RUBY healthy Hibiscus Water

My daughter first turned me on to hibiscus water last year. She would brew and make a big bottle to drink. What she likes about hibiscus water is that It’s super hydrating and offers health benefits. It’s the first beverage she drinks in the morning.

Recently I had the opportunity to try Ruby –– a line of zero sugar, zero-calorie, organic, fair-trade hibiscus water. I had my daughter do a taste test with me to see if it was as good as the hibiscus water that she drank.


Ruby was created by Noah Wunsch, an ex-Sotheby’s Global Head of eCommerce guy, and also once an executive at The Paris Review. Since he has a ravenous sweet tooth, he needed to tackle it to remain healthy. Ruby is the first Hibiscus-only Hibiscus water promoting a healthy body. It’s mild in taste, curbs sugar cravings and is a super hydrator, known to lower blood pressure, promote healthy skin and metabolism. 

Ruby comes in Unsweetened and Lightly Sweetened with shelf-stability and no additives. It retails for $3.99 for a 10oz bottle or $45 for a 12-pack with free shipping. You can purchase online one time only or a monthly subscription with a 10% disc.

After tasting Ruby, my daughter exclaimed “It’s very good.” The unsweetened has in 0g sugar, 0 calories, and is organic, gluten-free, plant-based, and kosher. It’s a water alternative that offers a boost of antioxidants, vitamins and electrolytes. The tasting notes include red fruits such as ripe cranberries, dried cherries, tart pomegranate, and green apple.

The lightly sweetened Ruby has only 4g of organic cane sugar and 15 calories. It’s a perfect starting point for those seeking to wean off sugar. It’s tasting notes offered juicy red berries and cherries, light pomegranate, and fuji apple.


Ahead of its official release on March 15, 2021, Ruby already made a pop culture debut in HBO’s Euphoria in an intimate scene with Zendaya. Additionally, Ruby commissioned Berlin-based artist Sharmilla Banerjee who created wondrous illustrations for the Rubyverse, the whimsical and colorful world of Ruby – inspired by travel, outer space, and the California radical art movement.

Now available at Whole Foods Market Northeast locations along with Amazon Prime, over 100 external locations in the U.S., and direct-to-consumer on ruby.fun.

7 Innovative Beverages in 2021

Volley arrived on liquor shelves in 2020, as the first widely available sugar-free tequila seltzer. Built from just three ingredients—100% blue weber agave spirit, sparkling water, and organic juice—it’s healthier alternative to many of the sweet canned cocktails entering the market. With a 5.25% ABV, it offers less calories per can than a serving of vodka.

It debuts in four flavors: Zesty Lime,  Spicy Ginger ,  Sharp Grapefruit and  Tropical Mango. Absent of artificial additives and flavorings, the effervescent liquid has earthy and herbaceous characteristics of the agave spirit. Purchase in four-packs, either in single flavor option or a variety of all four. The packs are set to retail at $12 on shelves in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Or $14 online, from where they’ll ship by way of 3rd party retailer to anywhere in the US.

 Caribbrew coffee offers a jolt of flavorful aroma from its Haitian coffee or cocoa. The socially-conscious company pays tribute to its culture by offering an exclusive line of Haitian products with the bountiful flavors and rich aromas of Haiti, a purveyor of some of the finest blends in the world. Enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa as well as coffee-based skincare products that are premium single-origin and direct trade. Feel good and know that this black-owned brand with Haitian roots is making a social impact one cup at a time. All Caribbrew products are cruelty-free, vegan, and handmade with the best ingredients. As the brand likes to say, their coffee keeps you woke by sourcing responsibly, creating opportunities for everyone in their supply chain, and keeping you pleasantly awake on a busy day!

Cutwater Spirits transports you into a vacation state of mind while sipping their new Tequila Margarita or Tiki Rum Mai Tai in a can. It’s a tropical paradise of flavors with a blend of Cutwater Barrel-aged Rum and Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum. These two rums are mixed with pineapple, citrus and coconut flavors to provide a refreshing cocktail that can be poured over ice or sip from a chilled can.  2020 Gold winner at San Diego Spirit & Cocktail Competition 2020: Best of ClassTiki Rum Mai Tai won a 2020 GOLD Denver International Spirits.

