Booze it Like Beckham

HaigClubDavid Beckham first found fame as a soccer player, but as most people have come to notice, the man has an impressive image that extends far beyond the soccer field. He and his family have a special way of captivating the world, and now, it seems Mr. Beckham has even grabbed the attention of world liquor giant, Diageo.


The Wall Street Journal reports that Diageo has announced that they are joining forces with Beckham to launch a new Scotch whiskey. Named “Haig Club,” the Scotch is said to showcase butterscotch and toffee flavors. Haig Club will be part of House of Haig, Scotland’s oldest grain-whiskey distiller. With a global launch scheduled for later this year, the company says prices will probably start around $65 a bottle.


Back in 2012, Diageo said that they were going to spend $1.54 billion to increase Scotch production over the next five years to meet rising demand, and it looks like they’re staying true to their word. They said that Haig Club will appeal to current Scotch drinkers, but also “those who have always wanted to try whiskey.” They believe this can be achieved with Haig Club because grain whiskey’s milder taste is generally considered to be more palatable for first-time whiskey drinkers.


Beckham will not just be the face of Haig Club; he’ll also be helping to develop the brand, its strategy and positioning. It’s unclear as to whether he has invested in the launch, but he’ll be fully involved in it. Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol,” is also involved in the partnership. Fuller is also the former manager of the Spice Girls, of which Beckham’s wife Victoria was a member. It’s a small world after all.


In a statement about his new partnership, Beckham said: “The House of Haig has a rich history and I’m proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years.”


We think this whiskey sounds like it could be really good, but the price tag is also a tad high. What do you think?



Cocktail Corner: The Beer’s Knees


As we leave winter behind, we’re getting more creative with our cocktails. Most of our cocktails are based in spirits but sometimes when a good beer cocktail comes along, we can’t refuse. With The Beer’s Knees, you get the best of both worlds: the crisp carbonation from your brew and all the flavor of a mixed drink.. Easy to make, all you need is:


  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. honey syrup (1:1 honey and water)
  • 3 oz. white ale
  • 1 lemon wedge


Combine gin, juice, and honey syrup in an ice filled shaker. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with your beer and garnish with a lemon wedge.



Shanghai Is Taking Over The Tequila World

TequilaWhen we think tequila, we think Mexico. Well that and margaritas. Mexico has always been the hub of the tequila world but there’s a new player on the other side of the globe that’s emerging.


The latest tequila haven on the map: Shanghai, China. But the Chinese city didn’t really even start drinking the stuff until last June when China and Mexico ended a decade long feud between the two countries. The peace agreement opened up the possibility of tequila being imported to China and it’s been a success from the get go.


According to the numbers, China is on track to being the second largest market for tequila in the world. It’s only a matter of time before you’ll start seeing Jose Cuervo and Don Julio showing up on liquor store shelves in Shanghai. We still hold the top spot but we’re getting nervous. Are we really going to let them take our place as the biggest tequila lovers of the world? Not if we have anything to do with it.



Her Shot: Chill Out With a Cocktail

AvocadoMargAre you stressed out?


According to the American Psychological Association, more than half of all women say they’re “highly stressed,” which can lead to all sorts of issues like weight gain, depression, and even heart disease. If you’re the type of woman that is frequently stressed, but you don’t really do anything to relax, today is the day to chill; it’s National Stress Awareness Day.


We don’t know much about meditation, yoga, or bubble baths, but we do know a thing or two about cocktails. Here are a few drinks you can make today that taste good and also contain ingredients that are known to be calming stress relievers.


Avocado Margarita


An avocado margarita may sound a little strange, but believe us…it’s not. It’s actually pure magic. And avocados are loaded with potassium, an essential mineral that helps keep your blood pressure nice and low.


  • In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp. celery salt and 4 Tbsp. Kosher salt. Mix well.


  • Wet the outside of a Margarita glass with a lime wedge and dip into the salt mixture. Set the glass aside.


  • In a mixing glass, muddle half a ripe avocado with 1.5 oz. lime juice and 1.5 oz. agave nectar. Add 1.5 oz. 1800 Silver tequila and 0.75 oz. Cointreau. Top with ice and shake vigorously.


  • Strain into an ice-filed, salt-rimmed Margarita glass. Garnish with lime wedge and serve.


