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Yerba Mate Soda

Do you know, that it is pretty expensive to get Inca Kola in Dubai (or probably anywhere in the world except of Peru)? There is little which is more expensive than alcohol - but Inka Cola is one of those things.
How expensive you ask? Amazon has prices of U$ 70.00 for a pack of 12 - we haven't spoken about shipment - or even the soda tax of 50%, which you have to excise in Dubai...

I can be crazy - but I am (usually???) not that crazy! I know, that Inca Kola is quite a commercial product, which isn't shying away to use commercial flavorings, preservatives and so on.

Why is it so expensive? That is a good question. Is it worth it? Probably not...

I quite liked the Almdudler which I bought a couple of months ago. Also not cheap (but by no means that crazy). But it doesn't necessarily fit perfectly into Noir. Noir is about South American food with an Asian influence (think Peru). Something really South American (except of Inca Kola) is yerba mate.
However it is pretty obvious…
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The Problem with Botanical Spirits

On the picture here you can see different botanical spirits which are offered on thewhiskyexchange.com. Don't get me wrong - I would love to try each and every single one of them.   This is a fundamental issue - as the success of a spirit is based on its appeal to the masses, which is again directly related to the level of education. Without a common denominator a product category will not thrive.  Here you have got completely different categories:  You have got quite simplistic and straight forward "botanical vodkas" like Ketel One, which have only a couple of flavors.You have got complex flavored spirits which are analog to gin - however without the use of juniper.You have got spirits which are based on "non-neutral" spirits which are then redistilled with a botanicals.You have got spirits with a flavorful mash which is infused and afterwards distilled.
Further there are botanical spirits which are solely cold compound spirits (neutral alcohol mixed with aroma…

The Singapore Sling: past, present and future

There has been an article on the Singapore Sling on Liquor.com: A DRINK I STILL LOVE: THE SINGAPORE SLING - Contributed by
and I am rather skeptical about it. So skeptical in fact, that my comment was that:

No true classic can be based on a lie... The problem is, that the "Raffles Singapore Sling" is based on such a deception. It began with a (rather small) marketing lie - a story, that the long lost recipe has been found again. Whoever knows only a bit about cocktail history could smell this lie 1 mile against the wind: the story states, that the original has been created in the 1930's - problem is, that grenadine hasn't been used until the mid to end 50's - and using pineapple juice has also been pretty unorthodox in cocktails (and basically never be seen). Hence the version is total b.s.! What started as small promotion - just grew to an unstoppable beast. Yes - the straight sling is a good drink - even though most people won't go with it. Bu…

The best bar-tool you have probably never used

A lot of classic craft bars don't have a high power blender (or sometimes, they don't have any blender). And it makes perfectly sense. An electrical blender takes a lot of bar real estate (if it is "silenced" even more). It costs a lot. And if you have got one, people are insisting into frozen drinks all the time.

And it is really noisy!

But they are also useful. Fresh (but pressed before the shift) juices can be "whipped up" and guests appreciating the "freshness" (small trick out of my toolbox). Or you have got some foams, purees and so on to do - which need to be thoroughly blended.

So for years I have been consistently struggling between the justifications for and against a blender - until a friend whined for a Piña Colada at home and I agreed one and used my inversion blender in my kitchen. This has been a Eureka moment - because it has been working really good.

Not even longer than a week after, I have been buying an inversion blender for m…

Marketing Driven Cigar Brands

Some of my dear readers know me quite well - I am pretty suspect to marketing. This is not 100% true - marketing is one part of everyones "corporate life" - but there is marketing of a product, which has been produced (and crafted) and then have to be communicated to consumers - and then there are companies, which have no true "roots" in the respective industry and try to "just" sell a product via more or less fancy marketing. I really dislike the second group (and well - there are a lot of shades of grey also - and depending on the shade, the products get also more or less "hate" from my side).

There is another level to it: a company which is not in the respective industry, can liaise with a company with a lot of history and a lot of expertise - this is absolutely decent as long as there are no "empty" marketing stories created for it. An example in the cigar business is Prometheus, which are producing humidors, cutters and other cig…

The Raise of Botanical Spirits

This post is inspired by a post on Diffords Guide online. But even though, I have never really thought about calling a distillate "Botanical Spirit", I always thought, that there have to be a new category of spirits.

It all began with the Sub Rosa Saffron and Tarragon vodka - sometime in 2011. I directly felt, that there is something "off" of calling those distillates vodka. Yes - there is flavored vodka - and mostly they are pretty simple and straight forward. However they already differ greatly from your classical pure vodka. However the Sub Rosa products were an even farther departure.

Since then, there have been a lot of new products, which mostly go under the vodka moniker, but are more complex... there are also "quite old products" like the flavored Absolut vodkas. Some, like Citron or Mandrin can be easily called vodka - there is a reasonable delicate aroma of the respective aroma. Some others are so strongly aromatized, that vodka seems not to fi…

Calorie counting in drinks

There is an article on cookinglight.com which lists drinks per calorie content.

I am sorry to be again so opinionated - however this is utterly nonsense.
Besides of the fact, that I would rather have one proper craft beer (like a IPA) instead of 3 or 4 American macro lagers (or even worse: light beer) - but also the caloric values are misleading:

The issue is, that calories are calculated by burning the respective "material" and measure the energy (heat), which comes out of it. While this works quite well with simple and complex sugars and with fats, it doesn't necessarily work with ethanol (drinking alcohol). Why? Due to the fact, that our body cannot metabolize alcohol, as he metabolizes sugar. Hence if you are drinking a Martini cocktail (with proper vodka or gin which are theoretically only ethanol and water), you probably won't put some (additional) weight on, despite the fact, that it shows quite a "horrific calorie number".

This doesn't work wel…