Friday, June 30, 2006

Personality Profile

Ryan McDermott, of Sound Check

There’s a new kid in blog town. Ryan McDermott was lured away from finishing his Master’s in Journalism to launch Sound Check, DC Style Magazine's newest blog feature.

The former Onion intern explains that he wanted to spend the summer somewhere other than New York. Following a friend's suggestion, he checked out some pubs (publications, that is…) in Washington. Ryan says that after discussing the idea of writing about music with the editors at DC Style, he got really excited. “I left NYU and saved myself $26,000.”

Sound Check launched on June 16, 2006. He writes reviews and plans to incorporate band interviews. He lists upcoming shows on Mondays, and is open to receiving emails from readers about what is happening in town. “Some people say there’s a lack of a music scene in DC but I don’t believe that at all. I think it’s very fertile. People take the easy way out not to look for things.”

Ryan says that his goal is to not only demonstrate that there is a music scene in Washington but guide them toward what he thinks is good. He praises DC’s “legendary music history” ranging from jazz to punk to hip-hop.

McDermott grew up in southern New Jersey and went to Rowan University where he was a journalism-major and Editor of his college paper. Upon graduation, he took a year off and did ‘hard news’ at a daily publication but says, “It wasn’t for me, so I went to grad school.”

According to Ryan, studying at NYU had intimidating moments. “The teaching staff is made up of professionals. When someone from The New Yorker is editing your paper, it’s scary – horrific! It comes back with notes all over it. But, it helped me so much.”

At first, music writing was a hobby for Ryan. He contributed 2000-word essays to onefinalnote.com, a jazz website, and popmatters.com, a journal of pop-culture. Writers span from the well-known to people who passionate about music and write well. Ryan admires music critic Greil Marcus who compares bands to other art forms such as literature, film or art, and ensuing effects on pop culture, rather than just judging them as “good or bad.”

Writing ‘short’ to fit with DC Style’s format is a challenge for Ryan, but says he feels he's a better writer for it. And, he is no longer looking at Washington as a summer stop over. Durng out interview he declared, “I’m here for good. I just signed a year lease.”

The Liquid Muse, on behalf of music-lovers in the District, is damn happy to welcome him!

Where does this new transplant like to go to unwind?
“I like that downstairs bar at the Big Hunt. Asylum was interesting. And, I love Kramers. When I went there, I thought, ‘Drinking AND books – this is incredible!’” Ryan also likes dive bars with old-time juke boxes, exclaiming, “Cds are ok but searching the internet on a juke box is crap!”

What does he like to drink?
“I like Makers on the rocks, but for a 24-year old student, it’s a little pricey. Hipsters in New York and Brooklyn drink Pabst, I guess because its cheap and artistic types are usually broke. One place had a Happy Meal, which is a Pabst and a shot for 5 bucks. I like Pabst and I’m sticking to it.”

Email Ryan: music@dcstylemag.com

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Sipster Submission

Really Saying Something!

I am always excited to get feedback from readers following The Liquid Muse! Here is a note from Sipster, Kenneth, in Singapore, who responded to a Celebrity Sips posting…

“As a long-time Bananarama fan, just want to say thanks for your great little interview with Keren and Sara. It's great to read an interview where the writer "gets" what Bananarama is all about!

'Drama' is a great album and I hope it's a big success in the US. The lead single "Look On The Floor" is already #7 on the US Billboard Club Chart! Check out my Bananarama infosite if you want to keep up to date with the girls and their music! :)

As for a local drink, there's the famous SINGAPORE SLING at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore which I like - very fruity!
Kenneth"

Raffles Singapore Sling
(This recipe from Raffles Hotel, Singapore, is where it was originally invented at the turn-of-the-century by Hainanese-Chinese bartender Mr Ngiam Tong Boon.)

1 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. oz. Cherry Brandy
4 oz. Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. oz. Lime Juice
1/4 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. Dom Benedictine
Splash Grenadine
A Dash of Angostura Bitters
Garnish with a slice of Pineapple and Cherry

Mix all in a shaker with ice, pour into a tall glass over ice, add garnish and turn up the music!

Kenneth’s Bananarama infosite: http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Union/6146/bananarama.html

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Say "Aloha" to Ocean Vodka!