Disaronno Dark Chocolate Cocktail


Chocolate is fabulous for many different reasons, but there’s plenty of research out there that shows dark chocolate may just lower your levels of stress hormones. Also, the sugar releases serotonin which puts you in a better mood.


  • Melt 2.6 oz. chopped dark chocolate in a microwave
  • In a blender, mix the melted chocolate, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 oz. Disaronno, and ice.


  • Serve immediately and put some chocolate shavings in there if you want.


Citrus Smack


Vitamin C is awesome for stress reduction; it helps regulate cortisol (the primary stress hormone) and prevents blood pressure from spiking in response to stressful situations. With grapefruit, lemon and oranges in it, the Vitamin C-filled Citrus Smack cocktail definitely packs a punch.


  • Fill a tall glass with ice and add 1 1/2 oz. rum, 1 1/2 oz. triple sec, and 1 oz. sweet and sour mix.


  • Fill the remainder of the glass with grapefruit juice. Stir and then garnish with orange and lemon wedges.


So chill out and have a drink. It’s better for your health.



Big Winners at the World Beer Cup


The World Beer Cup International Competition took place recently in Boulder, Colorado and we were really interested to see which brews took home top honors. Developed by the Brewers Association, the first World Beer Cup was in 1996 and has celebrated the art and science of brewing ever since. Every two years, a highly qualified panel of beer judges hands out gold, silver, and bronze awards in 91 different categories – that’s a whole lot of beer.


This year was the biggest the competition had ever seen:


  • 4,754 beers were entered
  • 1,403 breweries were involved
  • 58 different countries were represented
  • 94 different styles of beer
  • 219 judges from 31 different countries


There are obviously a ton of different awards and categories, so we wanted to zero in on some of the bigger awards. There are Champion Brewery and Champion Brewmaster awards in each of the five brewery categories, based on the awards won by each brewery. The winners for 2014 are:


Small Brewing Company Category: Pelican Brewery; Darron Welch and Steve Panos


Mid-Size Brewing Company Category: Coronado Brewing Company; Coronado Brewing Company team


Large Brewing Company Category: Coors Brewing Company; Dr. David Ryder


Small Brewpub Category: Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant; Iron Hill Brewery team


Large Brewpub Category: Blind Tiger & Restaurant; John Dean


Want to see more of the winners? Check out the list on the World Beer Cup website.



Do Our Surroundings Change How Our Wine Tastes?


Have you ever felt that your wine tasted different depending on where and when you drank it? Oxford University scientists and Spanish winery Campo Viejo are teaming up to conduct a study that could change the way we drink and label our wine.


Professor Charles Spence of Oxford found himself constantly frustrated after bringing wine back from vacation and finding it just didn’t taste the same. He was often shocked to find that the flavors he loved were completely different when he was drinking them at home, even though it was the same bottle. Spence’s continued disappointment let to a revolutionary study that could tell us if wine adapts to our surroundings (or if it’s all in our head).


The Oxford professor is determined to test his belief that wines consumed in rooms with neutral colors translate towards bland tasting. During the Street of Spain Festival, a “Colour Lab” will be set up where guests will rate and describe wines while being exposed to different rooms with unique colored lights and sounds.


If the study proves conclusive, this could change everything about how we shop and choose our wine. Spence has visions of wine bottles labeled with such recommendations as, “best served after dark,” or “best accompanied with classical music.” Can you imagine? Next time you ask for a recommendation, you could be including your taste in music and favorite color.


We have to say we like our wine anytime and anyplace but we won’t turn down a glass in the name of scientific research. Does your wine transform depending on your setting or do you think Professor Spence has a screw loose?



Bartender or Mixologist – What’s the Difference?

BartenderBack in the day, a bartender was just a bartender. Nothing more than a title and a knack for making drinks. Lately, more and more bartenders have been upping their title to “mixologist” which makes them sound a whole lot fancier in our book. So is it just a name or is there really a difference?


On the one hand, most mixologists would say that not only are they serving people drinks but also they’re creating innovative and unique cocktails. They spend their spare time coming up with new recipes and dreaming up drinks to add to cocktail menus. They see themselves as masters of an art. The same people that would use the term mixologist would say that bartending all about taking care of people. They make sure the bar is fun, that people have their drinks, and that everyone has a good time.


