— Welcome to a special Booze Edition of What Were They Thinking. With the economy in the dumps and Tax Day just around the corner, it’s as good a time as any to drown out your sorrows with a cocktail or two. Or three.
Last week’s bombshell that New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer —aka "Client No. 9" — rendezvoused with high-priced call girl Ashley Alexandra Dupre — aka “Kristen” — shocked America and ended a once-promising political career (Spitzer’s, not Dupre’s).
But it also created a business opportunity for an enterprising vodka brand.
According to AdAge.com, Georgi vodka is in talks to put a photo of Dupre’s derriere on the backside of every bus in Manhattan. That’s right: From prostitute to pinup in just weeks.
Martin Silver, chief executive of Star Industries — owners of the U.S. rights to the brand, said he is in talks to pay Dupre more than $100,000 to be this year's Georgi "butt girl," the annual pinup the brand places on city buses and taxicabs.
"The girl's butt we have on there now is pretty good, but if you can get (Dupre) to do it, and to make some personal appearances, it's like Paris Hilton or something," Silver told AdAge.com. "We are trying to work out a contract."
Silver added they may name the vodka “No. 9” — the FBI's code name for Spitzer in their investigation of the prostitution ring.
Ah, a new cocktail for bartenders in the Big Apple: The Spitzer Screwdriver: "No. 9" vodka and orange juice with a shot of schadenfreude. On the rocks ... just like his marriage.
Vodka for women only
Shaped like a bottle of perfume, "Damaskaya Vodka" — which translates as "Ladies' Vodka" in Russian, is the hottest spirit in Moscow.
Vodka, of course, is the national drink of Russia, but now Russian women have a brand they can call their own.
A bottle retails for about 300 rubles ($12.50) and is sold in upscale stores in big cities.
Igor Volodin, who heads the Deyros company, the maker of Damaskaya, is enthusiastic about the prospects of the label, which launched three months ago and is targeted to successful, well-educated, married women with money.
"Women need a drink of their own," Volodin told Reuters as he sat next to an array of his vodkas, which come in lime, vanilla and almond flavors as well as unflavored.
"In Moscow, there are pink taxis for ladies, there are light cigarettes," he said. "But there was no vodka, and we asked ourselves, 'Why?' ”
Good question. But those concerned about the country’s alcoholism problem are asking questions, too. Like, is this such a good thing for the country?
"I believe that female alcoholism is a huge problem in Russia. I believe it is as huge and hidden as the underwater part of an iceberg," says Yuri Sorokin, a psychologist running a Moscow rehabilitation center.
How much for that bubbly?
What recession? Undeterred by the economic downturn, the super-rich are jostling for the latest limited-edition deluxe offering: Champagne that costs more than $6,500 a bottle.
At 50,000 euros, or nearly $79,000, for a case of 12, the Perrier-Jouet officially went on sale Thursday.
Many of the 100 box sets available have already been snapped up by celebrities including former Bond girl Sophie Marceau, singer Marianne Faithfull and actress Victoria Abril.
"We have already seen a huge demand," Olivier Cavil, head of communications at Perrier-Jouet, told The Associated Press.
"But don't worry, there are still some left."
Sorry, I can’t afford $79,000 for a case. Not even $6,583 for a bottle. I really can’t even afford the $1,316 for a glass. How much for a sip?