At $40 per bottle, Maui-based Hawaii Sea Spirits touts its Ocean Vodka not only smooth and pure-tasting but also the vodka for the ecologically conscious. Using water drawn from a half-mile below the Kona waves and alcohol distilled in Idaho from organic corn and rye, Shay Smith, Hawaii Sea Spirits' 29-year-old president, says his desire is to help protect the oceans while creating a high-end product, due to the fact that pesticides used in nonorganic farming inevitably make it to the oceans.

The brand of water used, MaHaLo Hawaii Deep Sea Water originates near Greenland and travels halfway around the globe to the Pacific before being drawn from 3,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean. The designer water is already marketed in Japan and its producer has opened a posh water bar in Waikiki, selling hydration to beachgoers.

The alcohol used in Ocean Vodka is distilled in Idaho, but blended and bottled by the Smith family at a plant near Kahului. The company hopes eventually to set up its own distillery on Maui.


So, could consuming Ocean martinis really help the environment? "Drinking can save the planet," Smith jokes.

Cheers to that!

Monday, June 26, 2006

And the Winners Are…!

Established in 1920, the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is made up of restaurateurs and food service industry professionals in the DC-area. The yearly awards gala is one of the most creative and rambunctious events in town.

This year’s RAMMY Awards, themed “Restaurants Rock!”, took place Sunday, June 25 in the Marriott Wardman Park Ballroom. The 1600 guests were encouraged to attend in "glam rock" attire. Outfits ranged from same-old black tie (yawn) to outlandish make-up and bling (yay)!

The decor was damn impressive - animal print table cloths and a kick-ass band set the right ambiance. Masters of ceremonies, Sue Palka of Fox5 and James Adams of NBC4, led the festivities, handing out awards voted on by industry professionals and the public-at-large.

Neighborhood Gathering Place of the Year: Evening Star Café
Hottest Bar Scene of the Year: Clyde’s of Gallery Place
Power Spot of the Year: The Capital Grill
New Restaurant of the Year: BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant
Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year: Maestro
Informal Dining Restaurant of the Year: KAZ Sushi Bistro
Chef of the Year: Jose Andres
Restaurant Employee of the Year: Santos Fuentes, Chef Geoff’s
Pastry Chef of the Year: Zoe Behrens, 1789 Restaurant
Restaurant Manager of the Year: Danny Boylen, Notti Bianche
Rising Culinary Star of the Year: Johnny Monis, Komi
Favorite Restaurant of the Year: Sweetwater Tavern

Congratulations from The Liquid Muse - You ROCK!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Personality Profile

Food Blogger, Amanda McClements

I've always been impressed with Metrocurean's Amanda McClements. Listed as one the "Most Beautiful People in DC" last year, this Durham, North Carolina native is as nice on the inside as she is to look at, on the outside.

Amanda says her 9th grade teacher got her hooked on the idea of journalism. By the time she graduated, she was the editor of her high school paper. She graduated from UNC with a degree in journalism, and moved to DC in 2000.

Her first job in this area was at a technology magazine, in the graphic design department. She says, “My biggest regret about leaving that job is that the restaurant, 2941, opened two months after I quit!"

From there, Amanda went to work at another publication, Roll Call, where she pitched the editors a “Hot Plate” column. Soon, she was writing about restaurants on Capitol Hill and surrounding area. In June 2005, she went freelance, though she still contributes“Hot Plate” and restaurant reviews to Roll Call.

Next month, she celebrates the one-year anniversary of Metrocurean, her very popular food blog. Amanda claims, “I didn’t even know what a blog was a year and a half ago! My boyfriend suggested I start one to keep myself writing during slower weeks as a freelancer.”

20 minutes into “playing around” with blogger last summer, and trying out different blog names, Amanda got an email from DC Blogs offering to link to her. Taken aback with the immediacy of response she exclaims, “I was like, ‘Wait! I’m not serious about this!’”

Obviously, she became serious about it. She now says, "I see a blog as an information source more than a personal journal. ‘Comments’ make it more community-based.” She explains that inspiration for a food blog sprung from the idea that she wasn’t the only person interested in DC restaurants. “Metrocurean became a place where I could use the information I didn’t use in my other writing.”

Metrocurean's a loyal following doesn’t always realize blogging is not her full-time job. “80% of my time is devoted to paying jobs. Eventually, I’d love to think of ways to turn it into something bigger. I love doing it, and I like that people know me for it.”

She plans to add new features to Metrocurean, including updated lists of restaurant recommendations, an ongoing list of new hot-spots on the horizon and recommended cookbooks. She also wants to pursue more national publications as venues for her own writing, having contributed a DC Restaurant Report to Food & Wine Magazine's May issue.

