Few too many skulls

EIGHT STATEMENT BOTTLES

...Absolutely, categorically not hanging on any kind of wall. That way heartache lies. Behold, the bombastic bottles of hooch available in Brum stores, that'll lift your drinks cabinet from the dull to the dazzling / worrying.  
Crystal Head Vodka
Based on legendary Mayan artefacts and not the childhood-ruining Indiana Jones movie, it won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and was developed by actor Dan Aykroyd when he couldn’t find a vodka pure enough for his tastes. Filtered seven times (because six is never enough) through Herkimer diamonds, this is serious vodka-making territory.

Walk in an buy: Loki Price: £46.99
Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé, Vik Muniz Edition
Name rolls off the tongue, right? This limited edition bottle was designed by acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz who conceived a hummingbird alongside the Perrier-Jouët anemone that has graced every Belle Epoque bottle for over a century. The design's clear glass allows the wine’s salmon hue to offset Muniz’s scene.

Walk in an buy: Harvey Nichols 
Price: £200
MAHIKI
Seasonally, we must admit, we couldn't be much further from the sunshine drinks that might warrant a red coconut rum, but this tag team product of London nightspot Mahiki and spirits giant Diageo is a big fat guilty pleasure of ours. Stick it in a coke for a lazy livener, or add it to a well made piña colada whilst weeping, uncontrollably for Summer. 

Walk in an buy: Selfridges 
Price: £29.99
KAH
No longer the post-midnight fuel of the slammed and damned, tequila is now a cocktail must and a sipping spirit in its own right. Aged in French oak casks, and bottled at the highest strength possible, this Reposado offers flavours of coconut, vanilla, cooked agave, caramel and savoury spice. Sold in 50ml measures they sell añejo (black bottle) and blanco (white bottle) too. 

Walk in an buy: Selfridges 
Price: £12.99
Absolut, Andy Warhol Edition
Following on from past collaborations with Tom Ford, Versace, Stella McCartney and Gaultier, Absolut have tied up with The Andy Warhol Foundation to celebrate this work of art from the pop art legend, from back in 1985. Interestingly, although Warhol never usually drank alcohol, he did use Absolut as a perfume. Best not to try that, to be honest. 
Walk in an buy: Harvey Nichols 
Price: £23.50
GREAT OUTBACK 
Australian whisky (no, we didn't know either) is enjoying something of a purple patch right now with Tasmanian-made Sullivan's Cove French Oak Cask winning the World Whiskies Award for the world's best single malt. Neighbouring Cawsey Menck distillery make Great Outback with its brilliantly colloquial spring cap and flat, hip flask shape. Very cool. Painfully pricey. 
Walk in an buy: Hard To Find Whisky 
Price: £149.99
D1 Gin
To complete a hat-trick of skulls in an increasingly dark feature is locally-made D1 gin, which took Langley Green master distillers two years to perfect. The bottle is designed by Jacky Tsai, of
floral skull fame, with the gin made from an infusion of nettles. Best drank with mint, expect citrus with a splodge (that's the technical term) of blackcurrant. 
Walk in an buy: Harvey Nichols 
Price: £46.99
Chivas Regal by Vivienne Westwood
It's the age old problem, isn't it? You have exactly £425 spare and a punk-loving, whisky aficionado's birthday on the way and you have no idea what to get them. Relax. English fashion Goddess Vivienne Westwood has dressed a limited edition release of 18-year-old Chivas Regal in a three-piece coat, with her trademark union flag design. That should see you right. 
Walk in an buy: Harvey Nichols 
Price: £425

WE ALSO DO FAMILY MEDIATIONS 
 

Because we live to make you look good - and maybe a little bit because the Rep has just released tickets for its ram-packed Spring/Summer season - here’s our 100-word guide to solving your most painful Christmas conundrums. For Him: You give us socks. We raise you Olivier Award-winning West End comedy Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsensewith Robert Webb (Peep Show etc). For Her: You give us perfume, we trump you with Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca (pictured) which hits the stage mid-April and allows the ladies in your life the chance to stop making excuses for their inability to finish the novel. For you all: The King’s Speech with Jason Donovan who looks particularly ace in this here promo picture. You're welcome.

ALL VISITORS REPORT TO THE SITE OFFICE
 

Are you on the inside? Or is that why you keep us around? Either way, Birmingham is harbouring a deliciously stylish password-only pop-up and it’s packed to its plentiful and exposed wooden rafters with a spirit offering to make even its industry-insider crowd keep coming back. A smattering of Chesterfields in candle-lit cavities, corners and cubby-holes keeps the thinkers and pontificators among the guest list-only clientele occupied, while guest DJs keep revellers busy until a tad past our bedtime. But where has The Site Office been all of my adult life we hear you silent-screaming? Well - we can’t tell you that - but we can tell you that if you 'like' and generally stalk its Facebook page, we’ve heard rumours of some colossal nights to see out 2014. Welcome to the inside.

MOVIE PICK: GET ON UP


Sure, The Hunger Games is the week’s major release, but it’s in essence a feature-length trailer for next year’s conclusion. Studio Lionsgate is making mugs of fans by splitting the third book across two films, resulting in an eventless and dull first entry. But hey, if you fancy encouraging this ugly trend, it’s your money. Far more spritely is Get On Up, a sprawling biopic of funk icon James Brown that has energy galore. It may never get around the clichés of the spate of recent music biopics, but up-and-comer Chadwick Boseman is phenomenal as Brown, and the soundtrack has pizzazz to burn. A lengthy recreation of Brown's Paris performance, when he was at his peak, is worth your ticket alone.

VODOU: WHO DO?


Are Christmas jingles making you want to do bad things to good people already? We sympathise, really we do and we've got a constructive suggestion for you too. Pianist Bobby Avey is a big deal in the jazz world and on December 5 he'll be bringing his latest suite grounded in rhythms found in Haitian Vodou drumming ceremonies, yeh - you heard us, to Berkley Street’s CBSO Centre. Presented by Beat City, Bobby's tour and album of the same name - Authority Melts For Me - is inspired by Haiti's slave insurrection and subsequent revolution. And while we're not totally up on our Haitian history, we challenge you to get less Christmassy than that! Tickets available here.
Venue: Bare Bones Pizza, street food trader; barebonespizza.co.uk 
Choice: Pepperoni, n'duja Italian sausage and buffalo mozzarella (£6)
Chooser: Trader

Tell you what's depressingly hard to find in Brum: Incredible pizza. Not just good pizza, but memorable, crispy, authentic pizza. Bare Bones made us smile. It's so good. Cooked to a point where the buffalo mozzarella had bubbled and bound with the n'duja and pepperoni juice, but taken out of their wood-fired oven before any danger of over doing it, this is affordable, filling and flavoursome food that leaves you wishing they weren't wandering around the city from event to event, and had their own pizzeria from which to tickle Brum tums. Still, they've got the next best thing with this regularly updated find us webpage. Plus, they've only been going seven months so who knows? Give it seven more and they may have their own place. Oh-please-oh-please.
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"I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know." - James Brown
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew LowryTom Cullen, Danny Smith
ADDRESS: I CHOOSE Birmingham, Office 211, 43 Temple Row, Birmingham, B2 5LS

Copyright © 2014 Birmingham Publishing Group Ltd, All rights reserved.


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