Every spirit is singular in its own way, none more so than vodka — for while we like our drinks to have tastes and smells, basic vodka has neither. In fact, U.S. federal regulations define vodka as a spirit “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.” Or, as defined by one Russian vodka enthusiast: “Vodka is not tasteless; it merely lacks flavor.”
But wait. Aside from vodkas whose labels tell us they are flavored with cherry, vanilla, raspberry, citrus or other additions, there are the subtle, elusive natural flavors found in pure super-premium vodka.
Vodka is distilled once from grains or potatoes in large continuous stills, run through charcoal to purify it and blended with water to cut the alcohol. Super-premium vodka, on the other hand, is made of higher quality grains, distilled in small copper stills several times, filtered through finer charcoal and reduced with special waters.
While Poland and Russia have been making vodka for a millennium, the rest of the world discovered it about 60 years ago. With its rakish charm, aura of elegance and ability to mix with anything, it quickly became the basis of the Moscow mule, bloody mary, screwdriver, salty dog and dozens of other drinks. Next, it took over where gin and whiskey once reigned, becoming the vodka martini, vodka Gibson, vodka Collins and vodka sour. It was all vodka all the way.
And then super-premium vodka hit the market. With its added refinements, it is smoother and silkier, with the subtlest hint of scent, flavor and individual character.
Among the highlights of the super-premium vodkas are Poland’s Belvedere, with its puff of vanilla, and the same distiller’s velvety Chopin. Russia sends us Stolichnaya Cristall, hinting of delicate floral aromas. Italy’s Mezzaluna is silken purity with a brush stroke of orange blossoms. Holland’s Ketel One is satiny and lightly floral. Add to them Canada’s Iceberg, California’s Charbay, Sweden’s Absolut, Holland’s Vox, Norway’s Christiania, Idaho’s Teton Glacier, Ireland’s Boru and France’s gossamer Grey Goose.
No surprise that price rises with quality. Regular vodka averages about $12 to $15. Super-premium costs $20 to $45. One taste will tell you why.
The world’s first and highest 360-degree infinity pool will open in Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. One of the region’s most anticipated attractions, AURA SKYPOOL will begin welcoming guests in mid-November.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Airplane travel evokes a lot of emotions these days: excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and nervousness, just to name a few. But when you do take to the skies again, the giddiness of getting pampered at 35,000 feet can most certainly wash away the surrealness of the past year and a half — at least for the duration of a long- haul flight — as you sip Champagne and slip your feet into plush slippers. While some global airlines have paused or pushed back plans for upgrades and refreshes to their premium cabins, others have introduced exciting changes that await in your pod or lie-flat bed in first and business classes. What’s more, amenities like privacy screens, sliding suite doors and space to spread out all serve a dual purpose as methods to luxuriate in the air while keeping social distance. Here are some nice- ties to expect now and in the near future, from retrofitted seat configurations to updated décor to Michelin-starred meals:
United Airlines is making international travel more accessible. United announced the largest trans-Atlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new destinations including Amman (AMM), Jordan; Bergen (BGO), Norway; Azores (PDL), Portugal; Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Spain; and Tenerife (TFS) in the Spanish Canary Islands. All new routes, set to begin in spring 2022, are not served by any other North American carrier.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Galataport Istanbul, a new cruise and lifestyle destination on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, welcomed its first ship, SeaDream II, on Oct. 1. Approximately 150 passengers and crew from Bulgaria Varna arrived at 10 a.m. for a two-day homeport operation before continuing to Bulgaria Burgaz.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Walker Hotel Tribeca is blushing pink with an exclusive offer benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Throughout the month, guests can book an all-pink guestroom, among additional amenities.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
Insight Vacations, Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland are offering the chance to win a free trip to Ireland for two, valued at $6,000. Oct. 18–22, The Road to Ireland contest page will be updated daily with a new clue and question that contestants will need to answer for a chance to win a trip for two on Insight’s Country Roads of Ireland tour in 2022. Contestants have until 11:59 p.m. PST Oct. 29 to submit answers.