Ironically, Amanda admits, “I don’t love to write. I only like to write about things I love. I’ve always been into food. Its like the adage about some people eating to live and others living to eat. My mom and dad are amazing cooks. Our vacations were about having more time to cook, while other people’s families were happy not to have to cook."

Before moving to DC, she did a 4-month work program at a language school in Paris. She says, “I learned to eat well on very little money. A baguette, some cheese, olives and wine… I pretty much lived on that.” She adds, “I’d love to go back and eat in some nice restaurants.”

Amanda says, “Its an exciting time to be in DC. People are starting to realize that Washington has a lot to offer. We have a lot of young talented chefs and sommeliers, that is, if they all stay!”

With the Restaurant Awards this weekend, I had to ask this DC foodie about her picks...
She says,"
I'll got with Busboys and Poets for Neighborhood Gathering Spot.
For Hottest Bar Scene, I think it'll be a very close race with five spots that are "hot" in different ways. I'll give the edge to Sonoma or Tabaq, though Zaytinya has a good shot, too.
As for Power Spot, I'll go for Charlie Palmer Steak.


Where does Metrocurean’s dame of dish like to go for a drink?
“I wish Restaurant Eve’s bar were in my neighborhood!” She also loves the Saloon, for its good Belgian beer selection; the bar at the Tabbard Inn; and sings the praises of Agreria’s house martini, which comes with pickes, peppers and olives.

Favorite libations?
Margaritas, Side Cars and always Kir Royale. Amanda says she also likes a good beer, then adds… “Oh, and then there’s wine…”

I have a sneaking suspicion a Wine of the World Wednesday chat between The Liquid Muse and Metrocurean could be on the horizon…


For more info check out: www.metrocurean.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rockin’ Rammy Awards

This weekend, in Washington DC, nominated restaurants compete for best restaurant, bar, (etc.) of the year. The event is sponsored by the RAMW (Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington) and nicknamed the Rammy’s. I intend to profile the winner of "Best Bar Scene" on The Liquid Muse next week - so stay tuned!

Each year the committee picks a theme, and this year it is the Rockin’ Rammy’s. Here is the cocktail created in honor of the event, taking place this Sunday, June 25… "May I have the envelope please...?"

The Rockin’ Rammy

3 oz. Snow Queen Vodka
2 oz. Cointreau orange flavored liquor
Pomegranate juice
Orange wedge for garnish

Served on the rocks. Topped with Pomegranate juice; garnished with an orange wedge and a fancy swizzle stick.

Best of luck to the contenders, from The Liquid Muse!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wines of the World Wednesday

Ole! Ostatu

In honor of this year's kick-ass Spanish soccer team (doing amazingly so far in the World Cup) I want to present one of my favorite discoveries from Barcelona.

I first tasted this wine while dining at a lovely restaurant with a dear friend. I have yet to find it in the US... so if anyone knows where to get it, please write in!!

This delicious rioja is worth a taste. It is not expensive and is a delightful accompaniment to light fare and fun.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Celebrity Sips

The Frequency of Naked Rhythm

I was recently turned on to a CD that I cannot resist sharing with The Liquid Muse Community. Drums, sitars, hip-hop beats, jazz and electronics blend into a house – lounge – dance mix that I feel compelled to listen to, like, practically every day.

“Frequency” the debut album from Naked Rhythm features lively and exotic music fitting almost any situation – throwing a party, working on the computer or making out on the couch with your favorite somebody…

Alex and Avi, Naked Rhythms creators, consider themselves drummers by trade and met while jamming with other world-beat musicians. Their friendship grew into a musical partnership.

The pair was hired to remix some music for Caravan Records. While working on that project, they came up their own track, which the label loved, and soon they were working on their own album.

Naked Rhythm describes their music as being “organic in its roots, with crossover appeal.” Pulling on a network of musician friends from India, the Middle East and Brazil, Avi and Alex blend East-and-West, Ancient-and-Modern disciplines to breathe life into their 2 1/2 year project. Finding joy in their work, the fellas say it has been “a wonderful adventure and journey to create this album.”

And, they have not gone unnoticed. The day after first hearing Frequency, Sting called Avi and Alex, asking them to play at a party at his house.

