Monday, May 26, 2014

Milagro - A Tequila Miracle

In the canon of bad first dates, everyone has a few enduring classics—stories that just never get old. One of mine concerns a guy who showed up in jeans (fine), topsiders (sort-of-fine), and a t-shirt that stated, “One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila…Floor!” The shirt also pictured a woozy, passed-out cartoon parrot. Or perhaps it was an alligator. Point being, this was before the advent of ironic t-shirts, and I didn’t date the guy again.
These days, tequila—high-quality tequila, that is—is a spirit to be savored, not consumed to cartoonish oblivion. This shift in popular perception has been subtle. It’s one thing to wax poetic over an ’82 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild or single malt scotch, but tequila appreciation is a relatively new phenomenon amongst the urban cocktail cognoscenti. Milagro (“miracle” in Spanish) is one of a select group of brands that is helping elevate tequila’s reputation from Cabo party-starter to sophisticated sipping beverage.

Milagro is the brainchild of Mexico City natives Daniel (Danny) Schneeweiss and Moises (Moy) Guindi, passionate proponents of the 100-percent Agave-based spirit. In the late ‘90s, the pair watched the momentum of premium vodkas in the market and thought—why not tequila?
“When we decided to become ‘tequila entrepreneurs’, we were first and foremost consumers of tequila,” Danny says. “We knew what we were drinking and what we wanted…and what we wanted wasn’t available.” They decided to create their own high-quality brand: something authentic, something modern, something people could enjoy without a lime wedge and a grimace.
First they sought out a seasoned distiller, one who had experience working with big players (Cuervo, Herradura) and the desire to take an artisanal, small-batch approach. For Danny and Moy, the consistency and quality of the tequila was paramount.

Next came the all-important bottle concept.

“Everything we saw out there was exactly the same,” Danny says. “It communicated ‘Old Mexico’. Every bottle was short and squat: the old town, the wagons, the horses. That is not the Mexico we grew up in. Yes, we grew up in a Mexico with tradition and history. But we also grew up in a contemporary country, with new architecture, design and modern art. With our packaging, we wanted to show the people a new face of Mexico. If tequila is going to be our ambassador to the world, we wanted it to be real.”
Danny chose a tall, sleek aesthetic with a gradient pattern and a hand-drawn, hand-painted logo. Mexican glass artists create the bottles locally. Milagro Select Barrel Reserve bottles feature an interior sculpture—a phantasmagorial representation of the spindly agave plant. “There’s a love that goes into it,” he says. “Every single bottle is an actual sculpture—actual work is done by a glass artisan, so it’s a unique piece.”
All Milagro tequilas are handcrafted in small batches from estate-grown, hand-picked and hand-selected agave; are slow-roasted in traditional clay ovens at the Industrializadora de Agave San Isidro, SA de CV in Jalisco, Mexico; and then triple-distilled. Milagro Select Barrel Reserve batches are also mellowed in French oak barrels to create an oaky flavor with hints of vanilla.

“When people drink 100-percent agave tequila, it’s all about smoothness, all about crisp, clean, fresh taste and the fruitiness of the agave plant,” Danny explains. “As much as I love margaritas—and I do—if you make a margarita, why not use the best tequila you can?”
Excellent point, and one that nicely fulfills today’s post-millennial demand for authenticity over gimmicks, soulful quality over mass quantity. It also aligns with the idea of spending your leisure dollars, as sparse as they may be, on something that matters—and giving thought to what you consume, and where it comes from. Not in a self-righteous locovore way, but in a good-natured, thoughtful, epicurean way.
It is also, apparently, worthy of accolades in the notoriously competitive wine and spirits industry. Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado was awarded the Double Gold Medal at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It was also awarded Best in Show at the 2007 International Wine & Spirits Competition.

