Alcohol Drinks

Absolut’s Newest ‘Out & Open’ Initiative Looks to Bring Awareness and Support to LGBTQ Bars

LGBTQ bars and restaurants have been a safe haven for many. Absolut Vodka, a longtime supporter of Pride Month, is looking to help better support these businesses via its ‘Out & Open’ campaign. 

The initiative taps voices like actor and comedian Bowen Yang of Saturday Night Live to highlight the impact of these businesses. It looks to bring awareness to their plight as they face a steady decline in the industry by partnering with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), with a significant contribution towards succession planning education for these establishments and other LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

An audio-visual series, led by photographer Bronson Farr, launched Out & Open on by bringing to life real stories from inside the walls of these vital spaces.  In the series, members of the LGBTQ community share their stories and highlight the role that LGBTQ bars have played, and continue to play, in their lives. In a ‘Love Letter’ to New York City LGBTQ bar Eastern Bloc, Yang says, “LGBTQ bars are monuments to our past, venues for the present and gateways to our future.”

“Certain places have a hold on you from the moment you walk through their doors the people, the energy, the possibilities. This is especially true for members of the LGBTQ community like myself,” said Bowen Yang. “These bars simultaneously hold our history and our future, bringing people of all walks of life together in celebration of each other.”

To highlight the importance of protecting the future of LGBTQ bars and restaurants, Absolut partnered with the NGLCC to make the organization’s training programs around succession planning more accessible to more LGBTQ business owners. Only 34% of small business owners have succession plans, and of that less than 24% are in the bar and restaurant industry, according to research conducted in 2016 by the NGLCC.

The succession trainings, hosted by NGLCC subject matter experts, will take place in cities such as Minneapolis, New Orleans and Denver, among other cities as well as virtually.  LGBTQ business owners can register on the NGLCC website on a first-come-first-serve basis to learn how they can protect the future of their business so they can continue to provide a safe space to their communities.

Recent studies have shown that LGBTQ bar listings have declined by 15.1% between 2019 and Spring 2021, on the heels of a 14.4% decline between 2017 and 2019. While these closures have been exacerbated by the pandemic, a number of factors have driven this steady decline, including gentrification, technology and a lack of the succession planning that prevents these spaces from staying out and open for the next generation. 

However, despite being especially vulnerable to closures, these spaces are vital for the LGBTQ community. Whether providing a space for belonging, freedom and acceptance, serving as hubs for activism and fundraisers, or serving as a source for networking, resources and employment, these bars and restaurants exist at the center of the community and Absolut is committed to advocating for them to remain Out & Open.

Absolut’s long standing support of the LGBTQ community is made most visible by its Pride bottle, having featured Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag since 2008, and just released its new design. The rainbow flag represents the range of voices that make up the LGBTQ community, celebrating unity in diversity, much like Out & Open. 

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Rita Ora and Absolut Vodka Give Fans A Voice With The Open Mic Project

Absolut Vodka recently celebrated its latest global campaign, Create a Better Tomorrow, Tonight, with the launch of The Open Mic Project.  Designed in partnership with pop star Rita Ora, this initiative provides a musical platform for amplifying and uniting voices across the country as a part of the brand’s larger mission of using creativity as a force for positive change and inspiring action.

The project will feature real stories of acceptance from fans, friends, and followers – including Ora’s personal story. Throughout the submission period – from October 11, 2017 through December 1, 2017 – Ora will use these stories to inspire a new song, as a step toward creating an environment in which all people feel valued and respected.

“As a refugee, I know firsthand how isolating it can feel to be misrepresented in the face of adversity,” said Ora via a statement. “I’m excited to join Absolut with The Open Mic Project because we’re using music as a way to bring people together. From sharing my own story to spotlighting others, we’re bringing the issue of acceptance to a global stage and changing today’s current chat to be more inclusive.”

“At Absolut, we believe that tomorrow’s change is a result of today’s action, and action starts when voices unite,” added Nick Guastaferro, Director of Marketing, Absolut, Pernod Ricard USA. “With The Open Mic Project, Absolut is once again tapping into its inclusive heritage to bring people together– from sharing quality cocktails to facilitating meaningful conversations – to refresh the talk and inspire a more inclusive world for everyone, everywhere.”

In January, Ora will debut the new song in conjunction with Absolut’s exclusive spirits sponsorship of the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

Alcohol Drinks What's New

For The First Time In Years, Absolut Vodka Adds A New Flavor: LIME


Absolut Vodka just announced the addition of their first new flavor in four years. Joining the brand’s iconic citrus lineup will be Absolut Lime, a flavor that will stand side-by-side with Absolut Citron and Absolut Mandrin.

The new vodka, like its predecessors, was created to lay the foundation to many cocktails with its dynamic and complex citrus flavoring. According to Absolut, the vodka will go with pretty much anything one will garnish with a lime.

As for us, we’ve been on a martini kick for quite a while. Might try to grab a bottle and practice making some at home. Y’know, grown up stuff.

Absolut’s new vodka is now available nationwide for about $19.99 (750mL) and $24.99 (1L) at participating grocery store locations and alcohol retailers.

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What I Learned From Making A Martini For The First Time


Ah, the James Bond cliche: “Shaken, not stirred.”

It’s always the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a vodka martini.

I have to admit, I had never tried a martini before this experience. It always sounded like the drink of someone more sophisticated than myself — a cool uncle, or even the CEO of a company. Not a twenty-something fast food writer in a pizza-themed T-shirt and shorts.

Before I get into how a single beverage changed my outlook on ordering drinks, here are the basics of a vodka martini:

The cocktail features a brand of vodka and vermouth (an aromatized wine), some olive juice (or pearl onions in brine), and a twist of a citrus peel. The components are then chilled and combined either by shaking or stirring it.


