Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEXT GINeration Cocktail Challenge

Recently, New Amsterdam gin delivered an unbelievable social media cocktail challenge. It was held at The Back room in NYC and as a rarity for social media, they wanted to hear from us and see what we can do beside typing away at the computer writing the reviews!

As I walked into the speakeasy themed lounge, I was greeted with some fresh and yummy New Amsterdam cocktails from the attentive and friendly staff. I was then Interviewed about the upcoming competition, spoke to the New Amsterdam team and then the games began!

It was about a dozen of us bloggers, journalist, and such competing for the best cocktail to be featured on their new Face Book cocktail list! We had all fresh juices, fruits, syrups, herbs, and anything else you can think of to go into a great summery style gin cocktail.

We had 10 minutes to create something FANTASTIC along with naming it and giving a brief story about the cocktail! Pressure....uh...a little!

Miss Selena Ricks of the Dizzy Fizz won first place along with a catered cocktail party for 10 of her friends! Her cocktail was called the Green Market Smash, which consisted of muddled Basil, fresh juices, elderflower liqueur, and liquid-fied honey. I gotta say that it was tasty!

After this experience, I have to take my cloche off and thank New Amsterdam gin for thinking about the media and treating us swell! I had a blast and learned a whole lot more about this great American citrus'y and light on the Juniper soft gin.

Carmen Operetta

Photo credits: New Amsterdam gin

For cocktail recipes and more info check out my Examiner page:
New Amsterdam gin:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dita Von Teese+Cointreau heating up Tales next month!

Dita Von Teese and Cointreau Turn Up the Heat at Tales of the Cocktail

Cointreau Muse to Open World’s Leading Cocktail Festival with Seductive “Be Cointreauversial” Performance at The House of Blues

Cointreau and Dita Von Teese are bringing a taste of Hollywood glamour to Tales of the Cocktail! The French spirits brand will host the opening performance for the famed cocktail festival with Dita Von Teese performing her sultry “Be Cointreauversial” burlesque act as well as other notable performances at The House of Blues. For the first time ever, New Orleans natives and cocktail enthusiasts will experience Dita’s mesmerizing “Be Cointreauversial” performance, as well as her signature cocktail, the Cointreau Teese, and other classic cocktails such as the Cointreau Cosmopolitan and Cointreau Original Margarita.

While Dita Von Teese has served as muse and International Brand Ambassadress for Cointreau since 2007, this is the first time that the burlesque beauty will perform the “Be Cointreauversial” show in New Orleans, and there is no better moment than the opening of Tales of the Cocktail. An International style icon, Dita Von Teese will bring a new level of style and glamour to the country’s leading cocktail celebration. Itself the birthplace of burlesque, New Orleans, or more specifically, the French Quarter is the ideal location for the raven-haired beauty’s ”Be Cointreauversial” debut, and The House of Blues is the perfect venue to host this Cointreauversial performance.

"I'm very excited to bring my "Be Cointreauversial" burlesque show to New Orleans for Tales of a Cocktail,” says Dita Von Teese, “New Orleans has a rich history in burlesque... it's a unique and sensual city that I've always loved, so I'm thrilled to make a return at last with the New Orleans' debut of one of my favorite shows!"

On Monday, July 19th and Tuesday, July 20th, Dita Von Teese will take New Orleans by storm with her thrilling “Be Cointreauversial” performance. Guests will enjoy Cointreau cocktails and wait in anticipation while being treated to a bevy of special guests, including Mr. Murray Hill, priming them for Dita Von Teese’s arrival. Following the opening performances, attendees will be wowed as Dita Von Teese bathes in a life size Cointreau glass, embellished with Swarovski crystals. Dita Von Teese’s extraordinary performance will certainly set the bar high for the rest of the week’s events at Tales of the Cocktail.

Dita Von Teese displays a certain irreverence, spiritedness and je-ne-sais-quoi that exemplify Cointreau’s “Be Cointreauversial” brand mantra. The paradoxes inherent in Cointreau: a soft edge that clouds upon contact with ice; a delicate taste that explodes in the mouth, followed by a well-tempered tone also reflect a spirit with “Cointreauversial” character.

“We’re ecstatic that Cointreau will be bringing Dita Von Teese’s “Be Cointreauversial” performance to Tales of the Cocktail this year,” says Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail, “Her performance will be the perfect beginning to what is sure to be an exciting week; and what better way to start the festivities than with Cointreau cocktails?”

Dita Von Teese will be performing at the House of Blues, located at 225 Decatur Street in New Orleans, LA, on July 19th and July 20th. The doors will open at 8pm, with the performances beginning at 9pm each evening. Tickets will be available for purchase at 10am CST on Friday, June 19th at,,, and at the House of Blues box office. The House of Blues box office may also be reached at 504-310-4999.

