The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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8  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2014 UP The Bleu Vodka Dankowski Golden Rye, grown in the southeastern region of Poland, is sown in early September and harvested in July. The rye becomes heartier and the plant stronger and more robust, which carries through the entire process. This "winter rye" is then mixed with crystal clear water pulled from an artisanal well at approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit, from which the vodka gets its name, 50 Bleu. Four-times-distilled in copper-lined pot stills, and filtered five times in a propri- etary method—these are the ingredients for 50 Bleu Ultra Premium Vodka. The resulting product is an expression that is super clean, drinkable and smooth. When tasted, a velvet texture opens up into a subtle spice note, which ends in a long finish. A spirit of both luxury and character. 50 Bleu has tapped Blackheath Beverage Group, an out- sourced sales and marketing agency, to help in the develop- ment and bring the brand to market. With a premium product and a passionate, experienced team to lead them, what's next for the brand? "Now it's all about spreading our product and growing into more markets, where we hope to see 50 Bleu in more restaurant-driven accounts and in lots of craft cocktails," says Monrreal. "And who better to spread the word than those individuals who are in the direct line of contact with consumers: The bartenders and servers are our ultimate brand ambassadors," he continues. The Bleu Brand Coining the term "brand hosts"—a play on the term "bottle host" from the nightlife and club space—50 Bleu hopes to cre- ate a groundswell from those front-of-the-line industry workers who will be handling their product daily to promote the brand through the bartenders and cocktail servers. The expectation is that they are the people who will be educating and really driving the decisions of the consumers—a tactic that could only succeed by having the utmost faith in the vodka's quality and taste, something D'Angelo and Monrreal are sure of. "We're both so ready to do this. The entire experience has been amazing, and I'm so happy to do it with someone who I trust and call my best friend," concludes D'Angelo. "It's been extremely challenging: From traveling the world tasting vodkas and learning different distillation practices to gaining the trust of investors, but seeing that bottle and tasting it when everything was exactly right—I can't describe that feeling. It's amazing." Michael Monrreal, Justin D'Angelo and 50 Bleu Vodka are a young and hopeful trio, and we at THE TASTING PANEL have a strong feeling they're on the path to some very authentic success—prince charming and enchanted castles aside. 50 Bleu Vodka is available for purchase at Astor Wine and Spirits in NYC and Gil Turner's in L.A. Monrreal and D'Angelo give a toast in the very place it all began: Red Square at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV. Polish Mule ◗ 1½ oz. 50 Bleu Vodka ◗ 2½ oz. ginger beer ◗ ¾ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ ½ oz. simple syrup ◗ Mint leaf garnish Combine ingredients with ice and shake. Pour into copper mug over shaved ice. Garnish with mint leaf. 50 Bleu Vesper ◗ 2 oz. 50 Bleu Vodka ◗ 1 oz. gin ◗ 1 oz. Cocchi Americano ◗ Orange peel garnish Shake all ingredients together, strain and pour into a coup glass. Garnish with orange peel twist.

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