Imagine that happy day around 1700 when the monk Dom Perignon, after much fiddling with the double fermentation of his grape juice, stumbled onto a bubbly delight. Having tasted the very first glass of champagne, he ran through the abbey shouting, "Brothers, come quickly ... I'm drinking stars!"
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Just hearing the word "champagne" conjures up images of sparkling wine, popping corks, and wild celebrations. But mentioning that other Champagne -- as in the northeastern region of France -- evokes a much more complex bouquet. Filled with wars, political clashes, and controversy, the bubbly region and its eponymous drink have produced a rich history worth toasting to.
Up the stairs and past the velvet rope at the Vapour Lounge not too long ago, Michael Jordan was just one of the many smartly dressed folks clinking glasses with friends on the suede couches and chairs. Three stories below, through the open atrium, a deejay spun records next to the club's dance floor and 50-foot arched ice bar. But upstairs you couldn't even think about ordering a shot. The cheapest drink on the menu was a $125 bottle of Absolut. Bottles of Dom Perignon were $300.
Supporters of President Bush will be bringing their own fanfare and enthusiasm when they flock to Washington in January for inaugural festivities, but they'll also be generating much excitement for D.C. hoteliers, who promise to pamper anyone willing to pay.