About Cointreau

Created more than 150 years ago in Angers, in the French Loire Valley, Cointreau is one of the world’s most famous crystal clear spirits. Cointreau’s distinctive amber square-shaped bottle is a global icon, and its subtle taste is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet orange peels grown and meticulously selected for their quality. An essential ingredient in the Cosmopolitan and other top shelf cocktails, such as the Sidecar and Cointreaupolitan, it is best known as being a key ingredient in the most popular cocktail in the US the Original Margarita. In 1948, socialite Margarita Sames combined Cointreau, tequila and lime to create the original margarita. Its versatility, defined by its capacity to combine the richness of its flavors and aroma, make it a perfect choice neat or on ice.

Today, more than 13 million Cointreau bottles are sold worldwide and Cointreau remains the authentic choice of many top bartenders in the smartest and most fashionable bars.

About Dita Von Teese
Renowned worldwide for her astounding performances featuring her elaborate signature props and opulent costumes, Dita Von Teese is the international queen of Burlesque and a muse to fashion designers worldwide. With the ability to bring pin-up imagery to life, Dita allows admirers to relive the golden age of femme fatales and glamour girls, while gracing the pages of fashion magazines and starring in events held around the world.

About Tales of the Cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail is an internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture held annually in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event brings together the best and brightest of the cocktail community—award‐winning mixologists, authors, bartenders, chefs and designers—for a five‐day celebration of the history and artistry of making drinks. Each year offers a spirited series of dinners, demos, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours and parties all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made.

Live Cointreauversially. Drink Responsibly.
©2010 Cointreau Corp. COINTREAU® Liqueur. 40% alc./vol. Imported by Rémy Cointreau USA, Inc. New York, NY. BE COINTREAUVERSIAL®.

Photo credit: Cointreau

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Honest McGee's batch 1+2 review

There's a new NYC whisky blender in town and Keith Allison has two batches in the making! Honest McGee is a blended American whisky, which consist of Rittenhouse (rye), Ancient Ancient Age(bourbon), and Elmer T. Lee(bourbon).

The first batch was finished in an Amontillado sherry cask (right after the wine). Barreled in 8/09 and bottled on 10/09.

The second batch was a refill of the same cherry cask and was barreled in 12/09 and bottled on 3/10. The ABV is unknown, but I have some tasting notes for both of the batches.

Batch 1:

Color- Deep, rich, dark caramel

Nose-pure sweetness of honey, caramel, vanilla, and sherbert

Palate-Creme Brulee and sweet chocolate

When I added a little room temperature distilled water to the whisky, the nose on it became like creamy berries and then tasted much calmer. This quick finish was smooth and silky.

Batch 2:

Color-The same deep rich color

Nose-Burnt citrus, raisins, brown sugar, molasses,honey, and vanilla

Palate-Soft, silky,smooth,mellow,blueberries,cranberries,and with a medium very tarty raspberry finish

Batch2(room temp distilled water):

May I say that this blended whisky delighted my senses even more when the water was added!

Nose-Spicy, red peppers, light hickory

Palate-Very citrus'y(orange) with a light heat to the finish...interesting

Batch2(1 ice cube):

Nose: Buttery and sugary

Palate:Syrupy, lighter with the citrus, and a sweet short finish

Wrap up:

Honest McGee is a great American blended whisky that has a lot to offer. The different dynamics it brings when you drink it neat, chilled or just a few drops of water will satisfy almost any blended whisky drinker's palate.

Honest McGee is also great with any whisky based cocktail that involves it being served on the rocks such as a Mint Julep. Honest McGee's is an easy to drink spirit and will go down deliciously on these upcoming hot sizzling days/nights!


Carmen Operetta

**Photo credit:Ellie Tam

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Carmen Operetta's moratorium is over folks!

Ok, Let me be honest. It's been 4 months since I've posted a blog that wasn't a media release for the industry. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that and I'll continue to post them as I see fit to my blogs interest. Let me be clear, and state that writing takes a lot of time and effort for me, due to the fact that I'm not the best typist, nor a journalist, or an editor. I don't aim to be one of them, but I do enjoy posting my experiences as I make my way through this industry.

It all started a little over one year ago from this month. I've established my production company, I've created and copy written my 1st of 5 TV shows for the spirits industry, I've networked immensely with my now constitutes(in such a short amount of time), put together a small production team, traveled to various international distilleries, and now I'm in the last leg of my initial race!

The past 4 months has been a roller coaster ride that was enjoyable, but also made me develop into a stronger business woman. I've gain additional courage, strength and matured considerably along the way. I would like to call that quarter period of this year, "my growing pains".

I would like to announce that I'm beginning private speech presentation classes, finishing my web page and trademark logo(I'll keep you posted on that). Lastly, I'm attempting to complete this arduous task of a business plan. It's a lot of work and has kept me from beginning several projects that I can't wait to start!

Also, I thank you for your patience and I really do appreciate everyone from the PR firms, marketing companies, and fellow blogger's who has continued to support me and invite me to events as media, even though I wasn't projecting much.

To everyone who has checked in on my page to see what's the happenings on Miss Carmen Operetta, thank you. At last, I would like to thank the readers who has met me out and about at events or elsewhere and told me that you support me and you can't wait until my blog gets back up and running with my antics/capers to report!

Well wait no longer folks, I'm back and stay tuned!

