In Alcohol Review Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Food and Drink Gin Holiday Holiday 2017 Mens lifestyle The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

From The Isle Of Islay To Your Glass: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

How do you take your gin?  Perhaps you don't talk it at all (shame on you).  Well there's well-enough reason to start to discover the grown and seasoned loveliness of that clear spirit of tradition.  The juniper, the herbal fragrance with whiffs of berry and spicy essences and the satisfying warmth of the flow over the gullet and into the tummy all conspire to make for a wonderfully refreshing and distinctive drink.  

So in speaking of distinctive, I can't go on without mentioning a gin I had the pleasure of enjoying recently.  The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is a unique gin that gets its core ingredients from the Scottish Hebridean Islands' Isle of Islay.  Twenty-two island-grown botanicals, including barks, seeds, peels and nine different berries are harvested to compose a flavor profile that is verdant and lively from being kissed by the briny Atlantic oceanic air and crisp winds from the North together with the familiar gin nods of juniper and coriander.  Then time-honored (and protected) Hebridean Island distilleries cultivate a smooth and sharp gin that is as distinguishing as it is artfully inspired in its labor of love tactics to procure an exciting platform spirit.  

What's special about The Botanist is that the taste is clean and the expansive assembling of ingredients blend well with other fresh ingredients that may be grown similarly or have likened flavor profiles.  At that I attended that introduced me to this gin, I got to experience the versatility of The Botanist with uniquely curated drinks that were remixes on classic gin cocktails.  The sweet, sharp and fizzy Poached & Tonic, the earthy, floral and tart Beet Rose Spritz and the zesty, peppery and saccharine So Much Better Than A Bloody Mary were all stellar cocktails that showcased the range of this gin in delicious and insightful ways. 

Rounding out the night of discovery was a knowledge-filled intro to The Botanist and its specially-formed history together with the chance for the guests to try our hands at cocktail-creating.  Complete with How-To placards, I discovered that I make a pretty good (and potent) Beet Rose Sprtiz and I also got a much better idea as to how the fresh ingredients created a great compliment to a gin with a delightfully vibrant flavor experience.

For more information on the interesting history on The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, visit  their website and visit here to purchase and as always, please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly.

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In Alcohol Review Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey Cocktails Entertaining Holiday Holiday 2017 Mens Mens lifestyle Whiskey Wines and Spirits

The Warmth Of Whiskey, Clyde's Way: Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey

Oh the weather outside is frightful!  Let that sink in for a sec.  If you're anywhere in the New York City Metro/New England east coast area then the below-freezing temps as of late have elicited fright rather than delight.  It's to be expected though.  After all, the winter time (even though it's technically not winter yet) brings in cold weather, wind chills, snowfalls, single-digit temps and thankfully hot toddies.  Not that you needed the winter as an excuse to imbibe, but nothing gets at that bone-chilled core more than a good whiskey.  The pleasure of toddies and other seasonally delectable libations can involve rums and brandies, but I recently rediscovered a deliciously satisfying whiskey that stood out in a strong way to warm me up all on its own. 

Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey delivers a great award-winning whiskey experience with as much a flavorful punch as it has a flavorful history.  This whiskey started as Conecuh Ridge Whiskey back in the mid 1900s from Clyde May, a legendary moonshiner and bootlegger.  May's ingenuity and belief in the platform production and quality of his whiskey may have landed him in hot water several times but his product was heralded by friends and family who had the pleasure of imbibing.  After his death in 1990 May's son Kenny decided to revive his dad's prized recipe to honor his quiet but definitive legacy and that whiskey became the official state spirit in 2004.  However, still not content to let the spirit live on, Kenny May's efforts to carry on his dad's vision fell on more checkered times with the Alabama government and fusspots in the state's legislature, but today has  thankfully finally found a home in the Conecuh Ridge Distillery.  So Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey will live on.  

Now just what does that whiskey experience comprise of?  Well, let's start with Clyde May's distinct recipe for his whiskey which used Alabama spring water and oven-dried apples in his heavy-charred white oak barrels.  This recipe is remastered today with a 4 year minimum aged straight bourbon with the hint of natural apple.  The result is the fragrant aroma of sweet apples followed by a soothing spiciness like fresh cinnamon.  The woody oak, apple essence and seasoned spice come through with a smooth full-bodied flavor that finishes cleanly and goes down warmly.  This is a comforting spirit and the Alabama Style presence of the apple really makes this a sipping winner or hot toddy stunner.  

