January 2012

Resolutions You Can Drink

By: David Gadd

Adam Kamenstein knows a thing or two about resolutions. The founder of Voli Vodka is a former district attorney and highly successful federal prosecutor. When he moved into private law practice in Los Angeles after years of public service, he soon resolved to quit his “day job” to create something of lasting value, starting from scratch. After months of due diligence on the vodka category and a year and a half of formulation work on the recipe, Voli was launched in the winter of 2010—the world’s first low-calorie vodka line.

Voli Raspberry Cocoa Fusion is the low-calorie base for the Sultry Red, a limited-edition cocktail at brand new nightspot 1 OAK Las Vegas.
As we enter a new year, Voli brings that same spirit of resolution to cocktails for health-conscious consumers, both on- and off-premise. The brand’s “Resolutionary” ad campaign plays on Voli’s ability to deliver flavor without high alcohol or high calorie content.

“We wanted introduce a product that was tasty enough on its own that you don’t have to add sugary mixers,” says Kamenstein. “Voli is phenomenal just on the rocks. It’s 60 proof, not 80 proof, and that makes it smoother, more approachable—no rubbing alcohol burn.” The moderate proof also allows for better taste with the addition of less natural flavoring, further reducing the calorie count.

Strong Consumer Expectations

In addition to pure Voli Lyte (soon to be renamed Voli Original), the natural flavors in the portfolio include suave Espresso Vanilla Fusion, indulgent Raspberry Cocoa Fusion, haunting Orange Vanilla Fusion (which will bring back the Creamsicles of your youth) and zesty Lemon. The vodkas are crafted in France’s Cognac region, where Kamenstein and his team eventually found the quality level they were looking for.

“The low-calorie trend has been developing over the past 30 to 40 years in the U.S.—every food category has one,” notes Kamenstein, who obviously did his homework before entering the spirits marketplace. “Voli is meeting a strong consumer expectation in two ways—the demand for low-cal and the demand for flavor.” Kamenstein puts Voli’s resolve succinctly: “We are not another vodka; we are another category.”

After a year as a self-sufficient brand, Voli was contacted in mid-2010 by Palm Bay International. After the win-win deal was inked, Voli launched with the highly respected supplier in the spring of 2011. In just five markets at the outset, Voli has soared to distribution in 44 markets over the final seven months of last year, and the brand also has international distribution in Latin America and Asia.

Viral Enthusiasm

“Growth has been fantastic,” beams Kamenstein, who has seen first-hand that trial converts customers. The brand has held more than a thousand intimate off-premise tastings (where legal) across the U.S., and can boast phenomenal success on-premise as well (see sidebars).
“I knew at our debut [at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival] that we had nailed it,” relates Kamenstein. “Two things stood out: first of all, the intensity of the enthusiasm, and second, the fact that people would come back with their friends to taste it again. The enthusiasm spreads virally.”
Resolutions are easy to make but often hard to keep. With its winning combination of high flavor and low calories, Voli is intent on making 2012 a year of kept promises.


Voli at 1 OAK, Las Vegas

Vegas is known for hedonism, but that doesn’t mean a night on the Strip has to be unhealthy. Voli is the low-calorie vodka elect at new hotspot 1 OAK Las Vegas, located at The Mirage, where jetsetters, tourists, local party people, celebrities, models, musicians and more congregate to drink, party and chill-out in an intimate and exclusive atmosphere. The new venue is a partnership between Vegas-based hospitality development and management firm The Light Group and New York–based nightlife moguls The Butter Group.

At nightclub 1 OAK in Las Vegas, Paul Zahn (left), Voli’s Western Division Brand Manager, displays the entire Voli Vodka lineup for Emilio Tiburcio, multi-award-winning Corporate Mixologist for The Light Group.

“Having a low-cal vodka in 1 OAK will be appealing to our wide variety of patrons and is a great alternative to the standard, high-calorie vodkas that are sold at every other club,” says Scott Soriano, co-founder of 1 OAK. The iridescent Sultry Red cocktail, made with Voli Raspberry-Cocoa Fusion, embodies the seductive vibe of the new club, with its sensual surface materials and low lighting that’s made for romance.