Carmen O.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Woodford Reserve Belmont Breeze will serve as Official Drink of Belmont Stakes

Louisville, KY – Woodford Reserve®, one of America’s fastest growing bourbons, is proud to return as a sponsor of the 142nd running of the Belmont Stakes® on Saturday, June 5 at Belmont Park® in Elmont, NY. Woodford Reserve will serve as the “Official Bourbon of the Belmont Stakes” for 2010.

Woodford Reserve will also sponsor the race immediately preceding the running of the Belmont Stakes. Named the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap, the 1 1/4th mile turf race carries a purse of $400,000 and is for three-year-olds and up. The Manhattan Handicap was inaugurated at Jerome Park in 1872 and is named after the principal borough of New York City.

“Woodford Reserve is proud to partner with Belmont Park and a distinguished race such as the Manhattan Handicap,” said Wayne Rose brand director for Woodford Reserve. “As the only bourbon distillery to have its own stable of race horses, we are proud to be associated with another superior group of Thoroughbreds.”

Woodford Reserve will also toast race day with the Belmont Breeze, the Official Drink of Belmont Park and the Belmont Stakes.

Woodford Reserve Belmont Breeze

Official Cocktail of the Belmont Stakes

1 ½ oz. Woodford Reserve

2 oz. Lemonade

1 oz. Pomegranate juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or cherry.

Fans will be able to purchase a Woodford Reserve Belmont Breeze at the Food Festival Spirits Tent located in the backyard, the 2nd and 3rd floor clubhouse as well as the 2nd floor grandstand.

Hal Handel, NYRA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, said, “Woodford Reserve is a premium brand with strong commitment to the thoroughbred industry. This partnership is a perfect fit. We are very pleased to be able to offer our patrons access to Woodford Reserve’s first-class bourbon.”

Belmont Park

Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, is the home of the third leg of horse racing's storied Triple Crown and one of three racetracks operated by The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA). NYRA also operates Aqueduct Racetrack and Saratoga Race Course. Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York’s three major tracks through 2033, NYRA boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state’s thoroughbred business which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State’s urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2009, more than 1.6 million people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring nationwide off-track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races alone totals more than $9.3 million every race day. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including,, and

About Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve, the “Official Bourbon of the Belmont Stakes”, is crafted at the historic Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky - the heart of thoroughbred country.

Woodford Reserve is one of the fine spirits produced and marketed by the Brown-Forman Corporation. For 140 years, Brown-Forman has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands. The company’s brands are supported by nearly 4,000 employees and sold in approximately 135 countries worldwide. For more information about the company, please visit, and for more information on Woodford Reserve visit Please enjoy your bourbon responsibly.

Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 45.2% Alc. by Vol., The Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, KY ©2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kentucky Derby 2011 artist needed for the new commorative bottle!


Consumers will have chance to submit artwork to be featured on 2011 Kentucky Derby bottle

Louisville, Ky (June 2, 2010) – For the past 23 years, the Early Times Mint Julep has proudly served as the “Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby® ” with a commemorative artwork bottle released for the past 12 years. Early Times is now looking for the next artist whose work will grace the 2011 Early Times Mint Julep bottle with the “Early Times Mint Julep Bottle Artist Search” contest.

For 11 of the 12 commemorative bottles, the paintings of the inimitable Celeste Susany have graced the bottle. 2010 marks her final year with her masterwork entitled “A Golden Moment” featuring the field of contenders galloping along the back stretch while the twin spires stand majestically in the background.

With 2010 marking Susany’s final year of doing the artwork for the commemorative bottle, Early Times is giving consumers the opportunity to submit their own, original artwork for the chance to be featured on the 2011 Kentucky Derby bottle. Consumers can log on to to submit their “What Derby Means to Me” artwork, as well as to see official rules and contest details. The winner will win a VIP trip for two to the 2011 Kentucky Derby, $5,000 in cash, along with having their artwork featured on the 2011 Early Times Mint Julep bottle.

“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to do the artwork for the Early Times Mint Julep bottle for the past 11 years,” added Susany. “It’s time to give another artist the chance to have their work displayed for horse racing fans to collect and enjoy.”

All entries must be received by June 30, 2010 to be considered. Entrants will be judged on the originality, creativity and overall quality of the artwork.

About Early Times Kentucky Whisky:

Early Times Kentucky Whisky, 40% ABV, is the “Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby” made at the Brown-Forman Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Early Times Kentucky Whisky is one of the fine spirits produced and marketed by Brown-Forman Corporation, a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Tequila Herradura, el Jimador Tequila, Woodford Reserve, Canadian Mist, Old Forester, Fetzer Wines and Korbel California Champagnes. Early Times reminds you to drink responsibly. For more information on Early Times Kentucky Whisky visit

About Churchill Downs®:

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2010 and the Kentucky Oaks on April 30, 2010. The track will conduct its 2010 Spring Meet from Saturday, April 24, through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

Churchill Downs®, Kentucky Derby® and the Twin Spires design are registered trademarks of Churchill Downs Incorporated.