December 5, 2005
We're not sure what it is, but we're a bit creeped out by the concept of robot bartenders...maybe it's the herky-jerky movements, the stilted post-pour conversation, or the fact that they could go HAL on us at any moment if we spill our drink. We'd be a lot more comfortable with something between the beer-only Kegbot and the "I could crush your face with robot strength" of T-Rot and RoboBar. Luckily, thanks to the fine folks over at The Sporting Life, we may have found it in the AI Bar:
This modified refrigerator houses up to sixteen different liquor/mixer bottles and a keg, all powered by CO2. The real magic? It plays bartenders, too. On the left half of the unit, where you might normally find a water/ice dispenser, you’ll find a touchscreen running bartending software that allows you to select from a huge variety of drinks, cocktails, etc. After making your selection, the unit pours the drink for you–voila!
According to the AI Bar site, this mechanized mixologist can make over 1,000 drinks, and there are plans in the works to commercialize it. Plus, the inventors plan all kinds of upgrades, like remote ordering through PDAs and cell phones, voice recognition software (imagine programming yours to say "Free Drink") and card readers for automatic credit card charges. Sounds like a vending machine from drunken heaven to us.
Learn more at AIBar.com.
December 4, 2005
We don't usually stand on ceremony when it comes to serving booze. In fact, we've been known to drink directly out of the bottle when there were no clean glasses around. But sometimes you want to snazz up your booze and serve it with style. Whether you're entertaining foreign dignitaries or just having the family over for the holidays, nothing says class like serving your liquor from a decanter. We've searched around for some of the nicest decanter sets we could find, and rounded them up so you can buy them for yourself or as a gift.
Crystal Nightcap Decanter Set
Buy It at Amazon
Invite someone back to your place for a holiday nightcap and wow while you woo them with this handcrafted Scottish crystal decanter and two shot glasses. The decanter holds 7oz, and each shot glass holds 2oz, plus they're all inlaid with Celtic knot work. The set comes in a satin-lined gift box, and you can buy it for $49.95 at Amazon.
Mikasa Motion Decanter Set
Buy it at Amazon
Add some movement to your bar with the Mikasa Motion decanter set. This lead crystal set also comes in a gift box, and includes an elegant decanter and four double-old fashioned glasses. Not only are the decanter and glasses crystal clear, the lead crystal gives them a good heft when you hold them and a solid feel in your hand. The set usually retails for $120, but you can get it for $79.99 at Amazon.
Nambe Tilted Decanter Set
Buy it at Amazon
Speaking of motion, give your bar the illusion of speed with this tilted decanter set. It will be interesting to see your decanter already appear tilted before you've even started drinking, and this is the kind of unique gift that will become a true conversation piece. Get the hand blown crystal tilted decanter and two double old fashioned glasses for $175 at Amazon.
December 2, 2005
There's something inherently cool about multitools, something that appeals to our primal nature. Any time we need to reaffirm our manliness, all we have to do is strip some wire, pry something open with pliers, or unscrew something and screw it back together. And if it all can be done with a single tool that hangs from our belt, all the better. Enter the Leatherman Juiceline of multitools, which has all the cool, manly tools you expect, plus offers some assistance for your mobile bar.
We love Leathermans (Leathermen?) in general, but we want more than just an opportunity to carry 14 knives, pliers and a saw on our belt at all times. We want to be able to open beers and uncork wine, as well as be able to make repairs and adjustments on our beer pong table. With our favorite model, the Leatherman Juice CS4, we can do all that and more. Here's the product description we found at Amazon:
Packing 14 individual tools into a remarkably compact, metallic blue, anodized-aluminum body, Leatherman's cool new CS4--a.k.a. the Glacier--is a midsize member of the company's exciting, new Juice line of multitools. Only 3-1/4 inches long, and weighing a mere 5-1/2 ounces, the Glacier really is small enough to carry comfortably in your pocket.
Like other Leatherman tools, the Glacier butterflies open, exposing the needle-nose pliers/wire cutters/wire stripper, with access to three flat-head screwdrivers, a Philips driver, and a lanyard attachment--the same tools you'll find inside Leatherman's KF4 Solar. The Glacier's handles, however, harbor a different combination of tools that are perfect for picnickers: scissors, a can/bottle opener, corkscrew, a saw, an awl, and a straight knife.
Like the entire Leatherman's Juice line, the Glacier positively snaps into the open position, and the individual tools are all made of high-grade stainless steel. The Juice multitools do lack the blade-locking mechanism found on Leatherman's Wave, but the blades click crisply into place and hold securely. Looking for a gift for your favorite technophile or gadget lover? You can't go wrong with the Glacier.
