It's been a busy little while at ednbrg Towers, what with trying to locate those missing vowels and all. Monday, for example, saw the 42 Below Vodka University roll up to the Voodoo Rooms to launch the 2010 Cocktail World Cup. Thanks to loveable kiwis Jacob and Marty, I now know that New Zealand is home to over 40 million sheep and has been - since 1996 - one of the few countries where home distillation is legal. I also learned that some people, no matter how hard you try, are never going to like a Feijoa-flavored vodka.
I really wish I'd taken some photos of the presentation. First of all, there was vodka tasting which is rarely on my list of top five enjoyable activities. We covered Russian style vodkas (Russian Standard, in this case), Polish style vodka (Belvedere) and what they called a new world style vodka (Ketel One) - meaning Western Europe/America, I'd guess - before moving onto flavored vodka (Zubrowka) and the 42 Below range of Passionfruit, Feijoa, Manuka Honey and Kiwi. While this was going on, there was an animated backdrop projected onto a screen behind Jacob that, at points, showed a giant, laughing Boris Yeltsin head.
After the tasting, we were shown a couple of videos from previous Cocktail World Cups. 42 Below have been hosting the events in New Zealand since 2004, doing things like throwing competitors off a bridge with a bungee cord and a cocktail shaker. The World Cup was described as "the hardest, and most fun" comp ever.
The brand guys then proceeded to the bar to make a mixture of signature cocktails and drinks that had performed well at previous World Cups - including one that had been engineered to taste like a traditional warm, English ale.
All in all, it was a cracking afternoon. There are always downsides, though, and in this case, it was the fact that I had to go to work pretty sharpish after the session.
So. That was Monday.