Three Hermits is dedicated to creating products with natural, time-tested ingredients to empower wellness and happiness. The little shots have 100% ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS that include Turmeric a “Functional Food” defined by the Mayo Clinic as “foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.” Nirgundi is a common ingredient in various healing sciences. It is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory which is effective in treating headaches, and other ailments. Cinnamon is derived from the stem of the cinnamomum tree and helps lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity and slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp blood sugar rises after a meal.

Simple Goodness Sisters’ Syrups The Spritz farm produces fresh, small batch drink syrups by sisters Belinda and Venise. One is a bartender and the other is a farmer on a 10 acre farm in Buckley, WA. Together they make syrups using whole fruit, fresh herbs and organic can sugar. Add to sparkling water or your favorite spirit for extra goodness.

Jaf Tea Each batch begins in the beautiful highlands of Sri Lanka where the unique agricultural climate results in 365 days of peak growth and teas that range from robust and full-bodied to floral and delicate. Keep your pantry stocked with delicious fresh teas this winter. At JAF Tea, they’ve spent the last 75 years perfecting the art of tea cultivation, and now they are the maker of the world’s purest single origin Ceylon Teas available affordably around the globe. From there the leaves are hand-plucked, thoroughly taste tested, and packaged locally to not only preserve the freshness of the leaves, but to also support the growers and their communities. JAF Tea’s unique gift sets are available on Amazon for under $20.This item contains an assortment of 8 exciting fruit flavored black teas – 10 Tea Bags from each: Forest Fruit – Bursting with lusciously ripe wild berry flavors and enhanced with real forest fruit pieces, expertly blended with our premium Ceylon black tea. Blueberry Delight – All the juicy tang of ripe blueberries with the delicate sweetness of real cherry pieces gently fused with our specially selected Ceylon tea. Pink Grapefruit – Packed with the zingy, zesty flavors of ripe and juicy citrus, perfectly combined with our fine Ceylon tea. Sunny Lemon – An invigorating blend of sun-ripened sweetness with the zesty tang of real lemon peel, infused into our superb Ceylon tea. Peach Orchard – Savor the delicately perfumed, sweet flavor of freshly picked peaches, infused into our outstanding Ceylon tea. Passion Fruit – A luscious balance of vibrantly sweet and tangy fruit flavors, expertly fused with our superior Ceylon tea. Creamy Soursop – Creamy and comforting with the rich, tropical taste of exotic soursop, sweetly fused with our prized Ceylon tea blend and Mango Banana – All the tropical sweetness of ripe mango with the smooth, mellow taste of banana, married together with our exquisite Ceylon tea blend.

Drink Droplet is a sparkling, stress-balancing adaptogen drink made in Los Angeles with whole prebiotic fruit puree juices, alkaline water, coconut nectar, Himalayan pink sea salt, organic adaptogens, and aromatherapeutic superfoods. Developed by an all-female team of designers and food scientists, Droplet draws from scientifically-backed plant magic to help you fight stress and feel balanced. Flavors include pretty happy infused with passion fruit + cacao + vanilla bean + rhodiola to boost mood, sharpen focus, fight fatigue. pretty balanced offers white peach + lemon verbena + moringa + ashwagandha to calm and balance, nourish and recover. pretty bright offers yuzu citrus + ginger + reishi mushroom to boost immunity, revitalize, and rejuvenate.

Vide Beverages for a Sparkling Holiday

Photo by Jill Weinlein

This holiday season instead of hiring a bartender to make festive cocktails to serve with your holiday appetizers or meals, pop open a ready-to-drink VIDE Beverage canned cranberry or watermelon flavored vodka soda. 

One can is 5% ABV, 99 calories, gluten-free and contains zero sugar and zero carbs. They make great stocking stuffers for your favorite 21+-year-old on your holiday gift-giving list.

Courtesy of VIDE

Founded in 2019 by two college friends, Ryan Laverty and Sal Campisi, these entrepreneurs in their 20s noticed a gap in the ready-to-drink product market. They made VIDE with real vodka distilled 6 times, instead of using ‘malt’ or ‘sugar beer’ products made by some of the other spiked seltzer companies.

Their vision was to deliver clean ingredients to the modern, health-conscious drinker in a convenient recyclable can. 