These guys are so cool, that when I asked them for an interview in order to feature them on The Liquid Muse, they even created their own cocktail! (Talk about rock-star talent!)

Naked Rhythm Cocktail
1 oz. Lemon essence water (sparkling)
1/2 oz. lemonade
1 oz. vodka (2 oz. if you’re feeling naughty!)
Splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice

Mix lemonade, vodka, and juice then shake with ice. Add sparkling water, serve in martini glass. (clothing optional)


Naked Rhythm is also featured on other compilations such as “Electric Oasis” (Caravan), “Tantra Lounge” vols. 3 and 4 (Water Music), and “Bellydance Superstars” vol. 4 (Mondo Melodia).

If you’re in LA, you can catch Naked Rhythm on July 14th in at Temple Bar.

“Frequency” will be in stores on July 18. However, trendsetters can already order it online: www.nakedrhythm.com

Monday, June 19, 2006

Seeing (Ruby) Red!

Our friends at Absolut have a red-hot new flavor for summer. If you ask me, Ruby Red Grapefruit sounds seriously refreshing. I can’t wait for my first taste!

If you are in the DC area, you can be among the first to sample Sweden’s latest import this week at the following Morton’s locations: (RSVP’s required)

Conn Avenue, Thursday, June 22: Call 202.955.5997 for RSVPs
Reston, Friday, June 23: Call 703.796.0128 for RSVPs
Tyson’s Corner, Thursday, June 29: Call 703.883.0800 for RSVPs
Georgetown, Friday, June 30: Call 202.342.6258 for RSVPs


The Ruby

2 oz Absolut Ruby Red
1 oz DeKuyper Triple Sec
2 ruby red grapefruit wedges or 1 1⁄2 oz of Ocean Spray Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
2 lime wedges

Place fruit in shaker, muddle briskly, add ice, DeKuyper Triple Sec and Absolut Ruby Red. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with Ruby Red grapefruit wedge and sugar rim.


Ruby Red Relish
2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red
2 round slices of cucumber, peeled
1/4 tsp. Green chilies
2 tsp. Sugar (or 1/2 oz. simple syrup)

Muddle cucumber, green chilies and sugar in martini shaker. Add vodka, ice (and a splash of simple syrup, if using it). Shake and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

For more information, visit: www.absolut.com

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father’s Day Festivity...

“Boire un petit coup c’est agreable…”

France has many songs that hail the pleasure of drinking. I remember my dad (who is from the Mediterranean town of Beaulieu sur /mer) merrily singing the tunes on appropriate occasions – working in the yard, firing up the barbeque, or indulging in a favorite libation...

“Boire un petit coup” translates to “have a little drink.” A popular drink from the sunny southern coast is Ricard, an anise-flavored liqueur typical of Provence. There is a saying in the region which says a day without wine is a day without sun. The word “wine” in the Provencal regions is often replaced with “Ricard.”

Ricard tastes and smells like licorice and has a slightly amber color, until poured over ice cubes and mixed with water. It then turns a milky and opaque, and smells like a candy store. I was allowed tiny sips to taste it, as a kid, and even then enjoyed the sweet herbal vapor Ricard emanates.

While not commonly drunk in the US, it is available in high-end liquor stores. It is very refreshing on a hot day, and makes a wonderful aperitif. Definitely worth a taste, if you haven’t sampled it already.

I’ll be lifting a glass to my dad for Father’s Day, and humming a jovial tune, in his honor… “Un petit coup, tra-la-la, un petit coup, tra-la-la…”

Friday, June 16, 2006

Personality Profile

Kelly Ann Collins, DC Blogger and Socialite

Perhaps I’m late to the proverbial party but I first heard of Kelly Ann Collins on DC Style Magazine’s blog, where KAC contributes a weekly blog entry, on Mondays. She is introduced as “a member of the local smart set.” I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, or why a “socialite” writer would be touted as such. I must say, after chatting with Kelly Ann, herself, it was pleasure to find out…

After growing up in a small town (25,000 inhabitants) in West Virginia and studying psychology in college, Ms. Collins moved to Pittsburg to work as a crime reporter. She was eventually lured to DC for a job with USA Today. During her time covering the grisly aftermath of violence such as Columbine, Kosovo, etc. she says her job became “kind of depressing” and she longed to get back to her creative writing roots and move further into the realm of lifestyle writing.

