VH1’s Carrie Keagan Launches Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wines

I love a good glass of wine and you guys already know I love discovering new and exciting products – which is exactly what I did a few nights ago. Magnifico Giornata, Italian for “Magnificent Day”, launched their new trio of essence-infused, European Blend sparkling wines.

Hosted by VH1’s Carrie Keagan (a partner in the brand along with CEO, Bob Manfredonia), guests were able to sample each of the essences, passed hors d’oeuvres, a pairing table of small bites created specially to compliment each of the essences and music by renowned New York DJ, Jeffrey Tonnesen.

The delicious sparkling wines are infused with subtle essences of Lavender Honey, Ginger Pêche and Grapefruit Blanc (the last being my favorite) and blows every other sparkling cocktail out of the water (if you’re a fan of Absolut’s Tune – you will die over Magnifico Giornata).

Guests also enjoyed three performances by burlesque troop Nuit Blanche, known for their provocative performances (see below for a snippet of one of the performances)

Notable attendees at the celebration included: Carrie Keagan (Host, VH1’s Big Morning Buzz with Carrie Keagan), Phillip Bloch (Celebrity Stylist), Janell Snowden (VH1), Trey Morgan (Radio Host, Z100), Kristen Ruhlin (Actress), J Smith Cameron (Actress), Cara Castronuova (Fitness Personality/Trainer, The Biggest Loser, Season 11).

The Magnifico Giornata Sparkling Wine Collection is available now for $24.99 per bottle in finer liquor stores and lounges throughout NYC, and will roll-out to other key markets in the U.S. later this year. For more information about Magnifico Giornata, check out www.magnificobrands.com and follow them on Twitter @MagnificoGio.

Tasting Panel Magazine Presents the 2012 Tour of Double Gold Winners – Part 1

I got the chance to enjoy an amazing and unique experience thanks to the wonderful people at Cockspur Rum. The the historic Bajan Rum won a Double Gold Medal in the rum category at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and it, along with the other winners, are on a tasting tour to fourteen U.S. markets. I had the pleasure of attending the New York tasting at Beacon Restaurant & Bar. The event was separated into two rooms, one for wines and champagne and the other for spirits (hard liquor). I wish I could post everything I enjoyed but this would be way too long. I’ll begin with the hard stuff since I tasted fewer (most winners were Tequilas, Gins, Scotch Malts and Mezcals, which I stay away from)

Double Gold Winner – 2 Nite Sicilian Blood Orange Vodka $22.00

A deliciously sweet and smooth vodka that’s perfect on the rocks or in a mixed drink. I’d happily give up bottles of any other orange flavored vodka for a glass of this.

Double Gold Winner & Best Rum – Cockspur Fine Rum

Perfectly aged, beautiful amber color, smooth as silk. It’s a rum my family grew up with and I remember my grandfather sipping this fine rum when I was younger.


Double Gold Winner & Best Aquavit – Krogstad Aquavit $25.00

Aquavit is a spirit I am not familiar with but upon tasting, it was very smooth and dry. Krogstad Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit that gets its distinctive flavor from caraway, anise seed and other herbs and spices. It makes a great substitute for vodka in Bloody Marys.

Double Gold Winner – Dictador 20 Rum $60.00

Though new to me, this is a great, dark Colombian rum; very sexy, very bold in flavor and taste which makes this a great sipping rum.

Best Moscato – Cameron Hughes 2010 Moscato d’Asti Lot 319 $14.00

The most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It was so fresh, so crisp and absolutely delicious. It’s no surprise why it won both Double Gold and Best Moscato. Definitely adding this to the bar.

Double Gold Winner & Best in Show: Sparkling – Champagne Nicolas Feuillate 2004 Vintage Brut $46.00

A full bodied tasting champagne. It might just be my palette but I tasted warmth and more than just grape (pear maybe…something exotic?) I’m not sure but its definitely a delicious champagne.

Double Gold Winner & Best in Show: Dessert Wine – Barboursville 2007 Malvaxia Reserve Passito $30.00

If you love dessert wines or even just very sweet wine, this one is perfect for you.  I can also see enjoying fresh fruit soaking in this uber-sweet treat. Keep an eye out for part two of this tasting.

The Refreshingly Sweet Taste of Mirassou Moscato

Sometimes the day gets to be so stressful, you need a break. Times like these call for a relaxing bath, some peace, and quiet, maybe some soothing music and definitely a good glass (or more) of wine. Before you reach that point, make sure your bar is properly stocked with some fabulous wine…i a sucker for a good white grape. I want to make a particularly delectable wine recommendation that is new to me. I was recently introduced to Mirassou Moscato and its incredible crisp, clean and sweet palette and all I can say is wow…..I am hooked.

Bottle-Mirassou_2010_California_Moscato_750ml

The delightful Mirassou Moscato is made with carefully selected California fruit from several regions, with the majority coming from San Luis Obispo County along the Central Coast. From the moment the bottle is opened intense fruit aromas of orange blossoms, peaches, pineapples and ripe citrus delight the senses. The refreshing flavors of peach, tangerine, melon and honeysuckle make their Mirassou Moscato a sweet expression of California’s most celebrated growing regions.
Moscato isn’t the only delight from Mirassou Winery; White wine lovers will enjoy their Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling while lovers of Red will swoon over their Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Balancing intense fruit flavors with delicate aromas, Mirassou wines embody the optimism and pioneering spirit passed down through six generations of the Mirassou family.

