September 17, 2005

Vodka Tasting 101

Vodka SetFor most people in the US, vodka is not much more than a mixer, a building block for the Bloody Mary, the Screwdriver, the Cosmopolitan. But many Americans are starting to realize what Europeans have known for a long time - if you're drinking the right kind of vodka, it can be an amazing experience when you sip it straight. When you're ready to take your vodka up a notch, buy a vodka setto throw a tasting party and sip high-end vodka with your friends.

We're not suggesting you do this with that rubbing alcohol, plastic bottle, dorm room stuff, either. If you want to keep your taste buds, you'll choose your vodka from a higher shelf, or at least run it through a personal liquor filter. If you're not sure about which vodka to go with, read the label. Now, we know every bottle will say it's of the highest quality and steeped in tradition or whatever, but there are some brands out there you wouldn't want to strip paint with. Your bottle will definitely be made out of glass, and your vodka will most likely be made from only one ingredient, like potato, wheat, rye or even soy. Still concerned about getting the right one? Learn more about choosing the right vodka at Cocktail Times.

Vodka Tasting Steps from Cocktail Times:

  1. Select a variety of 3 or 4 high quality vodkas. Chill them in the freezer to have them more viscous and possess cleaner tastes.

  2. Once the vodkas are chilled, pour a shot glass size serving, about 1 - 2 oz. each.

  3. Lift the first shot glass and hold about an inch from your nose and gently take in the aroma. This is called "the nose" and contains many of a vodka's defining characteristics, such as fruit, grain or spice. The aroma of a high quality vodka will be soft and have various subtleties.

  4. Pour the shot into your mouth, and swirl it around to feel the texture. Quality vodka will be smooth and should not burn.

  5. Swallow it to completely take in the flavor experience. A high-quality vodka will possess certain characteristics that are distinct to its distillery such as hints of flavors and materials used in the distillation and filtering process.

Take your time and get to know each vodka during this process. Each sample should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to take in the full aroma, texture and flavor profile. You can learn more about drinking vodka straight up at Cocktail Times.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at September 17, 2005 9:08 AM

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Recent Comments

Your Marani vodka sure seems weird. It has honey, powdered skim milk and sodium bicarb in it. It is Armenian. It's now half-price, 15 bucks, in the grocery store.

Online reviews have not been kind suggesting it is best as a mixer for Red Bull.


Posted by: Bob O at August 4, 2010 4:58 PM

I was visiting California a couple of weeks ago and I had a vodka called Marani. I think it was from Armenia or Romania. There was no burn to it. I thought it was the best that I ever had. Have you ever had it or heard of it and do you know where I can buy it?


Posted by: Pat at June 6, 2009 7:01 PM

Hi David -

We don't carry any vodkas other than what's in our liquor cabinet (though you're welcome to swing by and try some of what we've got), but if you go to http://www.101vodka.com and click on locations, you should be able to find where to pick up a bottle.

Hope that helps.


Posted by: Liquor Snob at July 27, 2007 9:17 AM

I am looking for a vodka I had at a party last weekend in Malibu. By far the best Vodka I ever had and didn't even get a hangover. I was wondering if you carried it or know where I can get a hold of it??? It's called 1.0.1 VODKA.


Posted by: David at July 27, 2007 3:35 AM

I wish I had read this article before having my own vokda tasting earlier this summer. I tried to cool the samples, but did so in mini-plastic shooter cups. My sister says all the samples tasted of the freezer, not that I noticed it.

The vodkas in the test (and a few more I can't recall):


Absolute (handsdown winner)
Blavod
Chopin: polish potato vodka
Three Olives
Stolichnaya


Posted by: KellyMae at October 12, 2005 7:06 PM
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