Archive for July, 2007

Fancy an Eclipse 500 private jet?

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Eclipse 500 Jetthen head on over to eBay. Show the Joneses next door one up by parking your private jet from Eclipse Aviation in your driveway. Or if you're enterprising enough you could probably give FedEx a run for their money - don't you just hate it when they always show up when you're never at home? We do. Either way, it's going to cost you at least $1,719,942.60. We'll chip in the $0.60, pay us back with a ride to Tales of the Cocktail next year.  
At Least $1,719,942.60. Bid on it here.

Knowing your main base liquors in cocktails – Tequila – 6 of 6

This brings us to our last base liquor in the series. To recap, we've looked at Gin, Rum, Brandy, Vodka & Whiskey (or whisky if you're Scottish).

Now let's discuss Tequila.

Tequila is distilled from the fermented juice of the Mezcal plant. The Mezcal plant must be grown within the limits of the state of Jalisco, Mexico or certain designated areas in Mexico - Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. In a nutshell, Tequila comes from Mexico. If the Mezcal plants are grown anywhere else, then it's bottled as Mezcal.

Mezcal is made from the blue agave plant, a monster that takes eight to 12 years to mature and yields a pineapple-type heart (the pina). The hearts are cooked in traditional brick ovens or modern autoclaves and then shredded or ground into a pulp and the juice distilled.

Knowing your main base liquors in cocktails – Whiskey – 5 of 6

We've covered Gin, Rum, Brandy & Vodka. Now let's talk about Whiskey.

The name "whiskey" is derived from the phrase "water of life" and is made by distilling malted barley and other grains and aging the resulting alcohol in oak casks. The five major whiskey producers in the world are Scotland, the United States, Ireland, Canada and Japan.

Whiskey can also be spelled "whisky" - and is how it is commonly spelled in Scotland, Canada & Japan. The Irish and Americans spell theirs with an extra "e". It's also said that the Scots jealously guard the spelling whisky for their own product and I'm not one for incurring Scottish wrath so neither should you. Samuel L. Jackson was so cool in Formula 51 ....

Whiskey is very expressive of the regions that it comes from as well as the ingredients used to make it. It can be a simple distilled mash of cereals, yeast and water - and it can also be a complicated drink based on a host of different factors.

To keep this post short and sweet for you - dear reader - I'm to break it down by region, focusing on the major characteristics.

Scotland: Whiskey oops thats whisky! made in Scotland is more commonly referred to as Scotch. Scotch can either be single or blended malt. Blended scotches are several different malts and neutral grain whiskys mixed together from a variety of distilleries. The single malt's are just that, single and made in one distillery. There is however a distinctive difference in flavor between the two as you can infer from the way they are made.

Some to try.

Single Malt: Glenfiddich, Glenlivet
Blended Scotch: Johnnie Walker Black, Cutty Sark, Dewars

American Whiskey: Thank the British and Irish for introducing whiskey to America back in the 18th century. The first American whiskeys were made with barley and rye, with the aim of imitating European whiskey. Then a group of distillers in Bourbon County, Kentucky began producing their own whiskey from corn - and thus Bourbon was born. Along with bourbon, Tennessee whiskeys are considered the best of the best. Tennessee whiskey differs from bourbon because it is run through charcoal for an unmatched smoothness. Bourbon on the other hand is matured in charred barrels instead of direct contact with charcoals.

Some to try:

Bourbon: Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Maker's Mark
Tennessee Whiskey: Jack Daniels - all you really need here anyways.

Ireland: Irish whiskey is similar to Scotch whisky, except that no peat is used in the kilns to cook it - eliminating the heavy smoky flavor found in scotch. Irish whiskey is also the only whiskey subjected to triple distillation - and that means smooth.

Some to try: Bushmill's, Jameson, Murphy and Paddy - a fine bunch of gentlemen.

Canada: Canadian whiskys are made from blends of different grains - corn, wheat, barley. Canadian whiskys also have a reputation of being some of the lightest body whiskeys around - but don't underestimate Canadian whiskey just because it's easy going. Canadian blenders are masters of their art.

Some to try: Crown Royal (especially VO 8 yr old), Canadian Club, Black Velvet

Japan: Japan is the youngest of all the whisky producing nations. Their first distillery was founded in 1923. Japanese whisky production has really taken off in the last 30 years. The model for Japanese whisky is single malt scotch, and Suntory is their largest distiller.

Some to try: Suntory Reserve, Nikka Yoichi 10 yr. old


The Bulldog and the Bees – Is Gin the New Vodka?

Bulldog Gin

I didn't quite know what to make of the puppies (industry slang for mini-bottles) when they arrived. They surrounded me - all three of them, with their squat, broad shoulders and studded collars. The smokey grey/purple bottle made it somewhat difficult to see what these pups were made of and only seemed to add to the mystery. Hands down these are some really handsome puppies.

Bulldog Gin is an ultra-premium, quadruple distilled London dry gin, infused with exotic botanicals such as Poppy and Dragon Eye - a native Chinese fruit that's used to increase sexual stamina and skin vitality.

I poured some neat at room temperature and was surprised by the soft, delicate aromas. I was in for an even bigger surprise when I tasted it - is this gin? Where's the strong aftertaste, that heavy juniper presence, the burn on the way down ... then I remembered that this is quadruple distilled to an Ultra-premium state - this gin is so smooth ....



Seiko Sportura Analog/Digital Chronograph

Seiko Sportura SNJ007P1

Seiko Sportura SNJ007P1

Want a stylish world timer watch to keep track of your business investments in Istanbuand Bangkok but don't feel like dropping 40 large on a Patek? Or perhaps after a couple of "Do you REALIZE what time it is over here?!" in not so friendly tones from your long distance acquaintances - you need an easy way to keep track of time internationally. The Seiko Sportura World Timer gives you the best of both worlds - with a dual analog and digital dial that can display the time, day and date in any one of 28 cities across the world. Just press a button to select a new city and its corresponding time.

Other features of the SNJ007P1 include a full automatic calendar to the year 2050, daylight saving adjustment, chronograph function and alarm. It's also water-resistant to 100 metres, with a solid stainless steel case, beautiful perforated leather strap, and virtually unscratchable sapphire glass face.

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What kind of cognac would Ella Fitzgerald would fancy?

If Ella Fitzgerald were alive today, what kind of cognac do you think she would fancy?

                    After one whole quart of brandy
                    Like a daisy, I'm awake
                   With no Bromo-Seltzer handy
                   I don't even shake

Opening verse from Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered - Ella Fitzgerald. I couldn't find a video of the First Lady of Jazz, but I did find this excellent cover by Silje Nergaard. Click here to listen.