Qino One Vodka now in Rhode Island

Qino One, Red & Blue
Qino One, Red & Blue

Qino One is now available statewide in Rhode Island, through Best Beverages. http://www.bestbeverageri.com/. I will soon be posting a list of Rhode Island retailers and bars where you can purchase Qino One Vodka. cheers!

A Green Planet Night with Livingston Taylor

Livingston Taylor
Livingston Taylor

Get your tickets now for a Night with Livingston Taylor, Wednesday, June 18, 7:00 PM, LeBaron Hills Country Club, Lakeville, MA. In addition to enjoying the concert, you will be supporting a very "Planet worthy project," Habitat for Humanity's Greater Plymouth Build, as a portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to HFH.

LeBaron Hills Country Club is the same venue we hosted our Qino One Vodka launching event this past February.  Qino One will be the vodka of choice at Green Planet's event.  GPC is the creation of Sue Corman and associates.
To order your tickets go to: www.GreenPlanetConcerts.com. 

China Loves Quinoa

I just heard through the grapevine that China Forbes, the incredibly talented lead singer for PINK MARTINI, is a huge fan of quinoa. So I did a little research and found this great article written in the Edible Portand this past winter. It quotes China as saying quinoa is the most important thing in my life. I wonder if she even knows how great a pink martini is when made with Qino One Vodka. I am thinking we should send her a bottle or two and find out. Here is a link to the rest of the article if you are interested.  http://www.edibleportland.com/pages/articles/win06/portlandFridge.htm

Two day Tasting Event Hosted by Great Lakes Distributing Co, Chicago

Qino One & CCSpirits at MCA, Chicago
Qino One & CCSpirits at MCA, Chicago

We had a busy three days in Chicago May 11-13 that started with a pretty memorable Cubs game at Wrigly field. The home team won 6-4 completing a three game sweep of the Diamondbacks and I with my Red Sox cap firmly in place predicted the Cubs will finally win it all after 100 years of trying. We got to meet the whole sales crew of Great Lakes Distributors and had a great time viewing the game from a rooftop club accross the street in Right field www.lakeviewbaseballclub.com .

On Monday we participated in the annual Great Lakes product tasting event, held this year at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. The halls were lined with great wine, spirits, food and people, tasting and talking about the products that Great Lakes distributes throughout Illinois and beyond. We met a lot of Restaurant and Bar owners from Chicago who carry our products and hope to have the chance to visit their establishments next time in town. Two are listed here: Bret from Feast Restaurant & Bar www.feastrestaurant.com  and Kasra Medhat from Magnolia Cafe 1224 W.Wilson.

Qino One Vodka on Facebook

I just started a Qino One Vodka Facebook Group yesterday. If you want to join come visit and share a recipe or two of your favorite drink.  http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb

Lions Club Vodka Tasting

Last night, April 24, Christine and I were invited to our first ever Lions Club meeting. It was an excellent opportunity to speak to business leaders in the local community about Qino One Vodka. They were a very hospitible group and had great questions about the vodka business. They also seemed to roar their approval of the "water of life" toast that followed their traditional water toast.

WSWA 2008 Las Vegas

Erica & Justine
Erica & Justine

We got off to a great start here in Las Vegas at the annual WSWA convention. It kicked off at 10:00 AM with the usual Penthouse Magazine Pet of the year and runner up both doing the ribbon cutting ceremony. Erica and Justine were both really lovely to talk with as well as to look at as they signed photos and copies of the latest issue.


We were able to get into the convention space and set up our booth just an hour earlier. A little more prepared this year than last, we were ready to meet and greet when the crowds of exporters, distributers and industry folks flooded in. At shows like these you learn what you can and make youself available, never knowing where a good lead or an interesting connection may come from. When things slow down I like to get around and meet the other exhibitors.

Following are some of the more interesting people and products I met on day one :



Dr. Joe Ceravolo of Ceravolo Wines, Austrailia. After a nice chat with Joe, his wife or daughter Heather had me taste a whole stair of tasty wines, from a woodless Chardonnay with citrus highlights that was more like a Sauvignon blanc  to a perfectly drinkable leathery Shiraz.



Richard Lombard-Chibnall, Lombard Brands, Isle of Man, Fabulous Scotch Whiskey told me all about the Isla of Man, or at least enough to make me want to visit on the way to France one of these times with the family. www.lombardscotchwhisky.com


Lisa Averbuch, who was introducing a line of organic liqueurs that I thought would match quite well with Qino One Vodka. The Ginger Cello was particularly tasty and fresh.



Roll over the photos for more links.