In 2003, she experimented with the launch of her first blog. By November 2004 she settled on the name "Washington Socialites" as it was essentially a party report of champagne soirees, martini masquerades and charity galas. WS achieved great success in gossip-loving and glamour-craving DC and the blog’s appeal quickly reached beyond the beltway. According to Kelly it got 80,000 visitors a day, including loyal readers on the West Coast, and in Europe.

A year ago, Kelly created a new endeavor, Ask KAC.com. The downfall to the forum, she recalls, is that people asked questions she’d rather not repeat, much less have to answer. A return to her former structure of imparting information and fielding comments on her current website, simply named KellyAnnCollins.com, appears to be the formula for success. She, and her assistant, Editorial Dude, receive approximately 10,000 hits a day – and growing.

What’s it like to be a socialite? Kelly says that with Washington Socialites, she was invited, or paid to appear at twelve or more parties a week. She recalls, “It wasn’t fun anymore. When something stops being fun, I stop.” After a little party pause, she says happily, “Now, I can go out and it feels like recreation.”

My more pressing question, though (because I think there is more than one correct answer) was how exactly one defines the term ‘socialite.’ Kelly explains, “A socialite is someone who’s in-the-know, knows a lot of people, knows what’s ‘in’ and is involved in charity activities. Not just the people who party until they fall over.” Her own charity activities are numerous and she particularly likes galas and balls.

This year she is on the Host Committee for the Courage Cup, benefiting the Work to Ride charity, which takes inner city kids into nature and uses horses as ‘animal therapy’ (the kids learn to play polo). The Courage Cup takes place tomorrow, June 17, from 12 – 7pm at the Great Meadow Polo Club in Virginia. (more info at www.couragecup.org)

Of course, The Liquid Muse would be negligent not to ask a socialite about her favorite places to go out. Her answers:

Bar? “Definitely the Fly Lounge” She is also a fan of parties thrown by promoters Absolute Addiction.

Drink? Ironically enough, this socializing expert didn’t have her first alcoholic beverage until the age of 27. She is exploring the world of libations in stages saying she first liked Gin & Tonics, went through a serious Chocolate Martini phase and now has moved onto Dirty Martinis and Vanilla Stoli.

And, of course, as any self-respecting socialite should, she quickly adds, “Oh, and I like champagne.”

Visit: www.kellyanncollins.com for more info.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pampano

This Mexican-inspired seafood restaurant and upscale ‘taqueria’ has been hailed as having “fish so fresh and flavors so pure in a setting so lovely that you can nearly feel the gulf breeze in your hair.”

Add the refreshing exotic cocktail below, and it sounds like the perfect escape from summer heat in the ‘Big Apple!’

Jícama Passionfruit Mojito
4 ct. Parrot Bay Passionfruit Rum (1.5 oz)
1 Lime wedge
5 Mint leaves
.5 oz. Passionfuit juice
2 tablespoons Jicama puree
1 oz. Sour mix
Splash Club soda

Pampano: 209 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017; 212.751.4545; www.modernmexican.com

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wine of the World Wednesday (still no photos uploading)

It’s a bird, It’s a plane, its… SUPER-RHÔNE!

Zaca Mesa Winery introduces the 2003 Z Three, a reserve blend of 52% Syrah, 46% Mourvèdre, and 2% Grenache, coined a “Super-Rhône.”

After hand-harvesting, fermentation and separate barrel aging for seven months, the vintages are combined and aged in French Oak barrels for an additional 12 months. “These varieties provide rich layers of flavor creating a wine greater than the sum of its parts and enabling it to be enjoyed now or cellar for five to seven years,” says winemaker Clay Brock.

Zaca Mesa Winery, founded in 1972, consists of 244 plantable acres on a 750 acre estate in Los Olivos, California, nestled in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Their grape varietals thrive in the unique weather conditions such as morning fog and afternoon breezes. The soils, mostly sandy loam with plenty of rocks, once pre-historic ocean dunes, now sit 1,500 feet above sea level.

By the early 1990’s, the winemakers discovered that grapes varieties indigenous to the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut, Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc) consistently produced well-developed flavors and ripend evenly. It presented its first Rhône style blend with the 1992 Z Cuvée. Since that time, Zaca has been dedicated to estate grown and bottled Rhône varietal wines. No grapes grown at Zaca Mesa vineyards leave the winery until bottled, affording their product the ‘estate bottled.’

In 2002, the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers developed and published a Code of Sustainable Winegrowing. Zaca Mesa has embraced that code ensurring the health and sustainability of its vineyard, employees, neighbors and the environment. has been dedicated to estate grown and bottled Rhône varietal wines.

The 2003 Z Three was released Nationally April 1, 2006. 697 cases were produced, with a suggested retail bottle price of $40. Pairing suggestions for the Z Three include:

Herbs & Spices - Basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel
Vegetables - Beets, eggplant, tomatoes, beets, mushrooms
Fish & Seafood - Salmon, tuna (baked, grilled, sautéed)Meats - Bacon, beef, duck, lamb, game
Cheeses - Aged cheddar, brie
Other - BBQ, pizza, tapas

Zaca Mesa Winery, 6905 Foxen Canyon Rd., Los Olivos, CA 93441; (805) 688-9339; www.zacamesa.com

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Celebrity Sips (photos not uploading... but coming soon)

LA Band, Million/Billion, in DC Wednesday night!

“Edgy, Eclectic, with pop hooks and Indie Quirk…million billion has a musical style that unites fans of indie-rock, country, pop, rock and dance music into one throbbing mass, drooling for the next song.” ~CD Baby

Certain local publications in DC are strangely ‘closed’ to mentioning up-and-coming bands visiting the area. I’ve been surprised at the lack of willingness to share info with their readership.

Luckily, The Liquid Muse loves to share! - particularly when the band happens to be from my town (LA) and it especially doesn’t hurt that the band also happens to be made up of three yummy band members. (I just figure DC ladies might wanna know when some rockin’ West Coast hotties roll into town. Call me crazy…)

Million/Billion’s debut concert last year at LA’s legendary House of Blues’ Foundation Room, was followed by a stint at Hollywood’s infamous Viper Room, and packed houses at hot-spots Hotel Café and Tangier. Tracks from their album Ready.Fire.Aim have already found their way on LA’s influential radio stations Indie 103.1 and KCRW, and BMI recently chose million/billion as their ‘Pick of the Month.’

The album, co-produced by the band and recorded with the help of engineer/producer Karl Derfler (No Doubt, Dave Matthews Band, Big Head Todd) is set for official release this August. Urb Magazine, has already given it four stars in its December/January issue, saying “Million/Billion throws in cynical folk-rock with country that lands a bull’s eye,” and calling their “rhythmical acoustic guitar and raucous performance,” hard to pass up.

The trio, Gavin Bellour (lead singer), Brian Ulrich (drummer) and Yonatan Elkayam (keys/bass, upright, harmonica…), first played onstage together in 2005 at an impromptu jam session. The connection, chemistry, and camaraderie fired their imaginations. “We like to think that the sound we created doesn’t really fit into a particular genre or perhaps it does and we are just too ignorant to know it, but in our universe we’ve blended genres to create a new style…,” says lead singer Bellour.

Cd baby agrees saying, “million/billion blends a variety of old and new into a sound that is truly all their own.” This sound has earned the band opening slots for such artists as Beck, Ray Lamontagne and Shooter Jennings.

On Wednesday, June 13, the boys will be playing at The Grog and Tankard, 2408 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington DC 20007; 202-333-3114;
http://www.grogandtankard.com/

If you catch the show, share your thoughts with the Liquid Muse Community by sending in a review. I’ll post it here.

Oh - and for the 'sips' part of this Celebrity Sips - the Grog and Tankard has 14 microbrews... Pick your favorite and send it in to The Liquid Muse. (photos are always welcome!)

For more info on the band check out: www.millionbillionmusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/millionbillion

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Enough about me... What do YOU think of me??

This is my 40th post on The Liquid Muse. So, in honor of this little milestone, I thought it is time to check in with my readers!!

The Liquid Muse Community is developing into a wordly and eccelctic group! I love getting emails from Sipsters around the globe. You are my motivation!

It's been a couple of months now... so its time to ask... are you getting what you need out of this relationship?

Tell me what you want!

Searching for the perfect sangria recipe? Planning a party and want suggestions on drinks to impress your guests? Have you seen / tasted / created something totally delish and want to share?

Or, do you disagree with anything I've reviewed? I wanna know!

This blog is a two-way conversation and I'd love to hear from you...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Personality Profile

Take Worry Out of the Mix, with Rose's Cocktail Infusions, Tony Livaich’s New Creation!


With more than two decades of experience under his belt, Tony has experience in creating new drink concepts. Holding degrees in biology and chemistry, and a Masters of Business Administration, it is safe to assume he has the technical background for the job!!