On a recent trip to Sweden, I got to visit a gorgeous town called Ahus, a town most likely known best for its Absolut Elyx vodka distillery. I got to tour the distillery myself while there, during which, I was led to a copper room where master bartender Nick Strangeway made me a martini.

It was my first martini and it was kinda awesome.

Before this trip, I was pretty much a beer kind of guy. Give me a nice, cold pale lager with some hot wings and I’m a happy dude. Heck, I’ll even try a few simple cocktails you’d find at the bar of a restaurant chain if I was in the mood. The point was, I preferred drinks that were straightforward and easy to order.

I never had to customize a drink order before, like I did with a vodka martini.

Do I have it shaken? Will I like it stirred? What kind of vermouth would I use? Cocktail onions or olives? Lemon or orange twist?

Those questions led to the beauty of making my first martini. It could be anything I wanted, according to Nick.

He then asked me to come up to the bar and make my own.


After a quick tutorial and a brief introduction to the ingredients, I was then diving headfirst into my inaugural attempt at making a martini .

Before starting, I sniffed my way through a collection of vermouths. Always being drawn to the fruitier notes, I picked Lillet.

It was a whirlwind at first, trying to remember all the steps I had decided were simple enough to follow during the introduction. I took a breath and played it through it in my head. Here we go:

One part ice, one part Absolut Elyx, a bit of vermouth, let’s get some olive juice in there, and we’re gonna finish with an orange twist. Finally, garnish with the olive.


I stared down at the martini I made with my own to hands. Picking it up, my stomach was in the same knots I got from getting a test back in elementary school. In the moment of truth, I put the glass up to my lips and took a sip.

Holy shit. It wasn’t bad.

As I finished my cocktail, a wave of relief rushed through my being. I was unfettered from the notion that only ruggedly handsome spies and movie stars are allowed to drink martinis.


What I learned from making my first one was that it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be and I wasn’t limited to a single way to make the cocktail. Now, I wouldn’t have to confine myself to novelty drinks and beer just to stay in my comfort zone.

Consequently, the next time I go out, I can confidently order the drink; exactly the way I like it, and sound much cooler than I actually am.


Top 6 Food News Stories This Week

The first week of June proved to be just as spicy as the weather was warm in regards to food news. Someone found a unique way to use Sriracha, Mario Batali revealed his true sentiments about his departure from the popular Iron Chef television series and there was a handful of news tied to the celebration of National Donut Day back on June 1st.

Here’s a look at the top 6 stories from the past week:

1. Sprayracha — The Game Changing Way to Use Sriracha

It’s now becoming a little known fact that Sriracha is one of the most popular ways to spice up your dish, ever. This week, the most buzzworthy piece of news didn’t come from a big name brand, or a bacon wrapped pig — it was one lone foodie’s addition of a spray nozzle and hopes of getting some even, spicy coverage on their food.


2. Mario Batali Left Iron Chef Due to ‘Skinny Little Actresses’

Mario Batali seems to be a recent focus of media attention. Some think him pompous, others shower him with praise — but don’t put a skinny little actress in the judge’s panel to comment on his cooking. He. Will. Rip. Her. Another.


3. Pizza Hut launches P’Zolos, Essentially Fancy Hot Pockets

News of Pizza Hut stuffing their ingredients into long-formed calzones was apparently very buzzworthy this week. The first citing on the official Pizza Hut website showed up late May, but word of mouth stayed strong into the early weeks of June — subsequently making it one of the top stories of the week.


4. NYC Food Truck Launches a ‘Douche Burger’ That Costs $666

Regardless of how tacky or ‘douchey’ it may seem, putting a batch of expensive ingredients on a burger — regardless of how it tastes — is definitely a way to get on the news. To top it off, they’re charging $666 for it. Oh yeah, it’s also coming off of a food truck. Fancy Shmancy.


 5. Subway restaurants testing a line of nachos

Not what you’d expect from Subway, the chain is using some of their non-traditional store fronts to test a line of Subway Nachos. Some folks have reacted quite positively, foaming at the mouth at cheese sauce drizzled over Nacho Cheese-flavored Doritos and topped with jalapenos. Others think it’s lazy, disgusting and not the caliber they expected from Subway. Either way, people are talking about it — so it made the cut for the top stories of the week.


6. Spirits Maker Launches a Glazed Donut-flavored Vodka

Eco-friendly spirit brand Vodka 360 launched a well-timed Glazed Donut-flavored vodka this past June 1st, which coincidentally was National Donut Day. The combination of celebrating donuts on June 1st along with the trend of flavored-alcohol usually is well received amongst Foodbeast readers.



Iconic Alcohol Brands Re-imagined As Milk Cartons

German designer and subsequent foodie visionary Jorn has taken iconic alcoholic brands and reimagined them as milk cartons. The question he poses his audience is (roughly translated), “How would products of great brands of alcoholic spirits look like, if they were packed in cartons instead of their prominent beverage bottles?” The question posed is poignant, and Jorn’s execution is clean and fun, materializing the actual idea into three beautifully delivered samples.

Of course, we’re completely disregarding the logistics involved with actually having alcohol in cartons for extended periods of time, but let’s bask in the glory of the now:


Absolut Vodka: "No Label" Edition


Banking on the branding of the bottle itself, Absolut Vodka has brought forth a “No Label” edition of their popular vodka. The company’s latest branding: “In An ABSOLUT World, There Are No Labels” is in full effect with this new product. Through this new initiative, the brand is challenging labels and prejudice to make the world more diverse, vibrant and respectful. A naked bottle, no label, tons of attitude. Available August 24th via the colette online store. (Thx Hypebeast)