Courtesy of VIDE

With their success of this vodka soda line, Ryan and Sal have big plans to expand the VIDE line with a new fundraising round for new products and more hires in 2020 and 2021. Recently they announced that the former Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo joined the VIDE team as creative director and investor alongside David Adelman, CEO of Darco Capital.

Culpo’s successful career includes modeling, acting, philanthropy and entrepreneurial endeavors. The Rhode Island native co-owns the acclaimed Back 40 restaurant and is impressed by VIDE’s rapid growth in the competitive canned cocktail space. 

“I grew up in the restaurant business and have always been passionate about the sense of community built around amazing food and drink. It’s a part of my DNA and what I associate with companionship and making memories with friends and family,” says Culpo. “After opening our family restaurant, The Back40, I knew I needed to do more in the hospitality space which is why I am so happy to have discovered VIDE. It is a high quality and health-conscious beverage which is exactly what I’ve been looking for in the hard seltzer space. I am so excited to work with Ryan and Sal to continue to grow this amazing business.”

Courtesy of VIDE Instagram

David Adelman, the CEO of Darco Capital, will work closely with Ryan and Sal to oversee the next round of financing. 

When Adelman met the dynamic duo, he knew they had a winning formula. “Their ability to bring an elevated elegance to this rapidly growing beverage category through a commitment to a healthy formula and high-quality ingredients shows a fundamental understanding of modern-day consumer values,” said Adelman

Sal said in an interview, “Olivia perfectly aligns with our brand. We’re so excited that she shares the same vision Ryan and I have had since we started this. We’re humbled to have Olivia and David on our team as business partners.”

VIDE is priced at $11.99 for a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans and can be shipped to over 40 states

This review was also featured in JustLuxe.

10 Summer Beverages to Enjoy at Home

It’s summertime and due to COVID-19 many will continue to stay more at home than go out during the summer. I received a variety of beverages to try and review in time for Father’s Day and the beginning of summer.

Here are 10 of my favorites for sipping in the backyard, taking on a social distance picnic, or enjoying during a weekend brunch.

1. Cutwater Spirits transports you into a vacation state of mind while sipping their new Tiki Rum Mai Tai in a can. It’s a tropical paradise of flavors with a blend of Cutwater Barrel-aged Rum and Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum. These two rums are mixed with pineapple, citrus and coconut flavors to provide a refreshing cocktail that can be poured over ice or sip from a chilled can. Tiki Rum Mai Tai won a 2020 GOLD Denver International Spirits. (It’s tastes like Hawaii in a can. This is a 12.5% ABV Mai Tai, so sometimes I dilute it with a sparkling water).

