FOLLOWING its corporate policy of sponsoring radical artists, Absolut vodka flowed at the private view of the first major retrospective of the work of Philippe Starck, the man responsible for the world's most beautiful but least practical citrus- juice squeezer. The exhibition, at the Design Museum in London, was curated by the man himself, and is undeniably intriguing. However, the question on the lips of the preview posse was not 'Is Starck a de

signer?' but 'Is Absolut a vodka?'

Being colourless, almost odourless and more-or-less devoid of flavour, vodka is often defined by its lack of characteristics. Absolut is redistilled in a process that strips out the components that give other spirits their character but also cause hangovers. Indeed, were it not for the fact that a proportion of it is aged in oak barrels, Absolut would taste of nothing at all. Gas chromatographic analysis shows it to be practically pure ethanol, and empirical evidence suggests that one can drink quite a lot without necessarily feeling like death next day. Consequently it is safe to say that Absolut is vodka, but not as we know it.

ALSO on show at the Design Museum is the latest piece of Absolut art, commissioned from one Douglas Gordon, which departs from the absolute norm in that it does not feature an image of a bell-shaped Absolut bottle. It is a blank canvas that has been repeatedly impregnated with vodka. 'What I did,' explains the artist 'was to 'paint on' a coating of Absolut vodka, let it soak in, then evaporate, and do it again and again. So it looks blank, but isn't. The canvas is clean and pure and this emphasises the purity of the vodka.' Pure vodka or pure bull?

THAT reminds the Gastropod of the beef in Tesco's fresh meat cabinet this week. It may look the same as last week and it costs no more, but it should be more tender and taste better. The store has adopted the specifications, painstakingly worked out by the Meat and Livestock Commission, that govern every stage of beef production, from rearing to slaughtering and maturing the meat. For example, carcasses are hung from the hip rather than the hoof, so that the body weight is more evenly distributed, causing less unnatural stress to the fibres of the meat.

This kind of tender loving care costs money, of course, and, until now, so-called 'blueprint beef' has been available only from independent butchers and as a part of Sainsbury's premium-quality 'traditional' range. The Tesco initiative, however, costs consumers nothing.

ON WEDNESDAY evening, the mother-and-baby research charity Birthright is organising a Gala Charity Preview of the House & Garden Eating-In Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London. Guests will be offered Canard- Ducheme champagne and canapes by Anton Mosimann, and the chance to be among the first to visit the show's four themed pavilions tasting wines and dishes from all over the world and seeing state-of-the-art kitchens.

Tickets are pounds 35, pounds 15 of which will go direct to the charity; the remaining pounds 20 is redeemable via a card that entitles the bearer to free goods, including a tea caddy from Harrods, a maple walnut cake from the California cake and cookie company, and a booklet of celebrities' bread recipes from Copperstone Kitchens. Credit card bookings can be made by calling Birthright on 071-262 5337.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas