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Foodporn Tue May 26 2009
Not to be outdone by the food, many beverage companies also had interesting products at this year's National Restaurant Association Show:
Smokin' cocktails. Give your cocktail an other-worldly feeling with Mistystix, a patent-pending cocktail stirrer that has a capsule for food grade dry ice. Put a small amount of dry ice in the capsule, click it shut, and insert it into your cocktail. The ice carbonates and cools down the beverage and lasts for anywhere from 3-8 minutes. These aren't yet on the market, but I wouldn't be surprised if you started seeing them in clubs soon.
Drink vinegar? Yep! Several Korean manufacturers got together to create one big Korean pavilion to showcase their products. One company had drinking vinegars for sampling, but they didn't seem to be really selling them. Still, if you're in a Korean market, look for these. I had a pomegranate flavored one that was really refreshing and fruity without being super-sweet.
Pair your meal with soda instead. Dry Soda is a line of naturally flavored sodas made with fruit, flower, and herb extracts that are designed to be paired with food or used as cocktail mixers. I tried a few flavors including lavender and vanilla bean, the latter of which tastes like a lighter vanilla creme soda. Cucumber is launching soon. You can find these in Whole Foods, other natural stores, and in the Wild Harvest aisle at Jewel.
Or drink a soda from Wine Country. Made from unfermented wine juice and sparkling water, Vignette Wine Country Sodas are not as sweet as your average grape juice. They come in three flavors: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rose, and are really quite refreshing. You can find them at Marion Street Market in Oak Park; Fox & Obel has also been known to carry them. The company's targeting upscale retail and restaurants, so it may be in other locations too.
Water for a cause. When you buy Project 7 water, locally sourced water that's purified by reverse osmosis (which sounds to me like purified bottled tap water), you help one of seven cause areas that Project 7 deemed important to helping the world. The company makes a minimum $15,000 donation to each of the seven causes every year. In making their product, Project 7 has tried to find ways to use less energy and help the environment. They also make gum, which you can buy at Whole Foods. Get the water online for now--it'll be rolled out nationally soon.
Restaurant-bottled water. I believe I saw a couple of booths that had fountain systems that poured both still and sparkling water. Natura Water is one of these companies. Restaurants buy the Natura system, which carbon filters water and purifies it in a three-step process. The system comes with reusable bottles, which allows the restaurant to bottle their own water to sell to patrons, instead of trying to sell a premium bottled water. The system was pretty interesting--restaurants can even control the amount of bubbles in the sparkling water. Look for it at graham elliot.
Drink your pie. Travis Hasse, a bartender from Madison, WI, created an apple pie liqueur so popular that he decided to bottle it. This Apple Pie Liqueur has been out since last September and is in Illinois, but not yet in Wisconsin. Dangerously good, it can be drunk as a shot or used as a topping for apple pie a la mode. Hasse has other pie cordials in the works.
Not just for the ladies. Speaking of dangerous drinks, there's a new sparkling liqueur on the market called Nuvo. It's French vodka blended with sparkling wine, and the result goes down pretty smooth. Yes, it's bright pink, but Ludacris and L'il Wayne apparently drink it, so looks aren't everything.