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.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

September 7, 2005

Flavored Vodka: Berry, Spice and Everything Nice

Flavored vodkas have been all the rage over the last few years, increasing the market for the much-loved and versatile spirits. With flavors like Absolut Peppar and Citron and Stoli Vanilla and Raspberry flavors to name just a few, the flavored vodka craze is introducing a whole new generation of imbibers to a love of the cocktail and now makes up 20% of all vodka consumption. The wide range of assorted flavors is leading bartenders to be more creative with their drink mixing and leading to far more combinations than your typical screwdriver or bloody mary.

We found tons of unique ideas for new cocktails using flavored vodka, including the bubblegum martini (a combo of raspberry and vanilla Stoli with a splash of Jones Blue Bubblegum soda, garnished with gumballs) and a cold-weather concoction made with mandarin orange vodka and orange pekoe tea. The article also mentions the Moscow Mule, a drink made popular here in the states in the '50s, which is a combination of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer and sounds like an echo of one of my favorite drinks, which some call the Mark and Stormy. So what's on the horizon for the tangy versions of this adult beverage? Apparently "Asian flavors may be the wave of the near future, with ginger, honey and multiple-spice at the fore." Sounds tasty.

Read the full article, VA-VA-VOOM: Flavored vodkas create the hottest drinks at the bar, at the Detroit Free Press.

Jake Jamieson at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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