Sustainable Living Expo, Boston 2008

Qino One in Metro Boston
Qino One in Metro Boston

Today, March 29th I had the pleasure of attending the Sustainable Living Expo at the Hines Auditorium in Boston. It was said to be the largest ever of this type of convention in Boston. A friend and I first listened to presentations by Ursula Tischner, Founder of econcept/Agency for Sustainable Design, Cologne Germany http://www.econcept.org who spoke about sustainable product design and Michael Singer http://www.michaelsinger.com/ ( www.edf.org )who spoke about space, the environment, "how to put the land back into Landscape," questioning people's assumptions about place and eco sustainable networks. They both showed slides of work and took questions. Afterwards we visited the convention floor, where there were about sixty to seventy booths representing a wide range of "green" interests, from beautiful recycled paper jewelry made by Ugandan refuge women www.papertoperls.org to recycled denim insulation to organic vodka and Artists for Humanity. We also had our photo taken and put on the cover of Metro Boston News, a journal that serves the city.

Following the Expo we had dinner at Atlantic Seafood, a posh Boston eatery where everything was as good as it gets in Boston, except they did not yet carry the best additive free vodka in the world (Qino One). I talked with our server about vodka and gave him my card.

After dinner we walked two blocks to L"atttitude, an impressive Newbury Street Gallery www.lattitudegallery.com where I had the chance to meet and talk with the owner Betty Bothereau. My thinking was that this charming little gallery with the scuplture terrace out back would be an ideal place to introduce Qino One martinis to Newbury Street Vodka drinkers. Betty and I agreed to talk more about this very soon. I'll keep you posted.


Expo West 08, Anaheim, CA

Qino One Vodka is on Display this weekend, March 15-16 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. Sergio Nunez of Andean Naturals has our product and info out to show the range of value added products that benefit from using quinoa as an ingredient. See http://www.expowest.com/

Nightclub & Bars Convention Las Vegas, February, 2008

     Flying into Las Vegas on a clear winter's night this past week was an experience to remember. After months of east coast winter challenges, and a frantic week of preparing for our last-minute Nightclub & Bar Convention appearance, Christine and I were exhausted.  Our indirect flight from Providence to Las Vegas included a stop-over in Philadelphia, where we were able to pick up some surprisingly good sandwiches that would sustain us through the expected foodless flight. Packed in on an overbooked plane, we felt lucky having managed to get seats together. Unfortunately, our luck ran out when it was discovered that the movie we had paid to watch did not, (due to technical difficulties) include sound, and that sleep would not come easily or comfortably due in part to our amply sized bench mate, a rookie flyer who guarded the aisle seat with nervous uncertainty.

            Despite gaining three hours time crossing the international zones, it was nearly 8:00 PM when the pilot announced our decent into Las Vegas and the McCarran International Airport. We looked out the window and there was Las Vegas, glimmering like a pulsating sequined cloak on an otherwise stark and baren desert corpse. It sparkled and shimmered as we flew down out of the darkness and into its seductive brilliance and we began to make out the specific landmarks or faux landmarks of significant historic importance; the Stratosphere Hotel Tower, the (Faux) Eiffel Tower, The Bellagio, and the colorful Hotel Rio, along with so many others.

            It had been nearly fifteen years since my last trip to Sin City and twenty-four years since my first. Each experience was something I would never forget. Though both Las Vegas and I had evolved in different ways over the years (Las Vegas tripling in size) I had expected no less of an adventure this time around and I was not disappointed. The Nightclub & Bar Convention was by far the wildest, most exciting, energetic and fun convention I have ever been to. A sub-convention within the Hospitality Convention week, it was a collection of nightclub and bar people along with about a thousand related businesses trying to get others inspired and excited about buying or selling their products. The whole thing was fueled by dozens of new energy drinks, vodka sellers, bar game makers, pounding dance music, tastings and the most seductively dressed Las Vegas Rent-a-Babes that money could rent. I was in heaven. Just kidding - I was in Vegas and very aware of it. But still it was fun, and under those conditions very easy to mix, mingle and network with a lot of industry people. Because our new Raspberry flavored vodka was not yet available for pouring we decided to use our booth as a billboard and unmanned information stand. This freed us up to see the convention and we visited every stand, handing out Qino One cards and information while talking up our vodka.

            Despite the convention being as interesting and fun as it was, our participation there was not the only highlight of the trip. The main highlight would have to be awarded to the morning of the last day when we rented a car and drove the forty-five minutes out of Vegas to take in the Hoover Dam. The only thing that could have made it more enjoyable was if we had rented a convertible. It was just one of those rare times in life when the relaxed and easy was more preferable to the wild and exciting. Perhaps it's a sign of age. We found ourselves enjoying a sort of spontaneous organic day-dream. The temperature hovered around 73 degrees, with a cerulean blue sky, a slight breeze blowing, and great opportunity to share a relaxing drive while seeing natural things like the Nevada desert, historically significant things like the Hoover Dam, and new exciting things like the Arizona /Nevada Bridge being built over the dam. How could we say “no?”

