogbot allowing an external program to fire balls at different speeds and directions.” Awesome, right? Well they’ve also shared some pics of what the NogBot looks like! (He’s your real world arm launching those balls as you click from behind your monitor.) As well as videos of the game in action, and the making of! Check it all out on the next page… love these projects that really pull the digital and physical closer in such playful ways!
Who doesn’t love a perfectly glimmering glass bottle? Somewhere between a studded crystal bottle and a discoball lies this Absolut Glimmer limited edition bottle ~ this comes following the Absolut Disco, Absolut Masquerade and Absolut Rock Edition of the previous holiday seasons. i must say, it feels even better in person than you’d expect ~ and i love that this design is the actual glass forming the texture, not something overlayed on their classic bottle! They threw a launch dinner for the bottle in NYC, which the lovely Sean and Anna of Sub-Studio attended for us! And of course the event was all sparkles as well ~ from the chandeliers and candles lighting the bottles to the glittering skyline views across the Hudson River from the Chelsea Art Towers. Beautifully ornate plexiglass tree-like chandelier of Absolut Glimmer bottles constructed behind the bar ~ Simon Ford mixing deliciously complex cocktails! With edible flower garnishes, 8-10 ingredients and more… and to end the night, Cee-Lo performed… on a sparkly floor! So take a peek at their adventures, as well as some of my close up pics playing with the bottle that was waiting for me when i got home from the round the world adventures!
About to start some serious time zone hopping over the next few days with Mercedes to visit all of their global design studios (Stuttgart, Como, Tokyo, Carlsbad) in a whirlwind 4 days… so while i sit in the airport lounge before the madness begins, wanted to share some of the incredibly inspiring delights showing up on Tasteologie and Liqurious this week! Top 4 rows are Tasteologie followed by a final row of drinks! As usual ~ click the images to find out more!
So, you saw the pictures of the Kahlúa diner at Zarela as well as the new ad campaigns ~ well, naturally, when Sean sent over his pics, i got fixated on his teaser pics of the Kahlúa Shaker they gifted him… and then begged for more pics! It’s such a minimalist bullet of a shaker in acrylic, but so playful too! And love the matte black paired with the vibrant firey red that the lid looks like it nearly floats on! Close ups on the next page!
Kahlúa hosted an incredible dinner at Zarela in NYC to announce the launch of their new campaign celebrating its Veracruz heritage, and Sean from Sub-Studio went to experience it for us! He came back with some amazing photos of the event, and it sounds like some serious wanderlust for Veracruz! Which is in turn making me crave mexican food and a Veracruz adventure as well! The cocktails, decor, and new Kahlúa adverts look so beautiful and delicious! Take a peek on the next page to see (and read!) more of Sean’s adventures with Kahlúa!
P.s. the new Delicioso ads are pretty hilarious… they’re embedded on the next page for you!
Is Moonshine ready to try an take on tequila that’s been the new vodka as of late? The Original Moonshine from Stillhouse is the latest to launch, and i must say, i’m loving the bottle… from the XXXX on the fancified jug (somewhat like our Liqurious favicon/twitter avatar) to the howling wolf logo… and to be honest, i do love bottles with the finger loop (like Kraken that has two!) This is an 80-proof clear corn whiskey handcrafted in Culpeper, Virginia, using the only operational Prohibition-era copper pot still in the US. It’s the brainchild of entrepreneur Brad Beckerman and chef and restraunteur, Adam Perry Lang. They say the flavor is “most noticeable when sipped just shy of neat with a splash of pure water. When well bruised with ice, it transforms into a creamy, voluptuous, satiny texture.” But i have yet to taste it for myself. Other fun facts? It’s all natural, gluten free, and charcoal filtered!
The story of how the 3 year adventure designing this whiskey came to be - “I became obsessed with clear whiskey years ago when a fellow barbecue competitor shoved a jar in my face and said ‘drink this’ at a competition in the south, ” says Perry Lang.
Take a peek at some close up pics of fun old photos as well as the bottle on the next page!
What goes together more naturally than food and drink? So this week, the top four rows are Tasteologie goodness ~ from Lace choc brownies to wooden kids mixers to smornies to chicken fried bacon… and the last row is Liqurious libations to accompany them… including adult chocolate milk, ice that will turn your drink black, and drinks that taste like savory meals (like burgers!) Click the pics to find out more!
On fun surprises ~ just received a retrotastic Mr. Bartender easy pourer… and the packaging is amazing! You have to check out the unboxing pics on the next page. And not to waste any of the good stuff, we hooked it up to an empty bottle of Kraken (which makes it even more fun with the finger holes to grab on to) ~ it’s addictive, we kept pouring shot after shot ~ of water… while playing with it. Super simple, it just fills up with one ounce of liquor before pouring that perfectly measured amount into the glass. What’s fascinating is really how pretty it is and the amazing Mr. Bartender branding! Take a peek at it on the next page!
Remember when I first wrote about Dan Akroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka almost exactly 2 years ago and people actually thought we were part of the joke propagating across the internet? But it was REAL? And awesomely pretty? Well wandering the supermarket last night i ran into the Crystal Head Vodka Gift Set ~ gorgeous skull bottle paired with two rather large mini skull shot glasses (missing skull caps!) and i couldn’t resist. While they seem EVEN bigger, after testing it out, each skull shot holds about 2.5oz… and that their need for a skull cap… i just couldn’t resist planting some succulents in there! So cute! Succulents in the skull = Skulculents? or Succuskulls? See more pics on the next page! They are way too fun!
