What brings together a celebrity promoter, a small business owner, a girl exploring the town, and a starting-out journalist? Free drinks, of course.
That was the case last Thursday at a private launch event in Hollywood, courtesy of STOLI Vodka and presented by Grooveshark. The brand was promoting its newest flavored vodka called Salted Karamel and on the guest list was a wide array of people- from a self-proclaimed entrepreneur on the cusp of inventing a new energy drink, to a recent UCLA grad who has just taken to exploring the Los Angeles nightlife, there was no shortage of interesting people in the mix. Also on the guest list was yours truly, one month into my first post-college job and already covering cocktail parties. I could get used to this.
My “plus 1” was my boyfriend, and we arrived at Hollywood and Vine’s swanky, seemingly inconspicuous lounge Bardot, located above the Avalon. Upon entering we were greeted by a wave of sexy house music courtesy of DJ Yung Skeeter and a gaggle of friendly STOLI girls handing out drinks.
The star of the evening of course, was STOLI vodka. I expected the drinks to be exclusively Salted Karamel based, but two of the four featured cocktails were made of other STOLI flavors. The first was called STOLI Red, Hot and Juicy, and it delivered what the name promised. The drink was comprised of STOLI hot, pineapple, lime and cranberry juices, simple syrup and a dash of Tabasco.
Word of warning: Read the menu before you drink.
I took a sip expecting something sweet, but the beverage lit my throat on fire and I was taken aback by the gingery, smokey flavor of the drink. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it; the cocktail tastes like a great LA night, warm and spicy. And my boyfriend, who has a penchant for anything spicy at any time of the year, was more than happy to help me sample.
The second drink was more expected: a STOLI Salted Apple, made with Salted Karamel vodka, apple juice, ginger ale and bitters. It was like a grown-up version of the childhood apple-on-a-stick treat, but not as cloyingly sweet as the standard apple martini that was popular in the late 1990s. This one is perfect to sip with your girlfriends during happy hour and not worry about that phlegmy after effect. Unless, of course, you’re on your fourth or fifth drink—then, you might want to slow down anyway.
The SK Café was the other drink using Salted Karamel and included iced coffee, simple syrup, chocolate bitters,orange zest and rosemary as a garnish. This drink is best for those who like their coffee dark, as it has a real acrid punch to it. Definitely a drink you’d want to pop a mint after. When mixing at home, I would experiment with different ingredients like milk or extra syrup to temper down the intensity, but I just happen to be an extra sugar and creamer kinda girl.
The last cocktail was the STOLI Sticki Palmer, with STOLI Sticki, lemonade, iced tea and honey. Sweet but not overwhelmingly so, this modern twist on a classic Southern sweet tea recipe is a refreshingly light drink that’s perfect for the hot weather we’re experiencing right now. It made me think of lounging around the pool on a lazy summer day. (As a chiseled pool boy sways a feathered fan for me, birds sing soft songs in the distance, while everything around me glitters like golden… Sorry, got distracted.) So yeah, the drink was great.
By the end of the event, four-to-five drinks deep, everyone was chummy and happy- which is what led to the gathering of the celebrity publicist, the girl about town, a small business owner and me chatting it up at one of the tables. As we debated about how to summarize the cocktails and the event, celebrity publicist Nicholas Anderson said it best: “STOLI’s a higher quality vodka [and] this Grooveshark event is perfectly representative of the product. It’s about enjoying the drinks, in a great environment, with fun people.”
For more cocktails recipes from STOLI Vodka, click here.