Archive for August, 2010

Product Review: Tequila Avion

Friday, August 27th, 2010

This site’s first product review, Tequila Avion, has emerged on the radar of premium tequila due to its inclusion on HBO’s popular Entourage. The product placement is explained by the NY Post as a result of the long-standing friendship between an Avion founder and Doug Ellin, the main writer of Entourage. Suffice to say, it’s an effective and likely zero cost way to get an advertising campaign off the ground.

Tequila Avion Silver (80 proof, 100% efficiency)

Tequila Avion SilverFor those not too familiar with the tequila-making process, silver is the first level for tequila, bottled shortly after distillation. Avion offers a reposado and añejo as well, which are aged in oak barrels and have a more yellow-ish hue. And to be clear: not all yellow-hues are the same. Jose Cuervo gold has added coloration, which has nothing to due with aging or oak.

In any case, I ended up with a bottle of silver, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing. Make no mistake: this is a premium tequila and the test of a premium tequila is whether it is pleasurable to drink on the rocks. I assure you that Cuervo, Sauza and El Jimador are not. Tequila Avion is.

Before heading out to the bar one night, I had a few friends to sample it with me. Their initial responses varied from “Holy sh*t, this is awesome” on the high end to “It’s OK, but a bit smoky for my taste” on the low end. Then I ran to a corner deli and got some limes. The change was demonstrable. Whatever edge existed was taken off by a small amount of fresh lime juice and the result is a winner, poised to compete with Patrón in the high-end tequila market. The bottle has changed since Entourage, as “foreshadowed” by Turtle. The sides have raised lettering “LLEGADA” and “SALIDA,” Spanish for arrival and exit, perhaps a nod to its founders’ background in the airline industry.

Tequila Avion label

Hand-labeled -- kinda neat

Maybe I wasn’t such a large fan of its marketing interwoven with a major Entourage plot, but I am a fan of the beverage. Considering it’s efficiency and flavor, out of 5 stars, I give Tequila Avion Silver:

✭✭✭✭ 1/2

Why do I tip my bartender so much more than my barber?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Kavorka, a friend of the site and part-time bartender, posed the titular (hehe) rhetorical question, writing the following:

Does your bartender wield this power? Probably not, but you still pay him more

Unless you are cheap, naïve, or just plain stubborn, you understand that there is a fairly universal (at least in the United States) understanding that when you order a drink from a bartender, there’s a built-in $1 tip.  Obviously, it doesn’t make much sense.  If I order a $5 Amstel, I’m leaving $6.  If I’m ordering an $8 Long Island Iced Tea, I’m safe leaving $9.  So, a drink that involves 8 ingredients and takes at least 40 seconds to prepare, serve and charge warrants the same tip as “preparing” a bottle of Amstel Light?

Swallow this…If a bartender, in a perfect world, had constant business of bottled-beer clients for an hour, he or she can expect $180/hour. (Assuming 20 seconds between customers, including opening the bottle, taking payment, etc).  Clearly this never happens, but the bottom line is, if you give a bartender $1 for a beer, you are paying a labor rate of $3/minute.  Even the most complex drinks (i.e. Long Island Iced Tea @ 40 Seconds) puts you at a $90/hour labor rate (again, assuming $1 tip).

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JetBlue’s Steven Slater: The Next Blue Moon Rep?

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

For those not familiar with the awesome story from a few weeks ago. As per Yahoo:

The flight attendant, identified as Steven Slater, asked the passenger to return to his seat. A “heated” exchange ensued, which culminated in Slater walking to the rear of the plane, where he grabbed the intercom. “To the passenger who called me a motherf***er, f*** you!” Slater yelled, passengers tell the New York Daily News. “I’ve been in the business 28 years. I’ve had it.  That’s it.”  He activated the emergency chute and slid away.

As more details emerged, it was reported that Slater grabbed a few Blue Moons (apparently new to JetBlue) for his slide down the chute and walk to wherever he subsequently got arrested. And as this blog points out, Blue Moon was the choice of Sgt. James Crowley when he had a get-together with President Obama (Bud Light) and Press Secretary Gibbs (Red Stripe) to clear the air after his arrest of an African-American Harvard professor.

So, I guess Blue Moon has somehow turned into the beer of pressure situations, because neither of these two could’ve been particularly relaxed. One would have to think there’s an endorsement opportunity for Slater. After all, what he did was kinda hysterical — going Michael Douglas (Falling Down) without actually harming anyone.

Beer Group Sez: Swap Wine for Beer to Lose Weight

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

On the eve of the Great British Beer Drinker Festival, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) released a “study” that says beer is less fattening than wine and most people don’t know it. It’s hard to even begin dissecting the idiocy, but here’s an attempt, without a source to the original “study.” There was no link or search results to the study on CAMRA’s website. The assumptions, as described by the linked summary:

woman drinking white wine

wine is usually the better choice

  • a half pint (285mL or 10 ounces) of 3.8% ABV beer has 85 calories
  • 175ml (5.9 ounces) of 12% ABV wine has 131 calories
  • Make this substitution every day for a week and save 322 calories (46 per day times 7 days)
  • These saved calories equate to a half hour of jogging

The problem: those aren’t comparable serving sizes. Using the wine calculator, more specifically its advanced setting, 175mL of 12% wine has 131 calories if there’s 23g/L residual sugar. That’s really high for red wine — the vast majority of red varietals will have less residual sugar and less calories than that. Also, 175mL is a very full glass. By comparison, a half pint of beer isn’t really a serving. Add that 3.8% is very weak for beer — certainly not what one would expect from a “real ale.”

Doing a little more math, we see that the proposed serving of wine has over twice the alcohol as the serving of beer.

In essence, this isn’t a study of any sort. It’s just an arbitrary definition of serving size. It’s like saying a Big Mac is healthier than plain chicken breast, because there’s less calories in a Big Mac (575) than a pound and a half of chicken.

If you drink in moderation, it won’t make a whole lot of difference. Regardless, studies like this will continue to confuse people.