We're sold! You can pick up the Leatherman Juice CS4
at Amazon, and it's currently marked down from $69.99 to $49.99. Or browse the full Leatherman Juice
line to find one that meets your needs. And remember, it makes a great gift for the man (or gadget-oriented lady) in your life, as well as for your friendly neighborhood Liquor Snobs.
November 23, 2005
Battery-operated glowing shot glass
Typical Price: $9.99 each (or $7.99 each for 4 or more) plus $5 for shipping. Buy Now
You'd be surprised by the number of situations where a glowing shot glass might come in handy. Finding your glass after you've had a couple too many, gaining the element of surprise in a drinking game, escaping a mine cave-in...the list is endless. We've seen a few glowing shot glasses around, and may of them seem to be cheap plastic jobs with lighting mechanisms that are shady at best. Not so the Envious Ounce, a glowing shot glass we covered a couple weeks ago.
The Envious Ounce is made of frosted glass, with a little electronic doo-hickey attached to the bottom. It looks just like a regular shot glass until you whack it on a table (not so hard, Hercules). A nice, firm thwack of your Envious Ounce (not as dirty as it sounds) causes the glass to glow with a warm red light, opening up all sorts of possibilities. One thing they suggest on the Envious Ounce site is to use it to change up the game of quarters, and we can definitely see the posibilities in that, if everyone tries to get their quarter in before the lights go out. And don't forget about other possibilities, like convincing primitive cultures you're a god.
For $10 (or $8 each if you order four or more), you can get your hands on an Envious Ounce. It might seem a bit spendy, but money is no object on the path to illumination. We've enjoyed ours immensely, mostly as a way to torture the interns. We hide behind the couch, thwack our Envious Ounce and try to convince them we're the ghost of drinks past. They're not really buying it, but oh, the good times we have.
Learn more about the Envious Ounce and get your own at Envious.com.
November 19, 2005
Lately, we've become obsessed with the dry martini. As mentioned in our Level vodka review, we historically have liked our martinis the dirtier the better, but as we start to move to nicer gins and vodkas we don't need to mask the taste anymore. We'd been experimenting with ways to get the absolute least amount of vermouth into the shaker, but we hadn't been having much luck. Then, we discovered the Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer at Amazonand suddenly it was a whole new ball game.
It takes the headache out of mixing a martini - you just pour your vermouth into the sprayer, pump it a few times, and give it a squeeze. With some practice you'll be able to control the dryness of your martinis pretty much down to the vermouth molecule. Plus, since it's a pump instead of an aerosol, there are no propellants to mess up the taste of your perfect martini. Below is the product description from Amazon:
Mixing an elegant, bone-dry martini is a snap with this stylish, non-aerosol vermouth sprayer. Just push the top with a manicured forefinger and mist the inside of a frosted glass or spray the top of your drink. The sprayer's glass vial holds 1 ounce of vermouth and refills easily with a tiny funnel (included). At just 3-1/2 inches high and less than 1 inch in diameter, the sprayer tucks into pocket or purse so it can accompany you to a cocktail lounge. There you can dazzle a bartender and get a conversation started by whipping out the satin-silver sprayer and adding your own benediction to icy gin. Sprayer, funnel, and drink recipes come in an elegant, charcoal-colored gift box.
What more do we have to say? Pick up your own Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer
at Amazon, or buy one for a friend, for less than $15.
November 1, 2005
Modern Drunkard: A Handbook for Drinking in the 21st Century
Vital Stats: 205 pages of tips and information that will touch your inner drunkard
Author: Frank Kelly Rich
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Typical Price: $14.00 ($11.20 at Amazonplus free shipping)
It's no secret that we consider Frank Kelly Rich to be the grandaddy of what we do here at Liquor Snob. Sure, we're more product- and news-oriented while his Modern Drunkard Magazine focuses more on the esoterics of boozing, but it was the spirit that got us interested in writing about spirits. That being said, we've got to say his Modern Drunkard book is one of the funniest, not to mention most informative and useful books we've ever read.
We've all heard the saying "it's funny because it's true," and when we got our copy of the Modern Drunkard book last night we couldn't stop laughing. It's not just because the book is full of witticisms and gin-soaked humor. It's because he offers real-life tips on how a drunkard can survive in a teetotaling world, and insights any drunkard can agree with.
The book is full of indispensable information for today's boozer. Read "Etiquette for Inebriates" for tips on how to make it through awkward drinking situations, like hitting on the wife of the host of the party you're attending. Smile knowingly at the "Know Your Bartender" section because you've seen them all in your travels, from the Mercenary to the Ladies' Man. Learn "Bar Signs" for when you've lost your speech in your local watering hole.
