July 2017


Helicopter Beer Opener
World Record
Posted by: Damin - 2006-10-17 20:23:20

Opening a beer with a bottle opener is usually a simple task. However, using a helicopter with an opener attached to it is just making that task more difficult than it needs to be.

Helicopter Beer Opener

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Black Peach
New Cocktail
Posted by: Damin - 2006-10-02 20:04:41

Remember when I was playing around with vodka infusions? The next infusion I tried was with just vodka and peaches. After 5 days of occasional gentle swirling I sampled it. The fruit flavour was much more subtle than my previous apple and cinnamon infusion and it had a nice golden orange colour to it.

I wanted to mix it into a cocktail but looked at all the various juices I had kicking around in the fidge. Nothing really appealed to me until I remembered that I had some blackcurrant cordial sitting in my cupboard. Normally I am very particular with my measurements but for some reason I was feeling adventurous because I was trying something new. I just randomly splashed various amounts of my vodka infusion and cordial into a glass, topped it off with soda water and hoped for the best. I took a sip and was pleasantly surprised. The second drink I made I made sure to take down more exact measurements.

I have no idea if any other drink uses these ingredients exclusively. A quick search on the Internet didn't reveal anything so I decided to call my creation a Black Peach.

Recipe for a Black Peach
1 1/2 oz of peach infused vodka (or peach schnapps)
1 1/2 oz of blackcurrant cordial (I used Ribena)
club soda

In a highball glass, filled partly with ice, add the ingredients and top off the glass with the club soda. Gently stir the drink to create an even colour. Garnish with a peach slice if they are in season.

if anyone knows that this drink goes by another name, please let me know.

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Robotic Wine Tasters And Bartenders
Posted by: Damin - 2006-10-01 09:44:58

Detecting subtle nuances from one wine to another takes time to master. Honing ones sense of smell and taste takes a lot of practice and a lot of wine. But what if you could determine what kind of wine you are sampling by analyzing it chemically?

Japanese scientists are trying just that with a robot that scans wine and food with a spectrometer, and compares the results with its database. Sommeliers need not worry, though. Right now it is in the prototype stage and sometimes can be way off in its results, like mistaking a person's hand for prosciutto or bacon.

If the robotic wine steward is still quite a ways away from becoming perfected, robotic bartenders are much closer.

Just speak your order or use the touchpad and a robotic arm will move from nozzle to nozzle mixing the correct amount of alcohol for each cocktail. It is also equipped with a display of a person's face and pre-programmed witticisms to humanize the machine. Once again though, it doesn't really allow for creativity or subtle changes for each drink when being mixed that only a human bartender would understand.

Robotic Wine Taster
Robotic Bartender

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Wine Caddy Sculptures
Spruce Up Your Bottle
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-26 08:04:45

Each wine caddy is individually handcrafted in Germany by cutting, bending and welding recycled steel and copper to create a caricature of work and play.

What do you get for the wine lover that has everything? How about a wine caddy sculpture?

These wine caddies come in a variety of styles and make an interesting piece of artwork even when you aren't savouring a fine vintage.

Some of my favourite ones include the samurai (pictured,) Napoleon, and the simple, yet elegant, golf bag.

Wine Caddy Sculptures

Link via Neatorama.

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Cocktail In A Can
Premixed For Ease
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-21 08:21:31

In the spirits industry's latest intrusion upon brewers' turf, Diageo is testing ready-to-drink cocktails in 12 oz. cans with the same alcohol content as most beers.

So they are test marketing, with positive results, a premade cocktail in a can. The test beverages include Captain Morgan and Cola, Smirnoff Vodka and Lemon-Lime Soda, George Dickel Whisky and Cola, and Seagram's 7 American Whiskey and Lemon-Lime Soda.

These drinks can be sold next to wherever beer is sold, because of similar alcohol content. Should beer makers be worried? A little. Beer sales have had a small decline in sales, at which the same time spirits sales have been increasing.

The question though is, have spirits sales increased because more people like making simple two ingredient cocktails? If they have, then I would think that the spirit makers might be worried about dilution of their core products. Why buy a full bottle that you were going to mix when you could just buy it ready to drink?

I am no marketing wizard but it seems like this would be marketed towards people who like to get a buzz on but don't like the taste of alcohol. I imagine that you are either drinking your spirits of choice straight up or you like to keep a well stocked bar for entertaining people. And lovers of cocktails in general probably find these basic mixes a little boring. So that leaves that segment of the market where a cocktail in a can will suit their purposes for a fun evening just fine.

