Rosario in the sky with diamonds. Actress Rosario Dawson, that is, and yes, she was miles high in a private Gulfstream IV jet on her way from New York to L.A., ogling a brand new line of exclusive diamonds: The Stolichnaya Elit Collection. If you’re thinking: “Stolichnaya, isn’t that a vodka?,” you’re absolutely right. So what does grain alcohol have to do with diamonds (other then that in most circumstances, they prove to be a girl’s best friend)? A lot more than you’d think and apparently enough to warrant a launch party, which I attended on Thursday night. I’d heard of blood diamonds, but booze diamonds? Sure, I’ll drink to that.
The premise is this: Jewelry designer Penny Preville, a red carpet staple who has worked with stars such as Jessica Alba and Heidi Klum, has created a “line” (if four pieces constitutes one) of bling that was inspired by Stoli Elit vodka, the self-professed world’s first ultra-luxury vodka. If you ask the designer, she’ll claim her inspiration was “edgy, rock star - to suit Rosario’s style.” If you ask brand reps, the inspiration was in the vodka’s creative processes.
Stoli Elit is distilled four times using pure spring water before it is frozen and then slowly thawed, separating the impurities from the good stuff. This “freeze-filtration” process is repeated once again, not unlike the heating, cooling and reheating process used when shaping a diamond. If you ask me, the inspiration was a stretch to be certain, but we were too busy being blinded by pretty, shiny things to really notice (among them, the “security” person guarding the jewels who turned out to be a hired male model named Miguel).
The event took place at the super swank Soho House, the private members club and hotel in the Meatpacking district where each of the 24 guest rooms open to the public go for up to $1250 a night—an exclusive venue for an elite vodka, appropriately enough. The “Library Room,” where the affair was held, drew 75 or so attendees who plunked down on red velvet banquettes bathed in red low-lighting and candlelight.
At the center of the festivities were three display cases, each containing a bedazzled bottle of Stoli Elit covered in rhinestones, worth nearly $700 a pop and dazzling more brilliantly than a Judith Leiber bag. At the base of each bottle sat an 18K gold and diamond lacy cuff bracelet, a clip-on floral pendant with an adjustable chain, a pair of hoop earrings dripping with moving diamonds, and a set of art-deco emerald cut diamond cuff links. The jewels will be auctioned off in June to benefit Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA).
But the real gems sat on top of the bar: Stoli Elit drinks. In the name of investigative journalism, I clearly had to try them all. First on my list was the Red Jewel—a semi-sweet blend of pomegranate juice, blood orange juice and lemon juice that slurped down as smooth as the fresh East Coast oysters on the half shell served on ice. The vodka could hardly be detected, which is more than I can say for the particularly potent Red Petal martini made with rose water, a pinch of rosemary, and rose petals (read: pure vodka with a single rose petal as a garnish). I gagged after one sip, leading me to steer clear from the exaggeratingly tall martini glasses containing Stoli straight up with a dash of vermouth. But since I can’t blame the vodka (damn you Stoli!) because its ultra-top shelf, I will have to confess that your fearless roving reporter is, in fact, a wuss who can’t drink anything that wouldn’t kill a diabetic by merely looking at it. Also in the Elit fleet was a Grapefruit Basil Refresher (peeled grapefruit, basil leaves, and simple syrup), which was refreshingly…strong.
At the end of the night, guests went home with their own bottle of Stoli Elit, outlined in (fewer) rhinestones. As for Dawson and a few of her closest friends, who did not make an appearance (quelle surprise!), they went home to LA on the Stoli Elit branded jet, where Jason Kosmas, the award-winning mixologist of Employees Only fame, served up Elit cocktails chilled on glacier ice (hey, if the polar caps are melting, why not in your glass over top shelf vodka?). Not bad for the girl who was last remembered for being in Josie and the Pussycats.