Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Introducing I Spirit, The Original Italian Vodka

With a classic recipe, a timeless vision and style known the world over, four Italian tastemakers have released the original Italian vodka: I Spirit. Created in partnership between famed restaurateur Arrigo Cipriani (proprietor of Harry's Bar), the enterprising Lapo Elkann of FIAT family fame, Friulian distiller Marco Fantinel and Venetian entrepreneur Francesco Cosulich, I Spirit Vodka is the essence of culture, taste and Italian flavors from yesterday and today.

“Our families have combined the best Italian ingredients and traditional distilling techniques to create I Spirit Vodka,” said Arrigo Cipriani. “The vodka category has not seen anything like this yet. With interest in ‘La Cucina Italiana’ at an all-time high, we see this as the perfect time to introduce the tradition of a fine Italian spirit to the U.S. market.”

The history of I Spirit Vodka suggests that this vodka isn't just a new product of Italy, but the revitalization of a long lost story.

Legend has it that one November night in 1195 in Venice, Andrea ‘T.’ known as il Bianco (the White One), a rich landowner and alchemist, announced in the village inn that, due to his experiments and “that generous land of fabulous grapes,” he had finally discovered the “elixir of long life.” From that night on, il Bianco's castle became the favorite haunt of lords, rulers, artists and churchmen, all eager to try the new spirit. After il Bianco's death, interest in the ‘elixir of long life’ waned and the tale of his spirit was lost among the inns of the Veneto region.

Moving ahead nearly 740 years to Venice, Ernest Hemingway is spending time at Harry's Bar. There are two things Hemingway loves above all else at Harry's: tasting Italian distilled alcohol with Giuseppe Cipriani, and the tales and anecdotes they share throughout their drinking time together. The tale Hemingway finds most incredible is that of il Bianco, told while taking long sips of vodka made by a local farmer. At the end of the tale, it is said that Hemingway jumps to his feet and declares to Giuseppe, “A toast to the genius who made it up! An absurd vision, as absurd as the idea of Italian vodka!” And they down their glasses at once. It was then, in 1934, that Giuseppe Martini first distilled I Spirit Vodka with the advice of Hemingway.

Fast forward to 2009 in that same bar where Hemingway enjoyed his vodka. Arrigo Cipriani and Lapo Elkann − two Italians with a global outlook − get together and revive the myth of Italian vodka. They raise a toast to a true distillate of culture, bottled and ready to set sail from Venice's Lido toward foreign shores.

Scoring an impressive 91 at their first tasting competition, the prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York, I Spirit Vodka is looking forward to a fast start in the U.S. To help accelerate the launch, I Spirit Vodka has brought on Cesare Martini to serve as U.S. brand manager. Cesare's great-grandfather Alessandro Martini (of Martini & Rossi) invented the original vodka martini over a half century ago. “I Spirit Vodka is the perfect expression of vodka for my great-grandfather's renowned cocktail recipe,” said Cesare. “I am proud to represent I Spirit Vodka here in the United States, and know that it will make its mark here as it has in Europe.”

I Spirit Vodka is created by distilling the highest quality grains and the best white grapes from Fruili, an area world-famous for its DOC-certified wines. Distilled five times, the alcohol is reduced to 40% ABV by adding spring water from the Dolomites, which is filtered through activated carbon to achieve absolute purity. The vodka is then chilled to 18 degrees and filtered one final time. The result: I Spirit Vodka.

I Spirit is a traditional recipe from the northeastern region of Italy. The palette is a bright crystal, with elegance on the nose. The flavor is warm and velvety, reminiscent of the ingredients from which it is made.

I Spirit can be served neat, over ice, or in an array of cocktails. It is perfectly matched with fresh Italian-grown produce, such as basil, cherry tomatoes or wild berries. It has a suggested retail price of $34.99 for a 750 ml bottle, or $39.99 for a 1 liter bottle.

Find I Spirit Vodka at the hottest New York and New Jersey bars and restaurants, including all Cipriani Restaurants (also at Mr. C in Hollywood), 90 Acres (the first restaurant to carry I Spirit), Maialino, Gramercy Tavern, The Modern Bar, Provocateur at the Gansevoort, Bar Italia, Gary's Wine Market and online at and

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