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Featuring a bright, uniquely approachable style, these wines honor the Mirassou family’s heritage while appealing to a new generation of wine enthusiasts. So take some time out for yourself with a glass of Mirassou Moscato or any of their other wine offerings, you will thank me for this.

X-RATED Fusion Liqueur Unwraps Holiday Cocktails

I love holiday parties. I know what you’re thinking – who doesn’t, right? But maybe unlike you, i don’t love everything about it. I love the decor, the togetherness, the gifts, etc but my god I am sick of eggnog. I know its a holiday party staple but we are seriously in desperate need of a change. Holidays cocktails do not have to be the same old boring stuff. Even a shot of smooth rum (or two) cannot persuade me anymore.We need cocktails that are a bit more excited, a bit more thrilling, a bit more x-rated. I’ve been on the hunt for new holiday cocktails and since X-Rated Fusion Liqueur gave me the wonderful Haunted-X Halloween Cocktail, I didn’t have to go too far to get some spicier and sexier cocktails. So to begin, I’ll ask – are you in the mood for a little holiday mischief? Hopefully you shouted out YES!!! I hope you are prepared because the recipe is below. This pink and orange bubbly is sure to tickle more than you fancy

Holiday Mischief Maker

mischief maker1 oz. X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

½ oz. orange liqueur

1-2 dashes orange bitters
4 oz. sparkling wine
1 teaspoon grenadine
garnish: sugar rim
Rim a champagne flute with sugar by rubbing it with a cut lemon, then dipping it into white, granulated sugar. Set aside. Pour X-Rated Fusion Liqueur, orange liqueur and bitters into a mixing glass. Shake with ice. Gently strain into sugar-rimmed champagne flute. Top with chilled sparkling wine. Gently drizzle grenadine into the glass, allowing it to settle at the bottom to create a layered effect.

Now if you are the type that is a bit shy and reserved (until you’ve had a drink or two) or can’t decide whether you’ve been both good and bad? Then St. Nick’s Naughty or Nice Punch is definitely for you. Either way, you will definitely enjoy this gift – no coals for you this time around. So why choose? Be bad while enjoying this very good drink.

 

St. Nick’s Naughty or Nice Punch
Naughty or nice
2 parts X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 part SKYY Infusions Pineapple
2 parts brewed peach herbal tea
½ part freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch of ground clove (approx 2 teaspoons for 1 punch bowl)
1 part club soda (use lemon-lime soda for sweeter punch)
garnish: whole cloves embedded into citrus wheels
 
Pour all ingredients into a punch bowl just before guests are due to arrive. Float clove encrusted citrus wheels on the surface of the punch for décor and aroma. Ladle into ice-filled wine glasses when serving.

Of course there’s always the sweet and innocent part of ourselves – the angel, the adorable cherub, the part of you that wishes good will to all men (and women). What would that side of you like to drink – perhaps something equally sweet like guava or wholesome like milk. If you combine the two and add a little zest (like lemon) then you’d have the Sassy Little Elf.

Sassy Little Elf
Sassy elf
2 oz.X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
1 ½ oz. guava juice or nectar
1 oz. half-n-half
½ oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
garnish:lemon zest (or mini candy cane)
 
Vigorously shake all ingredients with ice.
Strain into a chilled martini glass.
Serve with the garnish on the rim of the glass.

Say goodbye to Eggnog during this festive holiday season and say hello to X-Rated Liqueur’s sinfully delicious holiday cocktails, your guests will thank you.

Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Pop-Up Store Hosted by Matthew Williamson

Last night, we returned to the fabulous Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Pop-Up Store in the Meat Packing District to officially celebrate the collaboration between Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka and Designer, Matthew Williamson.

More than 1,000 people came out to drink, celebrate and partake in the extremely strong libations Belvedere had to offer – seriously, I felt like my liver was going through the Maceration process; those bartenders were very generous with the Belvedere – VERY

You may remember me stating that Designer, Matthew Williamson, who hosted tonight’s event,

created a Limited Edition Pink Print Kaftan in celebration of Belvedere’s newest flavor and you saw a photo of Model and MisShapes member, Leigh Lezark modeling the Kaftan – well she wore the $1,500+ garment last night and looked amazing with her fellow MisShapes band members while performing her DJ duties for the evening

Among the revelers were celebrities Ashley Olsen, Chelsea Handler, who we know probably has stock in Belvedere Vodka and if not, she should, Bar Refaeli, Kelly Osbourne, Estelle, and Kelly Choi.