IMG_9212-22.Dads who love Bloody Marys on the weekend can make their own exotic concoction with Cutwater Sprits Fugu Vodka Spicy Bloody Mary It’s a Bloody Mary with a fiery bite. Just pour a can filled with Cutwater Spirits signature Vodka and our award-winning Bloody Mary mix. The flavor profile includes fresh ripe tomatoes, exotic spices and a generous sprinkle of pepper. Pour the 12 oz can in a jar glass, and add garnishes such as a celery stalk, skewers of cherry tomatoes, olives and gherkin pickles. For an extra special Bloody add a crispy slice of Applewood Smoked Bacon to absorb the zesty cocktail. (This Bloody Mary packs a punch in spiciness. I add ice to the glass and let it melt a little to soften the zesty kick with every sip).IMG_83813. Since Father’s Day is on Sunday, June 21, serve the World’s Greatest Father and family members 21+ Ohza Mimosas in a can. One 12-pack is equivalent to four champagne bottles of bubbly and a full juice carton. These mimosas are as good or better than making your own. Inside a 12 oz can is premium sparkling wine and real fruit juice, yet  80% less sugar and 60% less calories. (I love these mimosas and bellinis. They are sparkling, fun to drink and perfect to serve during Sunday Brunch).IMG_8159-24. Give dad a Crystal Head Vodka skull for Father’s Day. It’s distilled quadruple times and filtered seven times, with the final three filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals makes this vodka easy drinking. It’s slightly sweet, silky smooth, and offers a hint of vanilla. Plus the eye-catching bottle is designed by world-renowned American portrait artist and landscape painter John Alexander. His work is featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Corcoran Museum and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. (Fun Fact: Actor and SNL Comedian Dan Aykroyd makes this vodka. He makes a beautiful rainbow colored bottle during PRIDE month).IMG_72565. For the tequila loving Dad, QUI Tequila offers a slight essence of hazelnut, vanilla and butterscotch characteristics. It’s a smooth and sophisticated tequila, not the type to down quickly with salt and a lime,” said Pete Girgis, president and co-founder of QUI. This spirit is named from the heart of the word te-QUI-la. They take the blue agave plants and discard the heads and tails, only using the juice of the heart. (This tequila is smooth and similar to a fine Scotch to sip slowly).34707FF1-D205-4C14-9CF1-E938335736DF6. The quintessential summer wine to sip during the day and weekend brunch is Domaine Houchart Cotes De Provence Rose served chilled. It’s an ideal summer wine to drink offering beautiful salmon color highlights, with hints of red berry and strawberry flavors. Notes of pear and peach, with a touch of goji berry and grapefruit give this wine an extra flair. Winning the TOP 100 BEST BUYS award in 2018 & 2019, Domain Houchart is a family owned 200-acre estate with 10 grape varieties located in Provence at the foot of Mount St. Victoire. The estate produces 55% rose’, 40% red and 5% white wines. (If you like Rose’ wine, you will love this one chilled and served with brunch fare or a charcuterie plate).IMG_74377. Canned cocktails crafted with Rogue Spirits are available for Father’s Day and this summer for home delivery or you can purchase it on shelves at Whole Foods. Rogue Spirits begins with two spirits – Rogue Bayfront Vodka and Rogue Spirits Gin. The vodka is the base for the Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda, Grapefruit Vodka Soda and Ginger Lime Vodka Mule. Rogue Spirits Gin is the base for the Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz. Go to buy.rogue.com for dad and family to enjoy. (These are refreshing, fruity and fun to drink).IMG_73248. Hard Ciders are the rage, especially an icy cold one during the summer. Austin Eastciders hard cider and spiked seltzers is lower in sugar and calories. It’s made with real cider apples that are sourced from Europe. These are rich in tannins and offer more complex flavors. With an alcohol by volume at 5%, these ciders contain about two-thirds less sugar than others. Plus they are gluten-free and certified kosher. (Popping open a can of Texas Honey Cider, I noticed a floral aroma and bubbly crispness. Taking a sip, the flavors include a hint of apple, and touch of Texas honey, cane sugar and brown sugar to produce a creamy caramel finish). 214917C9-BB93-435F-98E1-B09BD4E0FB589. GoKo Energy Drinks are excellent non-alcohol drinks and make a great cocktail mixer. They add natural flavor, a boost of energy and a sparkling kick to any mixed drink. GoKo Energy Sparkling Coconut Water Ginger & Lime makes a great Moscow Mule. Measure out three ounces of your favorite vodka (or any clear spirit will do) into a copper mug; add ice; then stir in GoKo Energy Sparkling Coconut Water Ginger & Lime. Squeeze a lime wedge and use as garnish to finish. (My friend Jeff makes these caffeinated beverages. Some are a little to sweet for my palate to drink alone, but as a mixer, these are dynamite).Screen Shot 2020-06-11 at 8.21.34 AM
10. Pali Wine is a Lompoc-based winery, along the iconic Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County. This ultra-high-quality wines sells bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rose’ and Syrah at a fair prices. It employs environmentally friendly wine grape growing, and non-invasive winemaking practices. (Pali has tasting rooms that are a lot of fun to visit, especially in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone).

Justin Bieber helps launch Liquid I.V.’s “Yummy” flavor

When Liquid I.V. approached me to try some samples of their newest hydration and electrolyte drink mix, I agreed. Then when I learned that Justin Beiber and his wife Hailey are investors in the El Segundo based wellness company, I was curious as to why they joined the LIV Group team.

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I learned Scooter Braun and CEO Brandin Cohen, approached Bieber and his team in 2019. The Bieber’s liked how Liquid I.V., fuels and hydrates athletes, travelers and wellness seekers. The product also gives back to people in need of water around the world. Together they thought his mega-hit new song “Yummy” would be a good match with their new refreshing flavor Guava Hibiscus flavor.

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They worked on product packaging to create excitement with a splash of light pink and melting darker pink bubble gum font lettering.

When it arrived on my door it provided a sense of cheerful fun, especially during the isolation of staying #saferathome for months due to the coronavirus.

