When Life Gives You Apples, Make Vodka
In a vodka-saturated market, it can be tough to stand out. However, that's exactly what Sauvage—a distillery and farm known for producing handcrafted, fruit-based wines—has endeavored to do with its newest product, Upstate Vodka. Produced in Oneonta, New York, this all-natural vodka is made from apples harvested in New York state, but isn't apple-flavored. At 90 proof, it also has a higher ABV than many other vodkas. Though vodka hasn't been my go-to spirit in some time, I was intrigued when I was asked to review Upstate by Suavage. I was also excited to find out whether it would taste like the flavored vodkas favored by those who enjoy shots, the more subtle ones that are easily sipped alone, or the stronger ones used in craft cocktails. With few primer notes (other than the fact that it recently won a gold medal at the Denver International Spirits Competition), I was totally left to my olfactory senses and my taste buds.
The Sniff:The initial whiff of Upstate Vodka presented a sweet aroma, like fresh Granny Smith and McIntosh apples. A longer inhale revealed notes of honeysuckle, fresh-cut grass and black pepper. There was eventually the expected scent of alcohol, but it was never overpowering. So, it was generally pleasant and made me really want a taste.
The Sip:I definitely tasted the essence of apples on the front end, but that flavor gives way to a creamy mouthfeel and more neutral flavor. The sweetness was light, and lacked the syrup-like thickness or intense, artificial taste found in many flavored vodkas. The typical vodka burn definitely hit the back of my tongue, but it didn't ruin the experience.
The Verdict on Upstate Vodka by Suavage:Upstate Vodka's complex flavor profile gives it a place among sipping vodkas—especially on the rocks. I can also see it tasting great in a vodka & soda. Though it doesn't lend itself to dirty martinis or savory cocktails, it could complement cocktails that feature cider, ginger, caramel or cinnamon. It would also work well in an upgrade to the apple martini, but only if you skip the green liqueur and add a homemade version made with freshly pressed apple juice. I'd recommend it to vodka adventurists, but I'm not so sure if it works for purists.
The Shoes N Booze Squad would love to know your thoughts. Would you try Upstate Vodka at your local bar? Would you like to see cocktail recipes featuring Upstate Vodka here? Let us know!
*We were compensated for this review.
Becoming Style Goals in Balenciaga
First, a moment of silence for each of us who were completely SLAYED when we saw what Michelle Obama wore for the Brooklyn installment of her "Becoming" book tour. Now that we've gathered ourselves, can we discuss the BOOTS. Cardi B might like "those Balenciagas, the ones that look like socks," but our #FOREVERFLOTUS is clearly into the ones that indicate she's living her life like it's golden (and iridescent).
Balenciaga sent brightly colored satin renditions of its over-the-knee "Knife" boots down runways a few seasons ago (and we have seen lower-cost options in popular fast-fashion stores since). However, done in shimmering, iridescent gold sequins (and on the legs of our life muse), the thigh-high stretch boots that could almost be mistaken for tights are now beyond iconic. Kudos to her stylist, Meredith Koop. We love the tonal pairing of the Aspen yellow shirtdress from Balenciaga's S'19 collection. Feel like forking over $3900? Get your pair HERE. Otherwise, see below for a few ways to channel THE Michelle LaVaughn Obama's style.
Can We Get a Window Seat?
We clearly have holiday travel on the brain. We recently suggested shoes that make the TSA line more bearable, and now we're giving you the scoop on how middle-seat fliers can potentially get their seats upgraded by Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer.
The brand recently announced that from today until December 14th it's "bringing fun to the un-fun" by spending up to $50,000 on upgrades for adult travelers with a middle seat ticket on a U. S. direct, non-stop flight taking place between December 17, 2018 and January 31, 2019. To enter, hopeful travelers just have to share their seat assignments (securely) via SmirnoffSeltzerUpgrade.com. A panel of judges will then decide which entrants are most deserving of seat upgrades of $3,125 or less.
“The holidays are the best. Traveling for the holidays though…the worst,” said Krista Kiisk, Brand Director, Smirnoff Seltzer. “We believe that there is an opportunity for fun in any moment, whether it’s finding delicious flavor in a drink that contains zero sugar or embracing the chaos of holiday travel. Smirnoff Seltzer’s holiday campaign and commitment to spend up to $50,000 to rescue as many people as possible from the misery of the middle seat is helping people find that fun.”