Cocktail In A Can

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Vodka Infusion Follow-Up
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-19 18:28:14

So I just sampled some of my apple/cinnamon/vodka infusion. Wow! The flavour of the apple is really noticeable but you still get the hint of alcohol as it sits on your tongue. The taste is pleasantly mellow, more so than I thought it would be.

Interestingly enough, the apples themselves are devoid of any apple flavour now. I was surprised at how crisp the apple chunks are. I took a bit of one chunk and it tastes strongly of alcohol. It's like the flavours of the ingredients have switched places. You get the definite burning sensation, similar to that of doing shots of straight liquors.

I can't wait to try out some other infusion mixes in the near future.

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Vodka Infusion
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-18 18:28:05

So I decided to try infusing some vodka over the weekend. I know all about flavoured vodkas, but if I bought a bottle of flavoured vodka it would probably just sit around for a long time before it got used. So I bought myself a one of the larger Absolut bottles (1 liter and change) so I could make small batches of different infusions.

I have a couple ideas I want to try out such as a chocolate and mint infusion but I have to find a place in the city that sells processed cocoa beans first. I suppose I could try it with some large chunks of bittersweet chocolate but I'm not sure what kind of texture will result with it being dissolved in the vodka. I also want to try something with kiwi fruit and cranberries but I am waiting for them to be in season.

I played it safe with my first attempt, apple and cinnamon. I had some sticks of cinnamon and some fresh, tart and crisp apples around. I didn't have an infusion jar around so I opted for an empty jam jar with a metal lid. I cored and quartered one apple and added a single cinnamon stick into the jar and topped it with the vodka. I left it overnight and went to look at it the next morning. The colour was now reddish, part of it was from the cinnamon and part of it might have been from the skin of the apples as well. looking at the apple quarters, it appeared that the apple lost some of its colour outward from the skin where it was cut. Opening the jar up it definitely smelled strongly of cinnamon with a hint of apple. I removed the cinnamon because I thought that if I let it sit for a couple of more days, it would become too overpowering and be like drinking Goldschlager.

I just looked at it again and the color loss is even more pronounced than it was this morning. It definitely smells more apple-y now so I think my decision to remove the cinammon sticks was a good one. I plan on letting it sit for a another day before I decide to taste it. I will let you know what I think in an upcoming post.

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Asahi Beerbot
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-14 20:05:06

The Asahi Beerbot pours you a beer with the push of a few buttons. However, its speed leaves something to be desired. In the amount of time it took to pour a beer, you could've poured out about a dozen beers manually. It would make a nice little conversation piece sitting in your recroom, though.

Asahi Beerbot

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Romanian Flair Show
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-12 01:20:56

The Barwizards are one of the world's top ranked tandem flair bartenders and they put on a clinic at this show (except for one minor bobble.)


If you are around my age, your first exposure to flair bartending was probably from the Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail. But what you saw in the movie is fairly rudimentary for the skills that today's flair bartenders have up their sleeves.

Apart from being flashy and entertaining, I think flair has also helped perpetuate the resurgence of the whole cocktail culture. It makes cocktails more accessible to a more youthful demographic, hence expanding the beverage market to more people. It also brings up the energy of the audience and patrons, who are more likely to choose a night spot that feeds their desire for excitement as well as their desire to unwind with a good drink. From a more corporate point of view, flair shows give spirit manufacturers an exciting and visually pleasing medium for promoting their brand and product at sponsored bartending events.

Given its current popularity among entertainment hotspots such as Las Vegas, it's hard to imagine bars that use flair as part of its package to give up on it, even if its appeal were to subside. Such establishments, without expanding beyond the scope of a nightclub, would need something more dynamic to replace flair and right now, I can't imagine what that could possibly be.

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42 Below Cocktail World Cup
Extreme Cocktail Making
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-06 23:08:53

42 Below Vodka will be holding a week long cocktail competition starting September 10th. Mixologists around the world who work in bars and lounges that use their product will be flown down to Queensland, New Zealand to compete.

Check out the promotional video where part of the festivities leading up to the main event include cocktail making while bungy jumping, hanging out of a helicopter and white water jetboating.

I am guessing that all of those cocktails made under those conditions will be well shaken!

42 Below Cocktail World Cup

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Try Something New
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-04 09:32:00

The purpose of a garnish is to enhance the visual aspect of a drink as well as add a hint of flavour to your drink. Now everyone has heard of the standard maraschino cherry, olive or pineapple wedge. But what about something a little more daring to add some subtle nuances to your drinks? I've heard of bleu cheese, capers, sun dried tomatoes and anchovies being used as garnishes. I thought I would go slightly more exotic with a couple of different drinks.