“This puts tequila on top of the best vodkas, rums and gins,” Danny emphasizes. “Not only are you the best tequila, you are the best spirit in the show, awarded by the most influential authority. Not only did Milagro win, but Mexico won.”
Milagro has also captured the attention of today’s finicky young tastemakers who are all a-blog about it. Representative Internet samples: “Best tequila I have ever had. Bar none.” “So, my friends and I now yell ‘Milagro!’ before an evening out.” “RE-DAMN-DICULOUSLY good.”
My personal amateur tasting notes? Milagro Silver has a remarkably clean taste with a velvety finish that goes down easy—perhaps even a bit too easy. Ascending further up the line, the Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado, aged for six months, has a woody, mild agave flavor and a subtle smokiness. The Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Añejo is aged three years for a sublimely smooth, rich and complex taste, the definition of a slow-sipping spirit.

And while there’s probably no such thing as a true “miracle” drink, premium tequila certainly infuses the entire cocktailing experience with a sense of discovery and dignified appreciation—a spiritual antidote to your neighborhood chain restaurant’s 2-for-1 frozen margarita special—and the men who wear their t-shirts. And there’s something miraculous about that.

Too Tired To Mix Your Own Drinks? Meet Monsieur, The Robot Bartender

Monsieur Creates World’s First Personal Robotic Bartender to Take With You Everywhere
Ever wanted your own personal robot, who would fulfill any wish at a beck and call, especially when it comes to drink? Well, today may be your lucky day. The company that is known for creating the world’s first artificially intelligent robotic bartender, Monsieur, has news for you.

The company has launched a new in-home product, known as Monsieur for Home, which deftly crafts everyone’s favorite cocktails and spirits, made to their specific descriptions and recommendations. Monsieur added sleek hardware and a companion smart application for iOS and Android devices, as the robot mixes and produces drinks that are tailored to satisfy the most demanding tastes… and you can have all of this at the touch of a button. We shall drink to that.

“Enjoying cocktails and spirits is a fundamental component of social life for many Americans, but the overall social drinking experience has not been innovated in centuries,” said Barry Givens, Monsieur CEO and co-founder. “The goal of Monsieur is to redefine the social drinking experience by using smart technology to create a personal bartender, assistant and mixologist for everyone – providing an unmatched cocktail experience, anywhere you might be. We’ve also built in features to encourage responsible drinking by monitoring consumption, estimating blood alcohol levels and even helping users order a cab.” Sounds pretty organized.

The Monsieur mobile app allows you to have a personal bartender in the palm of your hand, whether you are in a park or in your dining room. With the benefits of integrating home automation systems such as SmartThings via WiFi, Zigbee, or Bluetooth, Monsieur allows intelligence and technology to become your very own personal butler. For example, if a person’s favorite politician wins an election, Monsieur can cheer along while offering a celebratory drink. Watching your favorite TV show? Monsieur can recommend the perfect cocktail for that specific best moment of your day when you want to kick your shoes off and unwind. The robot, never slow, can even notice when you have a date over and offer to make him or her a cocktail as well.

An added bonus: Monsieur knows his drinks… big time. Whereas the average person can only name a few drinks or whip up a favorite cocktail, Monsieur is very knowledgeable when it comes to cocktails and can introduce you to thousands of new drinks from around the world… with no wait or clean-up needed. On top of it all, Monsieur can crowd-source new cocktail recipes from users and give the go-ahead to share these new discoveries with their friends. By using Monsieur’s theme packages including custom cocktail lists, people can transform their next home party into any milieu. Such as? Many people have enjoyed throwing parties such as a trendy London nightclub themed-party or a Tiki Bar based in Hawaii. Monsieur can aid people skip the lines and stop waiting around forever behind the bar… just so that they can bask in the enjoyment of social drinking experience to the fullest.

Monsieur highlights include two models starting at $1499 – at 4 or 8 liquid container capacity. Each container holds 30oz of any of your favorite spirits, mixers, juices, liqueurs or types of wines.
The models are pre-loaded with 12 theme packages, ranging from Tiki Bar to Irish Pub, followed with a cocktail list of over 25 drinks, providing immediate access to over 300 drinks. Raise your glass to that.
The mobile app responsibly checks your drink consumption, takes a guess at your blood alcohol level and can help you get a cab if you have had one too many.
The smart butler and home automation functions know when you come home and immediately offers you a cocktail.

When it comes to ingredient-level sensing, Monsieur indicates that ingredients are low and hands you a shopping list via SMS or email, with specific items you need to buy.
What does Monsieur look like? Monsieur is prepared in a matte black woodgrain finish and comes with carefully brushed stainless steel detailing and LED lighted accents.