On the other hand, there’s plenty of people out there that would say that this is a bunch of you know what. Bartenders and mixologist are one in the same – they making drinks, they serve them and everyone is happy.


So what do you think? Can you call a bartender a mixologist or a mixologist a bartender? Tell us what you think.



Pedal-Powered Beer

Recently we told you how beer has been proven to be the perfect replenishing beverage after a workout – but what if your workout made the beer? In Detroit, two men are taking efficient energy in their brewery to the next level with an idea that’s fueled by their customer’s energy. Literally.


Windmill Pointe Brewing is a brewery (still in the fundraising stage) that would run entirely on solar, wind, and also bicycle powered energy. Using stationary bikes ridden by visitors, Windmill would be the very first pedal powered brewery in the country.


How it works: the loyal participants pedaling on the bikes produce the energy, which makes its way into a combiner box, then into their batteries, before finally getting picked up by the hot water heater which powers the brewing process.


Windmill has plans for teams and spinning classes to be their go-to energy producers when they finally open (tentatively end of 2014). A workout class in the name of beer is one we can actually get behind. Riders will be able to see exactly how much beer they’re producing as they get their workout in and best of all? You can earn a free pint depending on how far you ride.


Count us in as official entries in the 2014 Tour-De-Beer at Windmill. How hard would you work for your beer?

The Man Cave: Mad Men Cocktails of the Late 60s

MadMenNo matter what we do, we never feel like we can be as cool as Don Draper, Roger Sterling, and the other guys from Mad Men. Granted, they’re fictional TV characters… but still, they’re just so smooth. Well, they’re returning to our television screens tonight to kick off the show’s 7th season – which is technically the last season of the series, even though it’s being split into 2 parts with the second half airing next year. (Don’t you hate how they do that?)


The show’s first season started in 1960 and Don & Co. were drinking those classic manly cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Martini, and Whiskey Sour. Season 7 is presumably going to take place in 1969, and those times, they’re a-changin’. Don and Roger are still “good ole boys” and will probably still be fans of their classic drinks, but with this season taking place mostly in California instead of New York and in such a huge year in American history (Man walks on the moon, Woodstock!, Vietnam), the drinks are undoubtedly going to start looking a little different.


What types of cocktails might we see make an appearance in this new season of Mad Men? Only time will tell, but here are a few popular drinks from the late 1960s to keep an eye out for:


Sea Breeze: The Sea Breeze (and slight variations, like the Cape Codder and Greyhound) was one of the most popular drinks during the late 60s. Vodka was becoming more popular than gin at this time and when you mixed it with cranberry and grapefruit juices, it made a great Sea Breeze cocktail.


Screwdriver: Along the same lines as the Sea Breeze, the Screwdriver became popular a) because of vodka and b) because it’s one of the easiest cocktails you can make…ever.


Daiquiri: Modern times have found special ways to ruin the daiquiri, but it’s important to remember that it has humble, more simple beginnings. With just a little rum, lime juice and simple syrup, the late 60s knew how to do daiquiris.


Moonwalk: This cocktail was created in 1969 specifically to celebrate the first moon-landing. It’s just some grapefruit juice, Grand Marnier orange liqueur, rose water and Champagne.


The Season 7 premiere of Mad Men airs tonight on AMC at 10/9c.



Absolut Bringing Our/Vodka To U.S. Cities

OurBerlinIn today’s world, the big booze names often reign supreme while the little guys get left behind. Absolut is trying to bring the two together with their Our/Vodka project to invest in local ingredients and cities around the country.


Absolut’s Our/Vodka campaign opens local micro distilleries around the world to create signature vodkas and leave a positive impact on individual cities. The vodkas focus on homegrown ingredients and are created in collaboration with local entrepreneurs. After the initial launch in Germany was a success, these distilleries are making their way to cities across the U.S.


Our/Vodka’s first stop stateside will be Detroit in June. From there, they’ll travel to Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami, Nashville, and New Orleans. The vodkas will all be made with the same recipe but each city will add local ingredients to make it their own. After creating their concoctions, the local partners will market it the way that they see fit.


Cheers to Absolut and their Our/Vodka initiative. We love to see local distilleries get their time in the spotlight and this is the perfect opportunity.