Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spotlight on Medea Vodka

Featured in numerous publications such as The New York Times, Time Out New York, Black Book and more, Medea Vodka is revolutionizing the spirits industry with their flawless Dutch vodka, beautifully presented in a distinctive, eye-catching bottle. It's no surprise that Medea was our best selling unflavored vodka of 2011 - perfect for birthdays, holidays, weddings and other special occasions, its programmable LED technology allows you to program up to six different messages, each of which can contain up to 255 characters.

The production of Medea Vodka, from the distillation to the technology, is rooted in history. Medea is created in Schiedam, Holland from the finest whole grain wheat and natural artesian water. It has been distilled sixteen times using the time-honored process of single batch distillation to ensure a crisp, clean, medium-bodied spirit. The LED display technology can be traced back 150 years to physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell's work, adapted to suit modern technology, can be seen on cellphones, digital cameras, Times Square billboards, and now on every bottle of Medea Vodka!

Earlier this year, Medea partnered with Times Square Chronicles to launch Charities to Benefit, a campaign dedicated to supporting the charities of choice of a number of our favorite celebrities. Each celebrity programmed the display with a special message, then autographed the bottle, so it could be auctioned off online. A few of the stars who appeared at the event are:

- Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Back on Broadway) supporting Nomad Two Worlds Foundation.
- Bernadette Peters (Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun) supporting Broadway Barks.
- Richard Thomas (The Waltons, Race) supporting The National Meningitis Association.
- Anthony Rapp (Rent) supporting Friends in Deed.
- Phyllis Newman (Subways Are For Sleeping, Broadway Bound) supporting The Women's Health Initiative.
- Lainie Kazan (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Desperate Housewives) supporting The Alzheimer’s Foundation.
- The Cast of The Fantasticks (Edward Watts, Juliette Trafton, MacIntyre Dixon, Dan Sharkey & Matt Leisy) supporting Bide-a-wee.

Signed bottles of Medea Vodka

Suzanna Bowling, publisher of the Times Square Chronicles, first had the idea for this unique fundraiser when she saw a bottle of Medea Vodka. It reminded her of the lights in the heart of the theater district, and soon after Charities to Benefit was born.

"Suzanna experienced a "eureka" moment when she saw the Medea bottle for the first time in December, from which a great positive force of creative and enlightened energy emerged to result in a truly beautiful campaign for the betterment of lives," says Matt Sandy, co-creator of Medea Spirits. "Where there's a will there's a way and we're blessed to live in today's world where unbridled creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit are the key drivers for a better tomorrow."

Charities to Benefit is a year long initiative with new celebrities and new charities added every few weeks. Visit Charities to Benefit to place your bids, but we're warning you, Hugh Jackman's autographed bottle is expected to rake in $50,000! If you're looking for a bottle of Medea Vodka that won't be anywhere near as pricy, you can visit us at DrinkUpNY.com to place your order. You can also purchase the Medea Vodka Holiday Pack and receive free programming!

The next release from Medea Spirits is the Medea "Observe", featuring an interactive, rechargeable LCD display that comes pre-loaded with photos and videos. You will also be able to upload your own via a standard USB, to create a gift that's truly personalized. The release date is still "to be determined", but we'll keep you updated with news of its release!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

El Dorado Guyanese Rum

Established in 1670, the Diamond Distillery is located in Guyana on the east bank of the mighty Demerara River, just six degrees off the equator. The distillery predominately produces rum to supply bulk buyers, but they are most known for their El Dorado brand - named after the fabled golden city.

Although European explorers had discovered the region centuries before, it wasn't officially colonized until the beginning of the 17th century, when the Dutch established a trading post by the Essequibo River. The settlers planted a variety of crops including tobacco and cotton, but it was sugarcane that proved to be the most successful. The first shipment of sugar left for Holland in 1661 and its popularity soared shortly after its arrival in Europe. At one time there were over 380 sugar plantations in Guyana, and it was during this era that the term Demerara Sugar was established.

A few of the sugar factories began creating rum from the molasses produced during sugar processing, and by 1670 every Guyanese sugar factory owned a small still. Although produced in very limited amounts, this "Demerara Rum" was immensely popular among the Dutch, and the demand for it grew. However, sharp fluctuations in the price of sugar resulted in the closure of some of the factories and the consolidation of others. By 1849, only 180 sugar estates were in production and by the turn of the century the number was reduced to sixty four. This continued through the 20th century and by 1970 there were just eleven sugar factories and four distilleries left in Guyana. Today, the Diamond Distillery is the only surviving distillery in Guyana, and the only one producing Demerara Rum.

As the factories closed through the years, their distilling equipment was quickly claimed by the surviving distilleries. Demerara Distillers boasts eight different stills that were acquired in this fashion, but are most known for their three wooden stills - a Port Mourant double wooden pot still, a Versailles single wooden pot still, and an Enmore wooden Coffey still. The last operating wooden stills in the world, they are created from a native Guyanese hardwood called Greenheart, chosen for its resistance to moisture.
The Enmore Wooden Coffey Still

The Port Mourant came from a distillery established in 1732 and produces a very heavy bodied, oily distillate. The wood adds considerable character and the double pot arrangement imparts a deep flavor and rich texture. Rum from this still is used in the El Dorado 8, 12, 15 and 25 year old expressions. The Versailles still produces a lighter, more elegant distillate with smoky, spicy and floral notes. This still is at least 150 years old and hails from the Versailles distillery, which originally lay on the west bank of the Demerara. It is only used for El Dorado's 15 and 21 year old rums. Last is the Enmore, the world's only surviving wooden column still and also the oldest operating Coffey still. It was built in 1880 using plans originally published by Coffey & Co, and is the exact same design as the first Coffey still. Spirit from this still is used in El Dorado 5, 8, 12, 15, 21 and 25 year old rums. It's not just the Greenheart wood that adds complexity and richness to the spirit, but also the residue of previous distillations left ingrained in the wood.

A few of our favorite El Dorado Rums are the 3 Year Old, 12 Year Old, and 21 Year Old expressions. El Dorado 3 Year Old is a cask aged, natural charcoal-filtered white rum that adds surprising complexity to rum cocktails. Both the nose and palate offer intriguing notes of chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, coconut and citrus fruit, backed by a rich note of molasses.

El Dorado 12 Year Old is a blend of spirits from three stills - the wooden Enmore two column, the Port Mourant double wooden still, and a French Savalle four column. Presented in a bottle reminiscent of the flasks discarded by Dutch sailors, this rum is a satisfying balance between sweet, smoky and savory. A nose of prunes, banana and toffee apple is accented by hints of smoke, coffee and vanilla. Honeyed tropical fruit notes appear on the palate and merge with mocha, cedar, tobacco and spice.

Launched in late 2002, El Dorado 21 Year Old is a blend of rums produced by the wooden Enmore two column, the Port Mourant double wooden still, and the French Savalle four column. A pronounced nose of toffee, nuts, tobacco and herbs leads to a rich, complex palate with notes of coffee, vanilla, chocolate, spice and cigar box. Sip and savor El Dorado 21 straight or poured over ice.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!