“My cocktails are always full of lush colors, rich textures and unsurpassed flavor,” says Emilio Tiburcio, multi-award-winning Corporate Mixologist for The Light Group and member of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG), Las Vegas Chapter. “All of my creations are fashioned using my heart and soul—simply put, combining both visual and sensory delight . . . art in a glass.”
Sultry Red
•2 oz. Voli Raspberry Cocoa Fusion
• 2 raspberries
• 2 blackberries
• 1 oz. apple cider
• ¼ oz. maple syrup
• extra raspberry and blackberry
for garnish
• In a mixer glass muddle the berries with the maple syrup. Add the Voli Raspberry Cocoa Fusion with ice and shake. Double strained in to a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a raspberry and a blackberry.



Voli at Tonic, New York City

Randolph Hernandez, Director of Marketing and Events at Tonic.

New York’s Times Square is the reference point for New Year’s Eve. This year, as the big ball dropped, Voli was the exclusive vodka being served at one of the famed intersection’s busiest nightlife venues, Tonic, just as international recording artist, Pitbull, an owner of Voli, was performing in Times Square before millions. An upscale sports bar with a difference, Tonic’s Times Square location has a restaurant setting on the second floor and a lounge on the third. Voli is in demand at every bar in the place, according to Randolph Hernandez, Director of Marketing and Events for the busy establishment.

The Resolution cocktail at Tonic features Voli Vodka.
“It’s not often I come across a spirit that I can market because of its unique qualities,” says Hernandez. “Voli is produced in Cognac; it’s high in electrolytes and low-calorie—it appeals all around to our female clientele, especially.” The Voli “Resolutionary” billboard that faces the restaurant from across the street doesn’t hurt sales either, Hernandez notes.

Tonic features seven Voli signature cocktails, including newly-minted concoction The Resolution, and Voli is the featured vodka for the bar’s popular Happy Hour as well. “I’ve become more attached to Voli than to many of the other brands I’ve worked with,” Hernandez is quick to say. “It’s helped our Happy Hour tremendously.”

The Resolution
(just 74 calories)
•    1½ oz. Voli Lyte
•    Splash club soda
•    juice from 2 lime wedges
Build over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with lime.

RESOLUTION: “Drink Glamorous!”

Voli at Sur Lounge, Los Angeles
Managing Partner Guillermo Zapata (seated) and Bar Manager Paulo Gorsse at Sur Lounge. Voli Vodka helps keep Sur’s star clientele both thin and glamorous.

The A-list celebrities that dine at Sur in see-and-be-scene West Hollywood stay on to party late into the night at adjacent Sur Lounge. If there’s one thing these resolute movers and shakers know, it’s that the only thing better than staying thin in Los Angeles is staying glamorous.

Managing partner Guillermo Zapata should know; he moved to L.A. 19 years ago from Buenos Aires, at the age of 23, to pursue an acting and modeling career. Zapata ran Sur (Spanish for “south”) for ten years until, in 2005, he and his Paris-born wife, Nathalie, partnered with actress Lisa Vanderpump and her husband, Ken Todd, to develop Sur as one of Hollywood’s most intimate celebrity haunts.

The Voli Glamtini at Sur Lounge utilizes the creamy texture of Voli Espresso Vanilla Fusion.
“From day one, Sur was one of the places to be,” says Zapata, who still has leading-man looks; “I could name a lot of names.” He notes that his exposure to modeling and his experience as an actor gave him the skill to manage a venue like Sur—after all, he says, “the restaurant is a stage.” True to form, the photo-ready Sur staff looks plucked right out of a Vogue spread.

Bar Manager Paulo Gorsse created the Voli Glamtini using Voli Espresso Vanilla Fusion. “The coffee taste of the Voli Espresso Vanilla is so real that I now skip the actual espresso in our Coffee Martini,” says Gorsse. His beautifully poised Voli cocktail is a fashion statement in itself. The resolution to stay glamorous never looked—or tasted—so good.

Voli Glamtini
•    1½ oz. Voli Espresso Vanilla Fusion
•    1 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
•    ½ oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
•    espresso beans for garnish
•    Shake ingredients and pour into a Martini glass.
•    Garnish with espresso beans.



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