His latest development for Cadbury Schweppes is a line of pre-made martini mixers called Rose’s Cocktail Infusions. These no-hassle cocktail enhancements come in a variety of colors and flavors to liven up a party. (Even the bottles have a playful design!)

While working 20 years for Diageo, whose brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, and Sterling Vineyards Wines, Tony developed 65 products that went to market. His well-known drink creations include the frozen dessert drinks at TGI Friday’s (Mudslides, Piña Coladas and more), Smirnoff Ice, crème liqueurs and Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix.

So, drink a toast to Tony’s creations. His illustrious career is worthy of celebration (or at least another round of martinis)!

True Blue

2 oz. vodka 1 oz. Rose’s Cocktail Infusions Blue Raspberry Mix

Shake, serve 'up' in chilled glass. (Yeah, it's that easy.)

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Gettin' Wild in Finland

I want to share Finlandia's new Wild Berry Vodka with the Liquid Muse Community. Frankly, the stuff is delish. Since I received a sample bottle, I've "tested" it out a few more times than I should probably admit!

It is quite tasty all-on-its-own, over ice. Still, when mixed in a cocktail, such as the one below, it really shines as a must-have ingredient for your mid-Summer party.

"Kippis!" ("Cheers" in Finnish)

Wild Berries Caipiroska
(recipe courtesy of Finlandia Vodka)

2 oz. Finlandia ®Wild Berries Fusion Vodka
2 oz. sweet and sour mix
4 fresh raspberries
4 fresh blackberries
2 fresh lime wedges
1 teaspoon of sugar

Muddle berries and lime wedge with sugar in a short highball glass. Fill glass with crushed ice and add Wild Berries vodka and sweet and sour mix. Either shake and pour back into glass or stir briskly. Garnish with fresh berries.

Want more info? Go to: www.finlandia.com

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Celebrity Sips - Teesing Tart
Anyone who knows me well, knows I am passionate about pin-ups. I was an avid Marilyn Monroe collector in my teens and early 20's, I collect pin-up books, records and other memorabilia, I shimmied in sexy stage reviews in Paris (back in my performer days) and I've always been enthralled with the glamour of Hollywood.

All this to say how excited I am about today's Celebrity Sips! Dita Von Teese is the modern-day answer to unabashed femininity, unapologetic sensuality and glittering glamour. She hits the mark of 'va-va-voom' without lowering herself to trailer-trash sleaze, a trap into which far too many of current starlets decend.

Tart, one of my favorite new LA hotspots located in the newly refurbished Farmer'sDaughter Hotel, has a fun and creative drink list which includes cocktails named after femme fatales. I felt this one is a perfect fit with The Liquid Muse...

The Dita Von Teeser
3 sections blood orange
1 ½ oz. PAMA (pomegranate liqueur)
½ oz. Pomegranate molasses
Champagne

Muddle blood orange or tangerine juice, PAMA and pomegranate molasses. Strain and pour into Champagne flute. Add Champagne. Garnish with citrus wheel and mint.

Tart, 115 S. Fairfax Ave; LA, CA 90036; 323.556.2608; www.farmersdaughterhotel.com


Want to know more? A few facts about Dita:

Born in a small town in Michigan and raised in a historic antique-filled home, Dita Von Teese's longtime fascination with 1940s cinema and classic retro style has made her name and image synonymous with classic vintage glamour.

As a very young girl, Dita became enchanted by the films and stars of Hollywood's Golden Age and spent her childhood dreaming of the high pastiche elegance of 1940s glamour and it's stars like Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. It's no wonder that her childhood fondness for the beauty of yesteryear led her to be revered as the most celebrated modern-day vintage pinup model and burlesque star.

At age twelve, she moved out west from Michigan to Orange County, California with her parents and two sisters. She trained in ballet throughout her teen years, idolizing 50’s star Cyd Charisse, famous for using classical dance in risqué dance numbers.

A collector of vintage clothing from the 1920s - 50s, she studied historic costuming in college, and eventually found a niche as a model specializing in cheesecake.

Having admired the look of corsets in the films and photos set in the 1800s, she would have no idea at that time that her desire to tight-lace at age eighteen would lead her to a fetish boutique specializing in this type of exotic apparel. It was during one of her many visits to this fetish shop when she first saw an image of Bettie Page by famed artist Olivia. In 1991, Dita set out to recreate some of Bettie's intriguing images in an effort to bring back nostalgic elegance to the pages of fetish magazines.