            On top of all that, we had the good fortune to discover Boulder City, a place that is the perfect antidote to Las Vegas (if you need one), and the only town in the state of Nevada that does not allow gambling. On the way back from the Hoover Dam we stopped for lunch at the Boulder Dam Brewing Company, http://www.boulderdambrewing.com/ located in Boulder City. It was as they say, just what the doctor would have ordered (if we had had the rare good doctor who understood our holistic needs with us at the time). The micro-brewed, unfiltered beer that we tasted was top quality and additive free (just like our vodka). The food (limited in range) was your basic good beer food. The ambience was peaceful and sublime as we and the rest of the afternoon patrons chose to eat outside on the enclosed patio surrounded by antique earth-moving dam equipment that served as interesting garden sculpture. The only complaint we may have had was the amount of time we waited to be acknowledged, (almost fifteen minutes). When our server gal Jessica finally got to us, she was friendly, apologetic and attentive, and, we eventually learned, a recent transplant from Massachusetts. Weak with hunger at this point, we started the meal by sharing an order of  mushrooms deep fried in what else, beer-batter.  Christine also ordered the chicken wrap which she thought was very good with very fresh ingredients. I had the ¼ pound, all beef Frank known as the Feltmen which came with mustard, sauerkraut and chips. For drinks, I requested the “six shooter” which was a sampling of all their brewed-on-premise beer. Amounting to just under two pints, it arrived in a convenient triangular shaped rack as Jessica explained the order in which they were arranged. From the lightest, Powder Monkey Pilsner to the Guiness style Black Canyon Stout, each of the brews was named for some aspect of the dam building enterprise. Most impressive of the lot was a tasty offering they call “High Scaler IPA.” Named after “the boldest dam workers,” it began with a bright hopped up taste full in the mouth with fresh citrus-like notes and finished refreshing and clean. All the detailed beer info along with some clever beer related quotations were included on the simple but eloquent menu. My favorite quote being from Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Ben’s quote and those six little beers was all the proof I needed on that particular day to appreciate my own dam happiness on a lovely day in a remote desert town experiencing an unexpected escape from my mid-winter east coast blues. I highly recommend the Boulder Dam Brew-Pub if you are ever up this way. We spent the rest of the day racing back to the convention where we did our share of networking, researching and packing up the Qino One Vodka booth.

            Our last meal in Las Vegas was in Paris or rather the “Paris Hotel” which was unfortunately but not unexpectedly disappointing. You might say it came across (to us) as a steak with all sizzle and not much meat. For most visitors who have never been to France “The Paris Hotel” could easily be considered a wonderful place to dine, with fine “French” food at every station. However, being intimately familiar with France and authentic French cuisine I can only say there was no comparison and very little resemblance to real French cooking. Sorry if I sound like a snob, but it was like when Kevin Klein plays a Frenchman in a film, saying zis and zat and zose, it is just close enough to be funny. It seemed especially comical yet profoundly disappointing when we first arrived. Seduced by the amazing special effects we sat down at one of those little faux bistros on the main underground French style plaza with the imitation blue sky overhead expecting to order an aperitif. “Bon jour Monsieur, un Pineau sil vous plait,” I said to Arnold the barman as we sat down only to be met with a blank stare. “Sorry,” he said, “I don’t speak French and we don’t have whatever that is you asked for.” “Ohh,” I said surprised. “Do you have Lillet?” Christine asked. “No, I am afraid not.” “How about a pastis,” I continued to probe, “you know, Ricard or Pernod?” “I don’t think so,” he replied. “Is that a wine?” So, we ended up having a nice discussion with Arnold, who explained as best he could why he thought it was the way it is as he poured us a healthy $12.00 shot of one of the dozen or so predictable big brand spirits that we have all been conditioned to recognize for the convenience and profit of the corporate machine.

            Apparently the original owners of “The Paris Hotel” did offer real French aperitifs along with the fake French ambience, but the subsequent owners figured that not many of the mostly American tourists would either recognize or miss the real thing and it was probably a good way to increase profits while taking advantage of the trained and limited expectations of the typical tourist appetite. Oh well, C’est la vie, I thought, that’s just “good business.”

            I don’t mean to imply that some of the dishes were not tasty and good at the fake Paris buffet where we ate - they were. It is just that most of what we saw and tasted had little to do with the real French cuisine that we knew. We imagined that the original owners of The Paris Hotel had hired real quality French consultants, but perhaps each time the property changed hands more of the authentic French chefs were let go until each and every chef was replaced with a local “food server.” In fact our attempts to speak French to the staff resulted in one of the servers giggling and telling us that no one on the staff that she was aware of understood any French. While this little culinary food farce was kind of amusing it served as a reminder that the “real Las Vegas" if I can use that oxymoron is all about fantasy and dreams. If you come here for a “real” Las Vegas experience it is best to check your sense of reality as well as your moral taste expectations at the door. The city and the culture of Las Vegas is simply a mirage in the desert, “Disney for Big Kids,” as they say. As long as one doesn’t expect anything more, he or she will have lots o fun and won’t be disappointed.