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Inside were 16 hydration sticks (Retail for $24.47 or $1.52 a stick) to create a fruity cellular transport beverage that delivers hydration rapidly into the bloodstream. Each packet hydrates 2-3 times faster than water alone.

They also included a logo face mask, stickers and acrylic tumbler with a straw.

 

 

Macallan Whiskey Tasting at Hotel Bel-Air

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Kieron Elliott is a dynamic Brand Ambassador for Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey. He has a delightful Scottish accent and wicked sense of humor. For 90 minutes, Elliott enlightened and educated us about five different Macallan spirits.

Here are 10 Things I learned about smelling, sipping and chewing whiskey –

1. The Macallan gives back to those in need. In 2010, they commissioned Lalique to make an exquisite decanter and filled it with Macallan’s 64-year-old single malt Scotch. It sold for $460,000 at auction. The Macallan donated all the money to Charity: water – a non-profit that digs wells and bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Another wonderful bottle of The Macallan sold to a collector in Taipei, Taiwan for over $628,000. Again, every penny was donated to charity.

2. Never swirl whiskey. You will look like a novice. Oenophiles swirl wine, Scotch drinkers don’t agitate the spirit.

IMG_92823. Macallan 12-year-old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is not one to put your nose in the glass. Instead hold the glass under your chin to smell its glory. Color: The medium mahogany color is due to the Spanish-Sherry cask. Once you sip, take a bite and chew to break down the oils and alcohol. Taste: It has a bigger burn of alcohol. Flavor: Rich caramel and toffee flavors with a hint of raisins and cinnamon. This is the youngest whiskey we tasted.

4. All of Macallan’s whiskey is 100% natural color. There are no additives.

IMG_92835. Macallan 15-year-old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is Triple Cask matured. It’s a marriage of two American Oak with a Spanish-Sherry cask. Color:  Lighter with a rich straw color. Taste: Once you get past the burn, it’s more elegant in the back. Flavor:  More citrus and vanilla in flavor and more similar to Bourbon with a whiter grain. This whiskey was softer on the nose and offered a warmer mouthfeel. 

IMG_92846. The Macallan Fine Oak Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey 17-year-old is matured in a unique complex combination of Bourbon and Sherry Oak casks. We were lucky to taste this bottle, because it is being discontinued. Within the next six months, it will be gone. It used to sell retail for $140 – $150 a bottle, now it’s $200 – $210. Ideal for collectors to buy. Taste: Oily, meaty and chewy. Color: Darker than the 15-year whiskey, because it stayed in the Sherry cask longer. Flavor: Citrus and vanilla, warmer, bigger and more robust. The 17 has a sweet spot.

7. When drinking whiskey, you should raise your glass and say – Slàinte mhath! Which in Scottish means: To good health!

IMG_92858. The Macallan 18-year-old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey matured in selected Sherry Oak Casks from Jerez, Spain. “This is the Rock Star of Whiskey,” said Elliott. It’s similar to the 12-year-old, yet the 18-year-old is very well known. Taking a sniff you get a lovely toffee. Flavor: Caramel with ginger notes. Color: Rich mahogany.  Taste: Smooth. It’s good to chew five times to break down the oils.

IMG_92869. The Macallan Rare Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is made by Master Whiskey maker Bob Dalgarno who handpicks from less than 1% of the finest casks from 250,000 casks, to mature this whiskey. It’s the richest, rarest, and most exquisite whiskey profile. Color: Ruby hue. Flavor: Sweetness with a chocolate infused with orange. Taste: Easy on the mouthfeel.

This sells for $350 a bottle and pairs nicely with desserts. Wolfgang Puck Hotel Bel-Air pastry chefs made a lovely molten chocolate with gold flecks and apple tart Tatin to enjoy with this luscious whiskey. Another lovely dessert to pair with this whiskey is Sticky Toffee Pudding.

IMG_927910. Kieron Elliott’s younger sister is also a whiskey aficionado. In fact, Joy is a Brand Ambassador for Macallan and one of the Top 10 Women in Whiskey. Also, according to her brother Kieron, “Executive Chef Thomas Keller is a big fan of my sister.”

Once you meet the entertaining Kieron Elliott and join him in a Macallan Tasting session, you will have a new appreciation of Scotch Whiskey and be a big fan of whiskey too.

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