Since then, Ms. Von Teese has often been compared to Bettie not only for her spirit and for her enduring image, but as the premiere fetish supermodel with countless magazine covers and as one of artist Olivia's favorite art muses. Her career as a glamour model skyrocketed, and it wasn't long before she gained worldwide mainstream press for popularizing retro style and vintage eroticism.

Dita's career in burlesque began in 1993 as she made a hobby of collecting men's magazines from the 1930s and 40s. In these magazines, there were not only cheesecake photographs of her favorite sex goddesses, but also pages and pages of the burlesque dancers from the era. Dita first began performing her tribute to Sally Rand's feather fan dance at one of the biggest fetish events in the US in 1993, and in 1996, she tipped her hat to striptease icon Lili St Cyr by taking a champagne bath in a crystal-clear glass bathtub. Her unsurpassed showmanship earned her the spotlight as the headlining performer at all three years of Teaseorama, the most highly publicized and attended showcase of the burlesque revival and she has since toured the United States and Europe as a solo performer. In 2002, Dita was singled out with rave reviews from Variety and The Los Angeles Times for her "girl in the glass" solo performances with Carmen Electra's Pussycat Dolls, and the film Charlie's Angels II features a nightclub scene that pays tribute and gives acknowledgment to Dita's trademark act. During a run of performances in Hollywood, Dita caught Hugh Hefner's eye and put her on the cover of Playboy's coveted Holiday Gala issue showing off her astonishing sixteen and half inch corseted wasp-waist and a featuring a fabulously luxurious ten page pictorial of her signature 40's style.

Whether lounging on her sparkling crescent moon, riding a brilliant rhinestone-encrusted carousel horse, bathing in a decadent jeweled clawfoot bathtub, or spinning around in a giant filigree sparkling heart, fans of the burlesque resurgence delight at the sophisticated and lavish spectacles that reflect her devotion to details and dedication to the time honored tradition of classic striptease. Dita regularly performs at The Playboy Mansion's special events, and toured the country for their 50th Anniversary tour.

She drives a restored original 1939 Chrysler New Yorker and is an accomplished ballet, swing and argentine tango dancer. She spends her time off from traveling to relax at home in Hollywood with her beloved, Marilyn Manson.

Read more about Dita at: www.dita.net

Monday, June 05, 2006

Cocktail Conga!

It is finally feeling like summer, which calls for serious socializing and refreshment. Spice up your cocktail hour with south-of-the-border flare at Rosa Mexicano!


Tequila Conga

2 oz Herradura Silver
¼ oz Kalani
½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz Cranberry Juice
1 oz Guava Juice
Splash of sour mix

Shake all ingredients vigorously, pour into chilled martini glass, garnish with wedge of lime on glass.

Rosa Mexicano
DC: 575 7th Street at F Street NW; 20004; (202) 783-5522

NY: 1063 First Avenue at 58th Street; 10022; (212) 753-7407
NY: 61 Columbus Avenue at 62nd Street; 10023; Tel. (212) 977-7700

www.rosamexicano.com

Photo by Moshe Zusman, www.carish1.com

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wines of the World Wednesday

Remember that you read it here when you see the wines of South Eastern Europe take off in the next couple of years. Croatia is already being hailed as a wine-making region poised to provide competition to other popular wine producing countries.

While in this area, I've tried to strike a balance between sampling specialty alcohols and maintaining enough sobriety to write about them, afterward! (And, I've borrowed a camera!)

Cranga is dry, fruity white wine, from Bosnia / Herzegovina. We enjoyed this bottle at Park Princeva, dining outdoors, at a hill-top restauant with a pictoresque view,
overlooking Sarajevo. I wish I had the camera there... The tops of hundreds of mosques and churches are squeezed in between centuries old buildings. As the sun set, lights dotted the landscape, and 'the call to prayer' started as a far off rumble and spread, vibrating throughout the city.

The next night, at the restaurant in our hotel (Hotel Gaj - highly recommended!) we tried a red wine from Serbia / Montenegro, a neighboring country, also formerly regions of Yugoslavia. It was so tasty, we had a second bottle, followed by two half-bottles, among three of us. Needless to say, we teetered off in high spirits! This light red, peppered with fruit and spice, was a great with food and nice to sip while chatting. Obviously, it went down far too easily!