Posts tagged vodka

Vodka Smackdown: Purity vs. Grey Goose

Intrigued by Purity Vodka’s great cocktail recipes and pureness claims I asked for one of their taste-test kits. It arrived this week, beautifully wrapped. When I enlisted my husband to set up the blind taste test, he asked me to leave the room so I wouldn’t be able to peek. We used our own tasting glasses – small wineglasses20130702_112002.
Vodka #1: hefty aroma and body, somewhat sweet with a fruit component and some bite in the finish.
Vodka #2: mild from aroma through finish.

I thought that #1 could add an interesting fruitiness to cocktails, but based on what I’d heard from Purity, I guessed that Purity would be #2 – which was my favorite.

I was wrong: Purity was #1.
I still love Grey Goose.

Thanks for the chance to find out.

A new taste for the trade: Take note of American Harvest Organic Vodka

This is a well thought-out presentation. The vodka is made from northern US wheat, and it has great elements: organic and sustainable agriculture, wind power and recyclable glass coated with organic inks and water-soluble varnishes. The colors are pale washes of red, white & blue. This is a big launch: branded bar tools from shaker to pourer, condiment tray, napkin caddy and even a fruit press.
But what’s in the bottle?
Tasted neat, the vodka is extremely smooth and even slightly sweet. When asked, the producers admitted there is some “organic flavoring” in the mix. Whatever that means. Anyhow, they admit it right on the bottle so it’s not a secret.
Speaking of mix, the spirit does meld well with many flavors, especially juices, which bodes well for cocktails. And it’s also mild and pleasant simply served on the rocks.
Oh yeah, where was the American Harvest Vodka Launch? I went to the event in Boston, in the delightful rooftop bar at Legal’s Harborside

Funny Purple Top on this Prevu sparkler

Not being the disco type, I was a little skeptical about the bottle of Prevu, when it arrived with a round, lavender top. I wanted to try it because I’m researching a BRANDY BOOK. And this sparkler is from Cognac, made with organic vodka, cognac, liqueurs of raspberry and black currant and blackberry — with a light violet aroma. Too highbrow? Too lowbrow?
I took it to Cape Cod at the end of the summer and we opened it before dinner. Usually, I get looks when I bring something to try. I get grilled, and people ask for little splashes to taste.
This time, I was bypassed completely. I poured tasting amounts in a few peoples’ glasses. When I went back for a second splash, the bottle was empty. I looked around: people were sipping happily. No one knew what it was, but the empty bottle said it all…

Exclusiv name, not price, for this vodka

I’ve had some of the the Exclusiv Vodcas for some time now, and I’m glad I waited and sampled them over the course of several weeks, in different ways.
Exclusiv is a wheat vodka made in Moldova, a tiny country tucked between Romania and Ukraine.
First, I want to mention that the bottles’ design is lovely; they make a very attractive presentation.

Nobody drinks vodka neat, at room temperature – except samplers like me – so Exclusiv is obviously made to be consumed chilled. This was most apparent with the unflavored version. Adding citrus, either lemon or lime, was a plus for the unflavored. But it proved unnecessary with the flavored versions.

With any flavored liquor, the manufacturer has several choices. This producer chose to use an orange oil type flavoring which has two advantages: it’s not too sweet, and it holds up well when chilled. However, it’s not so easy to get this type of flavoring for other fruits, so the raspberry is somewhat sweeter, even when chilled.

Also interesting is the price: a premium vodka, only around $13 for a fifth, or $20 for 1.75 liters.

Wild Tea in a Tiny Glass

I’m trying to remember the story of these little glasses. They came from the apartment of my friend’s mother. It was a pre-war co-op on Central Park West, always decorated in the earthtones she loved, mid-century modern with a 1960s artistic overlay. When the décor was new, I picture these glasses stowed in the freezer with the vodka, to be brought out when the opera singers and artists gathered there late at night, after a performance. They’d toss down shots of a clear, authentic Russian liquor, its harshness only tamed by over-chilling.
Now we have vodkas so distilled and/or flavored we mix them like chemists into dozen-ingredient cocktails. Tonight, for some reason, I brought out this glass for Absolut Wild Tea. It seemed like a sipping type of vodka, moderately flavored with oolong tea and elderflower. It has some sweetness but allegedly no sugar.
Now, if I could only figure out how to get a tiny ice cube into this glass…

Double Cross Vodka and Chef Michael Schlow at Via Matta, Boston

Asked to create a pairing menu for the new ultra-premium Double Cross Vodka, Michael Schlow spent a lot of time thinking – and drinking, he says – and came up with a series of flavors that worked in different ways in different courses.

The vodka is light and on the pleasantly neutral side with hints of citrus and other fresh notes. And then there’s the bottle: its a thin, elongated glass brick, almost like some sort of award. The bottle is made in France but the vodka is from Slovakia, and the “Double Cross” name refers to the Slovakian flag. Lines of Slovakian poetry are scrawled on the rectangular back, with very little labeling to interfere with the product’s transparency.

Chef Schlow opened with a similarity of fresh citrus flavors in the Tuna Crudo with cucumber and lemon sauce paired with a Basil Lime Gimlet. He moved on to contrast rich, buttery Pumpkin Ravioli burro salvia con amaretti against DBlini with Prosecco, vin santo and sage.

And then a course of complements: Slow Roasted Arctic Char with roasted fennel, haricot vert and blood orange, served with a Blood Orange Martini with Fennel foam. The fennel in the food and drink both intertwined and emphasized their differences.