Perhaps the most amazing room service experience yet… OWC stands for One While Changing. You know, that drink that you have while getting all primped and ready… maybe if you’re lucky, the bartender will even help zip you up after shaking up that martini? Since i couldn’t make it this weekend, I sent Anna from Sub-Studio down to the opening of Soho Beach House Miami ~ much like the rest in the collection, this part hotel, part membership club, part restaurant is the latest in the stunning Soho House group worldwide. But before i tell you more about that, back to the OWC!
You call down to room service, and up pops a lovely bartender and rolling bar! (In the case of this launch weekend, she also got a bonus gentleman rolling up with some savories…) Even though Anna is quite pregnant, she knew what Liqurious needed, and still ordered them up ~ and they were kind enough to indulge her in “anything non-alcoholic and pretty”, resulting in a citrusy, minty delight ~ perhaps a virgin mojito of sorts? Along with caviar with creme fraiche and tuna tartare on toast! Divine, isn’t it? Even if not going out, it sounds like a lovely service ~ such a nice way to bring the experience of cocktail right into the room. Take a peek on the next page of the process, the lovely carts, and the bartender in action!
Amber Liqueur ~ one of the unexpected discoveries that prompted immediate and unanimous ~ “How did we never know about this before? How does this not exist in the US? What? You’ve stopped making it? But it’s so good!” reactions from all of us upon finding it at the Macallan Visitors Center. If you like single malt and maple syrup ~ and maybe even pecans. You will LOVE this. It is incredibly delicious, and i even had carried a few bottles back… they won’t ship! So yummy ~ a nice addition to mix in for baking/cooking ~ sweetening up cocktails with something a little different than pure maple syrup… and the bottle is so fun, like a glassy bean inspired shape topped with a woody cork… Imagine if Sally Draper had found this in Don’s kitchen for that french toast? Really it is a super maple syrup ~ more than a whisky ~ A nice description of its flavor: “The color is a dark deep amber and apparently no artificial coloring is at play. Amber smells like the best maple syrup you’ve ever had. You have to really get your nose in to detect the Macallan. The taste is sweet without being cloying at all; the maple flavor and nuttiness dominate, but it is incredibly well balanced. Do I detect a little citrus? The finish is where you’ll find the Macallan spice - it’s long and tasty.” found on the Scotch Blog from 2006…
Anyhow, take a peek at this on the next page ~ fun packaging, and totally tapped into my love of dark grade B vermont maple syrup as well as my love of the Macallan!
p.s. not to scotch you guys out ~ but really, so much fun and inspiration discovered while running around scotland!
This morning, we attempted to create our ideal whisky from (amongst others) the samples we collected from 12 year old casks of The Macallan. Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, taught us so much about the art of whisky making, and the complicated challenge of smelling, tasting, and seeing how to make the perfect bottles of The Macallan, to that perfect smell/taste/color we’ve come to know and love. As he explained the difficulty of making something so consistent from so many varying casks of whisky, and even deciding which casks are decided to be set aside to age longer and such ~ the most creative aspect to emerge was his challenge to us to smell the differences between an array of samples to attune our palates… only to ask us to create in our minds… our ideal whisky. What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it make you think of?
And from that, The Macallan NOTCOT Edition was born… can it ever be recreated? Probably not. But i have one little bottle of it! I apparently like my scotch smooth with a deliciously dark maple flavor amidst the spicy woody spanish sherry oak… (Macallan 18 is my everyday favorite ~ but the upcoming Masters of Photography series, omg, deliciousness)… in my head i imagined a cozy comforting log cabin, and since it was early, on not too much sleep, and after a light breakfast… i was loving the maple aromas, i think i had pancakes on my mind…
Anyhow, it is unbelievably hard trying to decipher the aromas, figuring out which samples to mix, finding the right notes to layer for that drinkable delicious whisky with a nice long finish… but we tried. And bonus points to Evan from Cool Hunting who was definitely the whisky maker with the most potential in our group! His smelled divine! And delicious too! Don’t get me wrong, NOTCOT edition is yummy as well ~ my bottle of that is coming home with me! It was incredibly fun and fascinating to play with the awesome syringes to mix samples in our bottles, measure the percentage of alcohol, taste test, and more ~ while i’m no master whisky maker in the making, i definitely have a new appreciation for exactly how much work is going into even just mixing the right casks to make the bottles that show up on the shelf! But, that’s enough rambling for now ~ you really must see how incredible The Macallan lab/Bob’s office is! And the process we went through making our own Macallan whisky ~ all on the next page!
SO! As you probably know by now, The Macallan has me out in scotland, exploring and learning and playing with all things scotch. In fact, they’ve kept me so excitedly busy, it’s been hard to find enough time to process and post! Or even figure out where to start… so here’s how its going to go, i’ll share the most unique bits as i can! And one of the most exciting places to start is ~ SAMPLING!
With so many thousands of casks in so many warehouses with all these slight variations in wood, in atmosphere, in unexplained magical natural occurrences that may make even casks from the same batch differ in flavor, colors, and more, the only way to find and create the perfect single malt is through sampling, tasting, and keeping an eye on each cask as the whisky within matures over time (so anywhere from 5 years to decades?)… on amazingly awesome experiences, we got to go along with the Macallan boys (Thanks, Jim and Gary, and apologies for the times i accidentally squirted whisky on you!) and actually get our hands dirty and help do the sampling! From drilling holes, pumping out samples, filling vials, (maybe sneaking a taste here and there) and plugging the hole! See the process we experienced in the warehouse on the next page!
p.s. The picture above? Can you believe that is the Macallan 1964 that is filling the Lalique Cire Perdue - This 1946 cask became 64 years old in January 2010!
p.p.s. i can’t even begin to tell you how incredible these warehouses smell.