You'll really want to keep this whiskey in your home bar and ask for it at your bar of choice.  It would be a shame to miss out on the carefully-crafted vision of Clyde's that he risked and fought so dearly to create.  Maybe look for it today and coin it just as Clyde did 50 years ago as his 'Christmas Whiskey' just in time for holiday festivities.  Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey is available now at your finer alcohol, wine and spirit retailers and as always, please remember to drink and enjoy responsibly. 

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In Holiday Holiday 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Kodak Mens Mens lifestyle Tech Tech and Gadgets

Life In Person, Not Just On Your Phone: Kodak Printomatic and Photo Printer Mini

We've all been there haven't we?  That peculiar place when our smart phones tell us that our photo wishes have exceeded their capacity to fulfill them.  What do you do when the memory runs out or the storage gets as full as our bellies post a holiday meal at mom's?  Some of you may or may not remember or recall with fondness those large bound books at your grandparent's called albums.  For before albums were only associated with going platinum, the album was what held your familial history and reminded you of that moment when that high or low was captured on film.  There's something sweetly dedicated to be said of still writing things down, picking up a phone to talk and, yes, holding a photo in hand.  I, for one, am still a purist in that way.  For that reason alone is why I loved discovering at a recent Pepcom here in New York City, a couple of convenient tech gadgets that bridged my love of the familiar with my respect for the new.

Kodak, the company synonymous with pictures & cameras and all that great stuff that capture the way we live our lives, has got two products I want to share with you.  First up on the roster is the Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera.  This is an amazingly light and handy camera that houses it's own photo lab.  The Printomatic houses ten sheets of quality photo paper at a time and with one touch of a button you can take cool color or black and white photos that slide coolly and quickly out the side of the camera.  There is even a slot for the option to store photos taken on the camera on a microSD card of up to 32GB.  Added bonuses are a built lithium ion battery that charges quickly, an indicator of low battery power, printing in progress indicator and automatic focus and an advanced optical viewfinder T6.  The camera also loads with Kodak Zink Photo Paper that is water and tear resistant and adhesive-backed.  Check out my video at the top of this post and see how quick and easy it is to use:    

Next up is the Kodak Photo Printer Mini.  Some of us refuse to part with our smartphones and the Photo Printer Mini makes it so you don't have to.  You can sync your iPhone or Android devices to the printer over wifi and then have a range of options to control the output of your photos, such as video print, image search and SNS photo, through a free Kodak App.  The app also allows you to edit photos before printing with tools like filters, photo brushes and features a camera option to take photos while in the app as well.  The Photo Printer Mini is also incredibly light and a full color cartridge complete with ten sheets of quality photo paper tucks neatly into a flush side compartment.  See how great the photo turns out in my video below:

If anything at all I hoped I've solved your gift-giving conundrums for at least a few people this holiday season with a pair of gadgets that put the fun of physical photos in-hand back into the holiday festivities.  The Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera and the Kodak Photo Printer Mini are both available now at here at and here at  Classic familiarities meet modern handiness.

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In Alcohol Review Entertaining Holiday Holiday 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Mens lifestyle Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça Wines and Spirits

The Sweet Side of Brazil: Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça

You know the saying that's always retorted when you suggest to someone that they're drinking a cocktail too early? "Well it's two o'clock somewhere ain't it?" or whatever earlier than cocktail hour time it is is mentioned as the justification to imbibe.  When I think of the holidays here in the U.S., the festive spirits/drinks that come to mind are usually brandy for egg nog, red wine for mulled wine, champagne for toasting or bourbon for a hot toddy.  Well this season I had the distinct pleasure of discovering Brazilian Cachaça and while it may not be the quintessential holiday spirit, the flavor had me exclaiming "Well it's the holiday season in Brazil ain't it?".