One of my favorite things of the night, besides the cocktails of course, were the Rollerboys (and girls) but it was all about the rollerboys, one in particular was very flirty – very naughty just the way I like them. They made the evening even more fun. I love to go to events and the people who are workignthe event are having a blast. Check out a little peek of someof the fun had

PHOTO CREDIT: Marion Curtis, StarPics

LAUNCH OF ABSOLUT MANGO

 Oh boy, oh boy, although it’s cold outside, I was enjoying that sunset view all night at the launch of Absolut’s newest flavor – MANGO!! Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to the Absolut Mango Launch Party. This event was thrown by Us Weekly and Rolling Stone, although sad to say there were no issues of either. They turned the ground space at 122 W 26th street into a Mango Grove (yep, trees and all).

Absolut-Mango

I met up with Dave and we headed over to the event, Kim was on her way, Marisol was stuck at work and never made it, Mr. Popular, Alex double booked himself and we don’t know what happened to Patty. Anyway, as soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a woman peeling fresh mangoes on a stick which were made available to anyone who wanted.

Absolut-Mango-002 Absolut-Mango-003Absolut-Mango-003

I LUVVVVVVVV Mangoes, so I immediately grabbed one, Dave passed and we headed for the bar, on my way I decided to get some decor photos. There were mangoes everywhere and I mean everywhere.

ABSOLUT-MANGO-LAUNCH

According to the Absolut website, “The main ingredients in ABSOLUT MANGO are ABSOLUT VODKA and mango flavor. ABSOLUT VODKA is made from water and winter wheat. The water comes from a deep well in Åhus where it’s protected from impurities. The winter wheat is also grown in Åhus and differs from other crops: it’s sown one fall and harvested the next one. Days in between it grows under the Swedish snow developing its’ hard grain. Also, the use of fertilizers is minimized. Of course, the mangos are as natural as the rest of the ingredients”

We made our way to the bar and it seems there were three choices tonight, I decided to start with the Absolut Mango Spice and Dave went with the Absolut Mango Cooler.

Absolut Mango 010

Naturally I took some photos while we were waiting for our first round of drinks (did I mention that we tried all of the drinks that night)

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Hope you guys could feel the vibe of the event through some photos of the DJ Johnny Dynell and the great crowd

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I ended up having 4 or so drinks, Kim barely had one and Dave had more than me (I’ll just keep it at that). It was a great night and a fantastic event. On our way out, we each took 2 mangoes to take home (I later heard someone took 8).

The Bacardi Flavor Exchange

After the Siwy Jean Event, I wasn’t sure I wanted to attend the Bacardi event because The Shop was located way downtown on Orchard Street and the Bacardi event was at Body Restaurant & Lounge in Harlem, 135th & 12th Ave to be exact (for some reason, their website is not available yet). Not only was it way uptown but if you had to take the train, as I being vehicularly-challenged had to, you had to 1 train to 137th Street & City College, then walk down some very, very dark stairs on 136th Street to get to 12th Ave. I swear you need Vin Deisel’s eyes from Pitch Black to navigate those stairs, luckily my cell did a pretty good job of being a flashlight. I was meeting Zia* and Alexandra* at Body (my cousin went back home to get ready for a night out with a friend and her friends. They were supposed to meet me at the Bacardi event which didn’t happen – too long a story).
Zia*, Alexandra* and I arrived at Body around the same time. There was a line but it moved very quickly, we were inside in less than 10 minutes but not before signing a release for possibly being filmed. Anyway, as you enter, you are greeted with a full crowd and lots of Bacardi branded decor (of course)






Body has two floors, the first was themed after Brazil and the Bacardi flavor for this floor was Bacardi Limon

This introduced guests to Latin music all night (although it was really spanish hip hop and reggaeton – I was expecting at least a little Brazilian music but not so much). And althought we were expecting allLAtin music, the DJ spun a lot of regular hip hop – I was enjoying myself so I wasn’t complaining). The only Brazilian music we heard was when the Brazilian Carnival Dancers came out



They performed first as a group, then each danced individually and back as a group to pull guests on the dance floor to create a conga line (they performed twice while we were there).





At this point, more people started coming in, so many that I heard they stopped letting any more people in, which sucked because my friend, Michael, whose birthday it was today, was stuck on the line. I’m not shocked that it was so crowded though, I mean Bacardi open bar all night and hors d’oeurves (although I never got to see any upclose).

While the first floor was Brazil, the second was themed after Monte Carlo. The girls and I went upstairs for only mere seconds because it was way too crowded. There was gambling (I saw a Black Jack table) and the flavors for upstairs were Bacardi Razzberry and I think Bacardi Orange as well but as I said it was way too crowded and we never even made it to the middle of the room. The music was all hip hop though. Anyway, back downstairs we go and luckily we got some seats, so we put our bags down and danced a bit.

It was then that I saw a blast from the past in the form of a t-shirt, specifically a logo on a t-shirt.

As you can see in the above photo, this guy was wearing a Moshood t-shirt. Moshppd is an African designer that owns a boutique on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. I worked for him for two years while in college. I was introduced to this line as a model in one of his fashion shows – the casting line was always long and usually wrapped around the block. The day I went to pick up my payment for participating in the show ($200 cash and a garment), he offered me a job because the person who was working that day was alone and I was helping her. I started that very same day. Interesting times.

*Some names have been changed to protect the permanently shy and those possibly under witness protection