Issue yourself the personal challenge of trying to pull off the Modern Drunkard's "Best Bar Moves," like the unsolicited hug and drinking as war. Learn the "Zen of Drinking Alone," and pick up a few "Party Games for People Who Don't Like Party Games" - we know we'll be playing Your Favorite Band Really, Really Sucks the next time we're at a shindig.
But our favorite part of the book was the final section, entitled "365 Excuses to Get Loaded." We're not going to spoil them for you, but we're especially interested in February 21, which involves a Polaroid, and June 15, which is a great day to drink moonshine. Plus, find out why you should drink 15 pints every December 25.
The Modern Drunkard is a great read and a true boozer's bible, combining tongue-in-cheek humor with tried and true strategies and tips. In fact, we got more information out of flipping through its pages than we did in a decade and a half of school.
Buy your copyat Amazon today.
Plus, get the full experience, subscribe to the monthly magazine and browse the store at Modern Drunkard Magazine online.
October 28, 2005
Sometimes we find something on the Internet that is so stupendous, we're not sure how to cover it. The Topless Academy's Guide to Bartending is not one of those things. We know exactly what we want to say. But, our mothers read Liquor Snob, so we'll try to keep things relatively tame.
One thing we've put together in our...ummm...research is that this isn't some gimmicky video that puts the topless over the bartendering. L.A. bartender George Hobbs leads you through the proceedings, and while the buxom young ladies assist him, it apparently doesn't distract from the knowledge you'll gain. We'll put that in the "see it to believe it" category, and oh yes, we''ll most likely see it...as long as our moms say it's OK.
Learn more about the video and get the DVD for $19.95 ($14.95 for VHS) at ToplessAcademy.com. (Adult Content)
October 20, 2005
We're all about DIY drinking and the desire to make your beer cooler faster, or at least for longer. The Peltier Beer Cooler seems slightly over the top to us, but it's damned cool nonetheless. Maybe we should tell this guy about these new inventions we've heard of...coolers and ice.
According to the author:
While drinking certain dark beers in the sun, I came to think about how to keep the beer cold until I finished it. Normally this isn’t a big problem as I usually finish them before they get warm, but on really hot days this can be a problem. Having some hardware lying around in my apartment, I decided to build something that could keep the beer cool.
Learn more about the Peltier beer cooler at Grynx.com
Plus, if you have even more spare parts lying around and too much time on your hands, check out the jet-powered beer cooler, an oldie but a goodie.
(Thanks, Eric and Sarah!)
October 19, 2005
OK, we admit, we're a little bit late getting on the Uber Tap bandwagon. We heard about it a few weeks ago from our friends over at Bombed, but we completely forgot to cover it, and now the Daily Candy and Gizmodo got in line before us. Shame on us. Luckily, with the Uber Tap all three of us can be served at once, and no one's going home thirsty. We'll figure it out amongst ourselves who's going to hold the cups and who's going to run the foot pump to keep the beer flowing.
Plus, all is not lost for faithful Liquor Snob readers. Even though we were apparently sleeping one off when the news about the Uber Tap broke, you're still the first to hear about its ingenious companion, Ultimate Cocktail. Slosh your liquor and mixers together in the Ultimate Cocktail tank, attach a keg tap (or Uber Tap if you really have a need for speed), and you can tap any beverage you want.
The site says that "by linking a keg tap to the Ultimate Cocktail, party throwers can now eliminate the all too common mess, sticky floor, and drunken beverage contamination, while providing their guests with a signature cocktail for any event." We love it when a plan comes together.
Learn more about the Uber Tap and the Ultimate Cocktail
Other Uber Tap coverage: Daily Candy and Gizmodo
October 14, 2005
Booze briefcase offers portability and flexibility to all your drinking missions.
Y'know how cool it is in the movies, when they show an assassin put together a sniper rifle from random knick-knacks pulled out of an innocent-looking briefcase? We think it would be scads cooler if instead of nightvision scopes and bullets, he whipped out shot glasses and liquor bottles.
Now you can be that impressive liquor assassin with the Trav-L-Bar Briefcase Bar. Here are the vital statistics:
- Made of vinyl that looks like two-toned burgundy and black leather
- Holds 3 bottles (not included)
- Combination lock and gift box
- Includes 4 metal cups, serving tray, 3/4 X 1 1/2 oz. jigger and wood-handled opener
- Liquor bottles not included (duh)
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to pick up your own briefcase barfor under $50, and drink with extreme prejudice. Or, if this one doesn't fit your professional style, check for other bar accessoriesfrom Harvey's Easy Living at Amazon.