I have served up some non traditional martinis in the past with some unusual garnishes, to "mixed" results (pun intended.)

How about a grass jelly and lychee martini?
Grass jelly is exactly what it sounds like. It is solidified after boiling down grass in the mint family and letting it cool. It is popular in Asian countries and you can probably find it in your local Chinatown in drink form. I'm not really a big fan of the grass jelly drink, but I was feeling adventurous. The real interesting part of this drink is the texture because it has thick jelly blobs in it.

2 oz of Soho Lychee Liqueur
.5 oz of chilled grass jelly drink
1 oz of vodka
lychees (optional)

Carefully strain out .5 oz of the grass jelly and set aside the jelly bits. Add all the ingredients and give it a shake. Pour it into your chilled glass and garnish it with your separated grass jelly. If lychees are in season, peel and seed a couple and also add it as additional garnish.

Personally, I didn't find this drink appealing, but my friends who like grass jelly thought the drink was pretty good. They made the comment that it was a combination martini and gelatin shot. Like I said before, mixed results.

Slow Burn Martini
2 oz of vodka
.5 oz of vermouth
5 drops Tabasco Pepper Sauce
1 slice of jalapeno pepper

I found this recipe a while back after I had a Prairie Fire (tequila shooter with a couple of dashes of hot sauce) and was interested in findind other drinks that had a spicy kick. Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain it into your glass. Garnish it with the slice of jalepeno, seeded of course. You could go with Absolut Peppar Vodka, but how often are you going to be using that as a drink base? You'll get more mileage out of unflavoured vodka.

If you've heard of any other unusual garnishes, please leave a comment, or contact me. I love to hear about new and interesting drinks.

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How To Make A...
Video Demonstrations
Posted by: Damin - 2006-09-01 00:20:47

Sometimes reading instructions on how to make a certain cocktail isn't very clear. Sometimes there are very subtle nuances when making a cocktail that can drastically affect taste.

For example, when you have to muddle the mint leaves for a Mojito, how vigorously do you mash? You can either learn from trial and error and waste ingredients or you could watch what the pros do.

VideoJug has a collection of videos on how to make drinks such as a Mojito, or how to properly serve sake.

The site also has other step by step videos beyond just mixing and serving drinks.

How To Make A...

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Absolut News
From Advertising To Possibly Being Sold
Posted by: Damin - 2006-08-30 23:27:02

Absolut's magazine advertising campaign the vodka bottle keeps showing up in unusual places has been running uninterrupted for 25 years. Stacy Marshall, 46, a former graphic designer who lives in La Mesa, collects the ads. She has 143.

Everyone needs a hobby. I manage a couple of websites, this woman collects Absolut ads. You really do have to admire the creative ads that Absolut has used over the course of the years. It somehow has the bottle embedded in the ad along with the phrase "Absolut _______."

It definitely has brand recognition going for it and despite sticking to the same formula, each ad is unique in its own way.

Interestingly enough, she's never had a sip of the stuff.

An Absolut Obsession for the Creative Ads

If you want to see a large collection of Absolut ads, visit and peruse the gallery of nearly 1200 ads.

In other related news, Absolut might be sold.

Depending on how elections in Sweden next month play out, if the current Swedish opposition party wins, they would privatise some state owned assets.

The multi-billion dollar sale of Vin & Sprit (V&S), the owner of trendy Swedish vodka Absolut, is once again on the cards.

Vin & Sprit is currently owned by the Swedish government, but if it was ever sold, it could potentially be worth 3 to 4 billion US dollars.

Of course this is highly speculative and depends upon a few factors. One: The opposition party wins, two: they follow through on their promise to privatise assets, and three: V&S is included as one of the assets to be sold.

Drinks Giants Target Absolut as Swedish Voters Ponder Sell-Off

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Tea Partay
Smirnoff Raw Tea
Posted by: Damin - 2006-08-28 08:21:03

Smirnoff is playing up the preppie gangsta, or "prepsta" as they call it, image with this ad campaign for their new tea infused malt liquor line. Where as your stereotypical gangsta is sitting on the curb swigging his 40 of malt liquor after pouring one onto the street for his homies, the prepsta is sitting poolside while sipping his fruit flavoured, multiple filtered, raw tea beverage.

Tea Partay

Link found via Days That End In "Y".

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The Movie
Posted by: Damin - 2006-08-25 08:06:09

If you are a fan of sophomoric humour and beer, like I am, Beerfest is right up your alley.

It's about a couple of American brothers who put together a beer drinking team to compete in an underground competition involving drinking games.

I can't help but wonder if part of their inspiration for this movie was The World Beer Games.


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