So, do your travel plans deserve a #funofakind upgrade? Click below.
*Remeber to enjoy responsibly.
Stay Fly on the Fly
'Tis the season to be trippin' (literally for many, mentally for some), and many of us will be hitting the road for the various holidays between now and the end of the year. Whether you're heading home or escaping it, one thing is certain- you do NOT need any extra stress while traveling. And we do NOT need to see ONE MORE PERSON holding up the security line at the airport because they're fumbling with boots or shoelaces. Also, who else is over seeing socks + pool slides worn as fashion? There are a few who can still make it look good, but we'd like everyone else to give it a rest. OK. Rant over. Now for our suggested style solutions. Think comfort, convenience AND cute/cool factor.
Just when we thought furry mules were starting to look a little tired, United Nude introduced one in a commanding shade of blue with a contrasting low, architectural heel (buy HERE). Mules get double points because they're not only airport-approved, but also great for those attending gatherings at shoes-off houses. No time (or desire) for a pre-trip pedicure? Here's your chance to experiment with fun socks.
Slip-on sneakers are a go-to for us. They're comfortable, versatile and high on our convenience scale. This PVC pair from Melissa has the look of a lace-up flatform with the ease of a slip-on, plus the added bonus of being rain-friendly. Buy HERE.
Smoking Slippers that Shine
There's something about smoking slippers... they exude casual elegance. They say the wearer has class but also a sense of humor- especially if they're bejeweled. Katy Perry Collection's Turner is a dazzling option, especially if you're heading straight from your travels to the dinner table. Buy HERE.
The original smart shoe, the oxford has long represented sartorial intelligence and utility. This "Walkable" style from Nine West continues that tradition with a pointed cap toe and studs where laces would normally go. Inner elastic inserts mean you can slip them off and back on in a snap. It's available in a number of colors, but this high-shine pewter is our favorite. (Snag a pair HERE. We hear they're on sale.)
Tricked-Out Chelsea Boots
Chelsea boots have been around for ages, but they stepped to the forefront of fashion a few years ago and have managed not to fade back to the fringes. The "Hold On" boot from Azalea Wang upgrades the standard style with studs and rhinestones. The elastic gores on the sides make them easy to remove and then put back on with only one hand (though reviews say they have a narrow fit, so consider going a half size above your norm). Snag them at Akira.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, SNB may earn a commission.
Snake your Booties
We're smitten with all the snakeprint shoes out this season, especially the black and white (or cream) ones. What was once an affinity became more of an obsession when we gave you guys the scoop on block-heel ankle boots Kristin Cavallari wore this summer. Now there are SO many more options. and they run the gamut from low to high and stiletto to block heeled--not to mention the embellishments. Here are a mere few of the pairs we're currently craving:
Just Bead It
A quintessential silhouette-- the pointed-toe, stiletto-heeled bootie-- now with an extra does of cool, thanks to metal beads along the sole. This "Worthy" ankle boot from Steve Madden (available via Amazon for $139.95) complements ripped vintage jeans, a folkloric maxi dress or something sleek and metallic. The key is to play around with prints and proportions.
Have a Moment of Transparency
It's a boot. Or is it a sandal? It almost looks like both (although, we advise you not to call it a "Shandalboot," lest you cause a scandal by stealing Tracee Ellis Ross's term for her favorite Stella Hues boots). However, this "Snake Away" bootie from Nasty Gal ($70) is actually an ankle boot with a mesh front. Rock this style barefoot, or go wild with sparkly socks (and please show us if you do).
Find a Unique Angle
One thing is clear- the perspex trend in footwear is still holding strong. If you're not into maintaining your pedicure when it's chilly out, but you still want to dip your toe into the trend, consider this "Turnaround" bootie from Ego Shoes ($56.99). It's clear wedge gives it the illusion of a gravity-defying feat.
Try a Dab of Ranch
Jeffrey Campbell ($185). With a pointed toe, slanted block heel and elasticized gore for slipping on and off, it's a lotta bit country and a little bit rock and roll. But really, it makes us want to jam to "Pony" by Ginuwine.
When the day calls for flats, we fancy this buckled bootie by Qupid (Available via ASOS for $51). Small studs accent the straps for extra edge. Wear these now with kick-flare trousers and a turtle neck, then bring them back out for the grunge takeover that's headed our way.