Want to to the whole way and reap all the benefits? You can take the Game Day package, priced at $10, 000 which includes a luxury suite for you as well as 15 friends attending a Golden State Warriors Game, where your very own Monsieur can whip up some cocktails à la James Bond.

Rita Ora x Adidas Originals Capsule Collections

Rita Ora is having the best time of her life. The pint-sized, bottle blonde is the new face of DKNY Resort 2014 collection as well as one of the cast members of Marks & Spencer’s “Leading Ladies” campaign for Spring/Summer. She also signed an agreement last month with Roberto Cavalli to appear on their advertising campaign. Life is so fabulous for her right now, according to WWD, Adidas has been working with her since September last year on a 3-season-long creative collaboration.

Ora has posted images on Instagram of her sporting various Adidas items including hoodies, track jackets, shell-toe sneakers and beanies. The line is a collection of five capsules named “Black”, “Pastel”, “Colorblock”, “Spray” and “Roses”. First capsule Black is on course for August 21 global launch and Pastel and Colorblock will be released on September 4. Spray and Roses lines are on schedule for November 4 release. Pricing ranges from $30 for a beanie to $500 for a leather varsity jacket.

Back in March Pharrell Williams announced his partnership with the German sportswear company. Another one to join with Adidas is UK-based Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou. However, Ora is the first female artist to enter into a design collaboration with them.

Ora, who used to work for a sneaker store not so long ago told WWD,“I’m a massive fan of the brand. I grew up working at a sneaker store when I was 16 and am a huge sneakerhead. It’s so cool that I’m able to do this with a brand that I sold when I was younger.”

Other super things happening in Rita Ora’s life include landing the role of Mia Grey in the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and posing topless for British GQ. An endless list of achievements this year.

Leather Travelling Trunks from Gucci

A luxury trunk that costs $50,000? That’s right, Gucci has couple of them in leather for new season. Trunks handcrafted in Italy, given the hefty price tag are made-to-order only. Two models, Guccisima Leather Shoe Trunk and the Diamante Lux Leather Gucci Heritage Travel Trunk are perfect high-end travel accessories that offer an alternative to those who prefer something other than Louis Vuitton.

On Gucci website, Guccisima Leather Shoe Trunk is categorized as a “Men’s Luggage”, but there’s no need for you to worry. You can still pack your 6 inch heel Louboutins and Jimmy Choos without an issue. This is a trunk made from beautiful dark brown leather and feature leather details of the same color. It has lock and buckle closure, 13 leather covered wooden draws with ID tags and wooden compartments with holding straps and linen compartment. Exteriors feature handles with metal corners and studs. It takes 20 days to handcraft each of these trunks.

There is no mistake about which category the Diamante Lux Leather Gucci Heritage Travel Trunk belongs to. Made from bright yellow leather, it is firmly in the ladies department. It is designed with cloths in mind than shoes. It has five drawers, six wooden hangers, a canvas garment bag and a removable canvas storage box.
Bothe trunks are available for pre-order  as well.

Friday, May 23, 2014

EE Buzzard Will Turn Your Car Into A Moving 4G Wifi Hotspot

As long you are in an urban area, connectivity is well within your grasp to keep you connected, but we can’t say the same when you moving in a car. This is what UK-based EE wants to overcome with the Buzzard, a £50 gadget that will turn your car into a moving WiFi hotspot with 4G connectivity. this in-car WiFi hotspot draws the required power from your vehicle standard 12V socket aka the cigarette lighter socket and is designed to cope with up to 10 devices hook up to it. All need to do is to add the SIM card that comes the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) plan of your choosing.

The Buzzard is touted as the UK’s first 4G car WiFi that can turn virtually any vehicle into one with WiFi connectivity, eliminating the need for expensive built-in solution and it is intentionally designed to fit into the car’s cup holder, which every automobile should have at least a pair.
Honestly, we are not sure if there is a need to turn a vehicle into a WiFi hotspot, perhaps it is for those who ‘hang out’ with their ride more often than they should and with more than one person onboard. We have read and heard about such ideas, but until today our doubts still persists. Call us hillbillies or whatever, we just thought our mobile already has the connectivity, don’t they?

