KAHLÚA, Old and New

Kalua coffee liqueur
KAHLUA coffee liqueur


We grew up with the iconic coffee liqueur, and remember walking back across the border with a newly-purchased bottle the first time we visited Mexico. But we were surprised to learn that the more-than-70-years-old brand had diversified greatly.


While the original flavor has been around since 1936, there are currently five other KAHLÚA’s available for cocktails, spiking coffee and even cooking. (Not to mention two pre-mixed cocktails for lazy bartenders).


We enjoyed a dinner at the Lotería Grill in which each of the dishes was prepared with KAHLÚA, including a flaming cheese and chile botana on which KAHLÚA Especial had been poured and set aflame.

 

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The Balvenie Fifty


A Limited-Edition $32,000 Scotch

The Balvenie Aged 50 Years with its special packaging
The Balvenie Aged 50 Years with its special packaging


Two important events took place at the Scottish firm William Grant & Sons in 1962. David Stewart was hired as an apprentice, and cask #5576 was filled with newly distilled whisky from The Balvenie Distillery. Although Scotland and its namesake spirit have a long and glorious history, the country hadn’t even begun exporting single malt Scotch at the time. Stewart rose through the ranks and became a Malt Master for the company (which owns distilleries including The Balvenie and Glenfiddich), nosing more than 400,000 casks of whisky through the years, while that single barrel matured. Many of Stewart’s techniques working with single malt whisky, such as aging the spirit in two different types of barrels, became industry standards, and he earned numerous accolades while that oh-so-special European oak sherry hogshead continued to age, mellow and evaporate.


Fifty years later, Stewart has become a consultant to the company, and that cask was finally bottled. We were lucky enough to attend an event at Mastro’s Steakhouse in Beverly Hills honoring Stewart’s fifty years of contributions to the Scotch whisky industry as well as taste the whisky that was five decades in the making.

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Ciroc Vodka with Sean Combs

Sean John Combs, brand ambassador for Ciroc Vodka
Sean John Combs, brand ambassador for Ciroc Vodka

by Jeff Hoyt


Most personalities do their best to make their name a household one, reinforcing their “brand” repeatedly by getting their name out there, via their performances, TV appearances, CDs, DVDs, clothing lines and every media that will have them. But singer/rapper/actor/ producer/mogul/businessman Sean John Combs has bucked that trend, changing his name over and over again while continually staying in the public eye: Diddy; P. Diddy; Puff; Puffy; Puff Daddy; King Combs. Even his clothing lines utilize two different names based on his birth name: Sean John and “Sean by Sean Combs.”


But the multiple Grammy Award winner has only one name for his vodka: Ciroc. When he became a brand ambassador in 2007, the French vodka was only selling about 10,000 cases per month. With the entrepreneur pushing the product, and sharing in the brand’s profits, sales were about 400,000 cases in 2009, and reportedly close to 1,000,000 cases last year. No wonder the singer now refers to himself jokingly as “Ciroc Obama.”

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From Daniel Boulud to Food Truck

Tacos from chef Wesley Holton's food truck, Jacques Tacos, in Detroit, MI
Tacos from chef Wesley Holton's food truck, Jacques Tacos, in Detroit, MI

by Jeff Hoyt


Wesley Holton worked in Daniel Boulud’s kitchens in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, before becoming executive chef at the Daniel Boulud Brasserie in the famed Wynn Las Vegas hotel. But since that high-end French restaurant closed earlier this year, Holton has a new gig: making tacos in Detroit’s first food truck!


And while the Daniel Boulud Brasserie offered caviar, $43 steak au poivre, and a $32 hamburger with foie gras and short ribs, Holton’s new menu offers short ribs in a $2.50 taco, served with warm corn tortillas, fresh black bean & corn salsa queso fresco, and sauce vért. Other ‘high-end’ items include little piggy slow-roasted pork tacos and marinated avocado tacos at $2.50 apiece.

We Raced Obama, and Won!

Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in
Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in

by Jeff Hoyt


Congratulations to President Obama for finally getting behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability during a visit to the Compact Power battery plant in Holland, Mich. LG Chem, the parent of Compact Power, is making the battery cells for the Volt, which goes on sale late this year in California, the Washington, D.C. area, and Michigan.


But we beat the President to the punch, experiencing the car powered with electricity at all times way back in September of 2008 talked about the car’s importance with the former Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz before he retired. The Volt, with its range of about 340 miles, was even used by Olympic athletes back in February in Vancouver.