All that is to suggest that you just may want to add Cachaça to you spirit bucket list and home bar.  The Silver Cachaça from Novo Fogo is an exceptional Cachaça that is distilled in copper pots and made from organic sugar cane grown in the Brazilian state of Paraná.  It's then rested in stainless steel tanks until its ready to be sipped, mixed in the Brazilian national drink the Caipirinha or used as the base spirit in a modified Negroni cocktail.  So let's get to the flavor.  Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça has an herbal aroma similar to that of banana blossoms and you can surely smell the sweet rustic scent of the sugar cane.  The sip ushers in a deep flavor profile that starts off with a warm peppery nod, a tangy almost lemony kick and an interesting briny lingering.  All together with the sugar cane the notes achieve a balance and give off a nice herbal pop that finishes with a faint saltiness to doesn't linger but ends the sip with a clean memorable satisfaction.  

Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça is like a zesty dancing rum with intense flavors that surprise.  With that in mind, I thought about taking a simple rum cocktail and remixing it with this spirit.  I call it the Cachaça Two-Step.

Cachaça Two-Step

3.5 ounces                Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
1 ounce                     Simple Syrup
1/2                            Lime
1                               Maraschino cherry
1 wedge                    Pineapple

Place the Cachaça and simple syrup into a shaker with ice then squeeze in the juice of the half of lime.  Shake it up for about 20 seconds.  Pour everything (including ice) into a lowball glass and then garnish with the cherry and pineapple wedge.

This is a quick and easy cocktail that marries nicely with the tropical essence of the Cachaça's sugar cane.  The presence of the lime serves to beef up the citrus notes in the spirit and the simple syrup balances out the heat and depth of the flavor profile nicely.

For more information on Novo Fogo and all their complete spirits line-up please visit  Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça is available now at your better Alcohol, Wine and Spirit retailers as as always please remember to drink responsibly.

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In All Natural Cosmetics Holiday Holiday 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Mens Mens Grooming Mens Issues Mens lifestyle Sway

Raise Your Hand If Your Swayed: Sway Underarm Deodorant

It seems that every other day there's a list that comes out, a report that's recapped or statistics that are tabulated that send us deeper into information overload.  What's more is that many of these findings that say 'nay' contradict findings that only years earlier said 'yay'.  So at the end of the day many of us, instead of choosing what to do, decide to do nothing at all.  Information-overload oftentimes leads to disinterest.  Well there are several findings lately that call to question the presence of paraben-filled cosmetics, pore-blocking comedogenic products and aluminum-laden antiperspirants and deodorants.  All this serves as the growing push for more natural product awareness and usage.  In a sense, there's a growing push for products that help to solve and manage problems short-term without creating newer problems for you in the long-run.

Enter Sway, a natural cosmetics company that has two simple restorative products.  Sway offers a natural detox deodorant and underarm dusting powder to help rid you of your anti-persperant/deodorant woes.  In their deodorant, the company uses ingredients like apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, rose flower water, tea tree oil, clary sage and West Indian sandalwood oil to treat the conditions of underarm sweat and odor in an all natural way.  The common skepticism is that the strength of certain natural products don't pack the punch of chemically-laden products which is why I had to test Sway out myself.  First, Sway has a soothing herbal aroma and the tea tree oil, sage and sandalwood come through with an intense verdant punch.  It went on smoothly with the roll-on and after 30-45 seconds drying time, then came the dusting powder.  Sway offers the powder for extra added freshness and dryness.  It boasts natural ingredients like arrowroot powder, orange oil and grapefruit oil.  A simple dusting after the deodorant dried and it was time to get dressed to let the test begin.

The result was a good one.  First off, let me just say that I'm a guy and I tend to perspire a lot and Sway stood up to one of my workday's movements and sweat-filled stresses.  I undressed at the end of the night and saw no residue of deodorant, the powder and had no untoward odors.  However, that wasn't the end of the test.  It had to be a week long trial and I must say that by Friday Sway was still as odorless and working fine as the first application days before.  It's formulated to get your underarms used to it after repeated use and, without the alcohol and aluminum, its great on darker skin tones too.  

The Sway Underarm Detox Starter Kit is available now at their website  Not a bad gift at all for the holidays or to just keep cool and odor-free while running around for the holidays.

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