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.

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