Then again, if it is affordable and it can be there whenever you and your dearest passengers need it. Perhaps, it could be a brilliant solution to keep your young ones entertained on their non-3 or 4G enabled tablets. Seriously, what your folks’ thoughts? Anyway, the EE Buzzard is pretty affordable at just £49.99 on PAYG.

Waterfield Designs Debuts 'Mac Pro Go Case' For Transporting 2013 Mac Pro

Desktop PC was never designed to be portable (that’s why it is called a desktop PC), much less a pro rig like Mac Pro, but that was before the new radical shape Mac Pro arrives. The new generation Mac Pro is not only physically small for a pro system but it is also one with relatively small footprint which makes one think: What if I could lug it around with ease? If that thought has been on your mind, then the Mac Pro Go Case by Waterfield Designs is right up your very narrow alley.

Don’t get us wrong; we love the idea of a Mac Pro bag, but we are just not sure how many would be toting around an 11 lbs rig around. Anyway, as with all Waterfield Designs bag, this bag is cleverly thought out. Designed in cylindrical shape and generously padded to fit the Mac Pro snugly, the Mac Pro Go Case features an exterior rectangular pocket to fit your Apple wireless keyboard and on the inside, there is a disc-shaped pouch for stowing away wireless mouse, cables and stuff that you deem fit.

According to Waterfield Designs, with the Mac Pro slipped in and the disc-shaped pouch packed in, you will still have room for miscellaneous items. Made from ballistic nylon, the Mac Pro Go Case sports an integrated grab handle for grab-and-go carry, a padded shoulder strap, a secure Velcro closure for the main opening and a plastic plate reinforced base. There is also a pair of loops down at the bottom to aid you in removing the Mac Pro from its bunker.

Just grab one of the loop and pull the Mac Pro out from the top, and boom, your shiny black Mac Pro is out in a jiffy. Easy peasy. The Mac Pro Go Case By Waterfield Designs is available now for $129. At the time of this writing, the bag is indicated as ‘sold out’, but not to worry, if you order now, you can expect to receive your very own by May 28, 2014. Keeping going for a product introduction video to learn more.

Allview Is Launching X2 Soul, The Thinnest Smartphone, On The European Market

If you are completely immersed in big handset brands, then there might be a chance that some worthy but lesser known handsets may have slipped passed your radar. While BLU Products may have the U.S. market covered with beautiful and affordable handsets, Romanian brand Allview is making quite a ding in the European market. Their latest offering is this super sleek Allview X2 Soul which touted as the thinnest smartphone in the European market.

Ok, granted that it is not the cheapest handset to grace the EU market, but still at €333 (about US$455) without contract obligation does put it in the mid-range price point. However, you have to dig under the skin to find out, at least on paper, its real worth and in this case, it is really quite ‘up there’ and we’d say it is comparable if not better than current flagships that major players have to offer today.

The X2 Soul has a 5-inch Super AMOLED Full HD display (multi-touch, naturally) slapped onto an unibody design that consists of 98 percent metal and glass, with both faces protected by ultra-thin Corning Gorilla Glass 3. All told, the X2 Soul has a pretty impressive profile of just 5.55mm thin. Though not crazy thin, it is still something to behold. Power comes from MediaTek MT6592 System-on-Chip which comprises of a 1.7GHz octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor and ARM Mali 450 GPU, backed by 2GB of system RAM. Onboard storage is 16GB and it has a 13MP IMX 135 main camera, with autofocus and LED flash, naturally and a 5MP front-facing camera boasting 95-degree ultra-wide angle to please selfie and group selfie enthusiasts.

It also packs a 2,300 mAh battery pack offering up to 10 hours of talk time and has an onboard audio amplifier with DTS capability too. Interestingly, the software features a Guest Mode that, presumably, restrict access to your phone by others, say for example, when you lend it to your friend to explore. Unfortunately, details of the software is next to nothing and we don’t even know what version of Android it will be running on (but it will definitely be skinned).

Anyway, if this handset had you at hello, you can put down 333 euros to pre-order one and expect shipment to kick off in June 10 and July 15 for the Black and White model, respectively.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More