Clementine Stevens is Curious
The Drink of the Motherland: Gary Shteyngart drops wisdom on his ancestral vodka drinking, and moderation. The money quote: “If you limit yourself to five or six drinks a day, you're fine.” [Esquire]
The Best Things in Life are Free: Gizmodo offers 16 reasons to jailbreak your iPhone (now that it’s legal). [Gizmodo]
The Second Jet Was Too Much, Really: Maybe you should buy less stuff, the New York Times helpfully suggests. [NYTimes]
Submit to Politeness!: These vintage Japanese subway etiquette posters are today’s coolest thing we’ve ever seen. [Pink Tentacle]
Anja Rubik is an Amateur Shepherd
Sheep is the New Black: We’re not sure we follow the plot of this sheep-based editorial…but that’s Vogue Nippon for you. [Fashion Copious]
Padding: The iPad backlash begins in earnest. Get ready to learn what bezel means. [Gizmodo]
God Bless America: A state-by-state look at the vodkas of America. There are many, many more than you thought. [Valet]
Fare Thee Well: The world is one beard short tonight, now that Jon Hamm has shaved off his muzzle for SNL. Light a candle. [Vulture]
So Fresh, So Clean
Vodka: is there any problem it can’t solve?
Well, we can add vintage-clothes smell to the list at least. Valet Magazine tracked down the costume designer for Mad Men to see how they keep the vintage-heavy set from smelling like the back of your grandmother’s closet and the answer was a whole lot simpler than we thought. The secret? One part vodka in two parts water, sprayed on and left to air. Apparently astringent spirits do a lot to suck up whatever’s hovering in those threads, and vodka’s pure enough to not leave any smells behind.
Sounds like we’d better stock up.
Dean’s Pants, Political Knots, and Lots of Nixons
On the Block: Christies in London is selling off some amazing stuff, including one of Paul Newman’s auto racing suits, Daniel Day Lewis’ iconic green suit from There Will Be Blood and the tux trousers worn by James Dean in Giant. Here’s hoping there’s still change in the pockets… [Men.Style]
Change We Can Believe In: Can you tell the difference between Obama and Bush just by looking at their tie knots? Probably not. [CityFile]
Popping the Bubble: Champagne sales plummet. No word yet on vodka, Dr. Pepper and Cheetos, but early signs look good. [The Economist]
Ten Little Nixons: Counting down the best Nixons to make it to the screen. We love a little Hopkins, but our heart belongs to Dick. [Vulture]
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Celebrity brands are usually pretty dicey, but this one is just plain off-the-wall. Beloved Canadian Dan Aykroyd has emerged as the face of Crystal Skull Vodka, a line of spirits inspired by an obscure archaeological mystery. (It may sound familiar.) The vodka itself is fairly bizarre, the occult mumbo jumbo is surprisingly tangential, and Aykroyd comes off as either completely off his nut or brilliantly deadpan. We prefer our skulls with a little more glitz...but we'll settle for this.
You can actually buy the vodka (if you need a glass skull for your mantle), but just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s not a joke. The Ghostbusters 3 timing may be too convenient for us to take all of this at face value, but we won’t complain too loudly.
Hoax or not, it’s the funniest thing Aykroyd has done in a very long time.
See the video»
Muscle from Brussels
The venerable Van Hoo distillery in the village of Eeklo, Belgium has been churning out premium spirits for over 250 years, but their assault on America's top shelves is just getting off the ground.
They recently gave their single estate, quadruple-distilled, charcoal filtered vodka a much-needed facelift, and it's one of the best-looking and tasting examples we've ever had the pleasure of drinking way too much of. Packaged in a dashing Art Deco-style octagonal cobalt blue bottle, the yeasty, potent, and somewhat thick, syrupy spirit manages to mix mineral and citrus notes without stirring up a *coup d'état*; quite the opposite, in fact, a match made in some souse's heaven. Not bad for a country where half the population refers to themselves as “Walloons."
Most of the tequilas we come across look like some kind of Tex Mex nightmare; occasionally one even resembles a good cognac. One thing we didn't expect to see was an elixir of agave that could be a stand-in for ultra-premium vodka. In a crowded market, however, you sometimes have to think outside the box—er, bottle.
Thus we have Maestro Dobel, the “world's first diamond tequila”, sold in numbered vessels bearing the name of the ranch the agave was harvested from. What the hell does “diamond” mean? Well, most aged tequilas of the anejo and extra-anejo variety look like they've been sitting around in oak for a while, which of course they have.
Maestro Dobel, a blend of the latter plus a spot of reposado, is crystal clear, however, the result of a “proprietary blending and filtration technique,” they say, that “gently expels congeners” along with color. Sounds like some kind of eel, no? Apparently it's an impurity borne of fermentation that we consume all the time. Who knew? Who cares. But this is pretty good stuff all the same.
We’ve seen a lot of different vodkas, and a lot of different ways to package vodka. But it’s safe to say, this is the first farmer’s vodka we’ve come across.
Arising from an unlikely union of a Minnesotan agricultural co-op and the Phillips Distilling Company, the folks who brought you Belvedere and America’s first taste of schnapps. But what really interests us isn’t the pedigree but the packaging. We knew vodka was made from corn, but somehow no one ever put the two together before. We always thought of vodka as more of a tundra drink, but apparently not.
It also does double duty as both organic and kosher, for all the hippie Zionists out there.