In Cocktails Drinks Entertaining New York City New York City Events Pride2019 Smirnoff Summer Drinks Vodka World Pride

Home Is Where The Bar Is: Smirnoff House Of Pride Party June 27, 2019 NYC

June 27, 2019 There's only a few things that go on in New York City during the Summer and most of them involve, rooftops or sidewalk soirees, fighting for grass & seating in a public park and swapping out anything indoor for the outdoor.  The hot is traded for the iced, the AC becomes mechanical gold and the city becomes surprisingly a little less manic.
But not this weekend!  As the host city for World Pride 2019, New York City, which has seen its fair share of antics, stunts and bacchanal behavior, is kind of certifiably electric.  So what's one more traffic jam, crowded train or temporary über fare hike if it means epic parties, wall to wall bodies and endless liquor flowing?  Well, thankfully I didn't run into any train delays or fare hikes, but the Smirnoff House Of Pride party did cause a traffic jam yesterday evening.  Smacked right on one of the city's most renowned streets last night, Smirnoff orchestrated six exciting rooms set up as a unique pop-up experience to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.  Appropriately called House Of Pride, it played up ballroom, bar, brothel, house party, Americana, camp and disco themes all centered around the LGBTQIA+ community's past, present and future.  

The party, hosted by Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness, with vamped-up drag performers, wonderfully eclectic appetizers, Timo Weiland spinning on the 1s & 2s and interactive campy props in each of the room all conspired together to enhance the perfectly curated cocktails all made with the well-crafted Smirnoff.  I mean, a party where Van Ness emerges out of a rainbow taxi like a saucy Venus DeMilo all while passersby and drivers gawk, stare, smile, regard in peculiar bewilderment then go back to their normal Thursday evening routines is classic New York behavior, no?  It was a strong message of pride in that no one should be deterred from living their truth and all of our truths can and should coexist together be it on a frenetic Canal Street in NYC, any Smalltown USA or globally.  No house is perfect, since thats boring.  Our collective differences teach us about our diversity more than anything and a little Smirnoff on ice only serves to make learning and discovering each other that much more cheeky.  

The two limited-edition Smirnoff "Welcome Home" and "Love Wins" bottles are part of the "Welcome Home" campaign celebrating and promoting inclusion and acceptance of all for all.  There are six versions of the "Welcome Home" bottle where on each the word 'Welcome' is spelled out in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian and Mandarin to honor the global LGBTQIA+ communities that were done especially for House Of Pride party, however the only bottles that are available for retail now are the 'Love Wins' bottles.  And as always, the top shelf taste of Smirnoff, loving yourself and who you choose is always a win! 

*Some photos courtesy of Getty Images

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In Akua Kelp Jerky Cooking Entertaining Food and Drink Health Summer Eats Vegan Vegan Foods Wellness

That Jerky Fix: Akua Kelp Jerky

How do you chase that itching, very evident, antsy 3pm 'still in the office' on a Summer Friday feeling away?  It's usually by snacking.  That late afternoon chocolate fix, the post-lunch coffee upper or even an 'almost quitting-time' beautifully-conflicted and wonderfully-balanced sweet & salty marriage can all conspire to make the afternoon fly by like a breeze.  Yet instead of reaching for the sugary, over-salted and the über-caffeinated fix, some of you may want to have your impromptu snacking be health-conscious and well-executed.  Well to those who may want a little bit of it all, like something salty and possibly even sweet to go with that afternoon espresso, here comes a welcomed option with Akua Kelp Jerky.

Don't be dismayed into thinking that jerky can only be derived from something that once went moo, oink or gobble-gobble.  Jerky essentially means dry and salted which is exactly what Akua has done with the ocean's garden.  Their line of kelp jerkies are made from ocean seagreens and shittake mushrooms are 100% sustainable and vegan.  They are a perfect salting snack that also, depending on the flavor, like Rosemary & Maple BBQ, can also be a sweet snack too.  The flavor is definitely briny with a vivid note of full bodied leafy greens and earthy mushrooms.  I find the bold flavor can be enjoyed on its own, but also creates a wonderful story when paired with vegan cheeses, grainy crackers, crudités or sliced & sprinkled on top of salads.  

Spicy, salty, sweet, earthy and herbal are all accounted for with the awesome flavor pairings of Akua's Kelp Jerkies, like Spicy Thai & Spirulina, Sesame & Nori Sea Salt in addition to the Rosemary & Maple BBQ.  What also sweetens the pot is that these oceanic snacks also have 10g of protein and fiber per pack.  So now you can snack and kill two birds with one stone and still feel good about your impulses afterwards.  Akua Kelp Jerkies are available now on the company's website here.

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In Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks Mens Issues Mens lifestyle National Martini Day Recreation

Chew To Your Life's Content: Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks

If you live in a major city, have a challenging job or career or are dealing with the waiting game until life gets sweeter & easier then chances are you probably constantly seek out ways to relax.  A vacation may not always be doable and sometimes even a staycation at home can even be a bundle of nerves especially if you're headaches rear their ugly heads at home too.  So what's a worn-out guy to do?

Ponder the answer to that question today as conveniently, it's Nation Martini Day.  Now we all have some form of wise adage about how a stiff drink can calm the savage beasts of stress and annoyance. It's the elements that collaborate to sooth and make one a little less tense.  This is precisely why I was intrigued to shed some focus on literally every element of my martini this June 19.  The lively gin, the fragrant vermouth and my briny kalamatas do a lovely dance together at the party but an interesting little skewer I discovered drives the dancing home.  In my efforts to relax, I decided to jazz up my martini with Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks.

Each toothpick delivers a soothing dose of CBD isolate extracted from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant.  This is whole plant hemp oil and each pick contains 25mg of CBD.  That nice microdose  is enough to have a mild total-body calming effect, flavorful enough to deliver a satisfyingly sweet bite and discreet enough to skewer your olives, none the wiser.  The way you enjoy the infused-chew is similar to a chew-stick or teeth cleaning twig.  Most commonly used in the West Indies and continental Africa, the chew stick is a naturally herbal stick, that when chewed, the friction and inner-herbal juices of the stick are used to clean the teeth and freshen the breath.  The CBD Infused Toothpicks from Ignite perform a similar function in that you tenderly chew on one end of the toothpick to release half the dosage of CBD and then flip it to the other end of the pick and chew for a full dose when the flavor runs dry.  A great thing is that they come flavored so that a sweet taste will cajole you to chew to your heart and mind's content.  Find Ignite CBD Infused Toothpicks and other great products available now through their website here, enjoy the martini recipe below and the new fact that the full cocktail experience doesn't necessarily have to end when all the liquor is gone.

Dirty Finish, Clean Ignite

4 ounces            Tommy Rotter Gin
2 ounces            Carpano Dry Vermouth
1/2 -1 ounce      Olive brine
1                        Ignite CBD Infused Toothpick
2                        Kalamata Olives

Place ice into a shaker.  Add gin, vermouth and olive brine.  Shake or stir, your preference, just enough to chill the contents.  Strain contents into a martini glass.  Skewer the Ignite pick through the olive and rest against the inside of the glass.  

This is a nice way to elevate your martini and end your day on an appropriately relaxing note as the salty potent cocktail gives way to the sweet woody finish for a balanced experience.

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In Alcohol Review Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Mens lifestyle Novo Fogo Chameleon Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça Summer Drinks Wines and Spirits

A Sweet Trip To Brazil, On Ice: Novo Fogo Chameleon Cachaça

I have vivid memories of lazing around on a beach in Saint Martin and drifting off into an appropriately satisfying slumber under the warm Summer sun.  Of course this siesta was due less to sheer exhaustion and due more to the copious amounts of rum that was poured into my coconut cocktail.  That sun, seaside and sugar trifecta created the perfect setting for a beauty nap and also created my first awareness that sugar cane-based spirits are saccharine in nature but delectably potent as all hell.

Then in walks this spirit named Cachaça.  It's rum with eclecticism.  Cachaça is Brazil's love spirit and no brand delivers it with more gusto than Novo Fogo.  What makes Novo Fogo so special as mentioned in my first feature on their silver cachaça here is the cultivating of the sugar cane yeast for almost 24 hours in special temperature-controlled vats then how it rests in chemically-inert stainless steel tanks for one year.  After this process, the cachaça is then aged and finished in Brazilian oak barrels that are sanded and re-toasted so that there is virtually fresh wood for each new aging process.  The result is a potent spirit with a woody depth and distinct sweetness that gives you a matured & weighted herbal burst with pleasant notes of spice and citrus.  

An exciting and unique cachaça from Novo Fogo is Chameleon.  It lives up to its namesake by giving you classic cachaça distilling techniques mixed with Northern bourbon whiskey distilling methods since it's aged for one year in repurposed American oak barrels.  So it rests long enough to get the flavor from the oak barrels without that foreign flavor overtaking the beautiful notes of the Brazilian rainforest and cane juice loveliness.  The result is a slightly different kind of woodiness with those characteristic hints of spicy vanilla and herbal potency which make it a nice sipper or mixer with its diverse and chamelonic flavor profile.  Check out the great recipe below for a nice cocktail that highlights the beauty of this remixed cachaça.

Brazilian Buck

1 1/2 ounces         Novo Fogo Chameleon Cachaça
4 ounces               Ginger Beer
2 dashes               Aromatic Bitters
Squeeze of Fresh Lime Juice

Add ice to a highball or rocks glass then add the cachaça, ginger beer and lime juice.  Stir to combine then add bitters and lightly stir.  Garnish glass with lime wheel.

This was an intense and delightful array of flavors that hit all over the palette with the spiciness of the ginger beer & the heat of the aged cachaça, the sweet notes of the cachaça & herbal notes of the bitters all made distinct by the presence of the tart lime.  A perfect spirit to give you a great seafront catnap or a pleasant after-five wind-down.  Novo Fogo Chameleon is available now at your finer wine and spirit retailers.

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