Jump to content

Vodka drinkers


Furd
 Share

Recommended Posts

Kettle One and GreyGoose, Belvedere are the top tier vodkas I order up when out - I am sure there are others

 

Tito's handmade vodka is supposed to be outstanding, but have never tried it

 

I will always have a soft spot for Stoli......................

Edited by wildcat2334
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, but I'm looking for something a little more "exotic" - although Tito's intrigues me.

Tito's is from Austin and is very popular here. I wouldn't classify it as ultra high-end, but holds its own with the better brands.

 

Effen Vodka

 

 

This is some smooth stuff with a cool name.... :wacko:

Effen is pretty darn good.

 

I prefer Grey Goose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wish I had the link to the blind taste test they did with a bunch of trend whores who were pissing their pants about how good this or that trendy brand was. Some cheap ass brand came in 2d or 3d and several of the high dollar ones were at the bottom :wacko: I know there are diff's but it just goes to show how overrated those diff's are and how much marketing and social posturing plays a part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wish I had the link to the blind taste test they did with a bunch of trend whores who were pissing their pants about how good this or that trendy brand was. Some cheap ass brand came in 2d or 3d and several of the high dollar ones were at the bottom :wacko: I know there are diff's but it just goes to show how overrated those diff's are and how much marketing and social posturing plays a part.

The article listed the "high end" vodkas ie grey goose, ketel one and cheaper vodkas - sky, smirnoff, etc mainly anything you can find in the grocery store or local bar. Quite a few of the vodkas listed in this thread are specialty vodkas like Kauffman that you won't find in bars which is what Furd was looking for.

Edited by twiley
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wish I had the link to the blind taste test they did with a bunch of trend whores who were pissing their pants about how good this or that trendy brand was. Some cheap ass brand came in 2d or 3d and several of the high dollar ones were at the bottom :wacko: I know there are diff's but it just goes to show how overrated those diff's are and how much marketing and social posturing plays a part.

It was a NY Times article and Smirnoff won the taste test. I posted a link to that story at the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Humble Old Label Ices Its Rivals

By ERIC ASIMOV

 

Published: January 26, 2005

 

IT was not exactly a victory for the underdog, but chalk it up as a triumph of the unexpected.

 

The idea for the Dining section's tasting panel was to sample a range of the new high-end unflavored vodkas that have come on the market in the last few years in their beautifully designed bottles and to compare them with a selection of established super-premium brands. To broaden the comparison, or possibly as a bit of mischief, our tasting coordinator, Bernard Kirsch, added to our blind tasting a bottle of Smirnoff, the single best-selling unflavored vodka in the United States, but a definite step down in status, marketing and bottle design.

 

Advertisement

Advertise on NYTimes.com

 

After the 21 vodkas were sipped and the results compiled, the Smirnoff was our hands-down favorite.

 

Shocking? Perhaps. Delving into the world of vodka reveals a spirit unlike almost any other, with standards that make judging it substantially different from evaluating wine, beer, whiskey or even root beer. A malt whiskey should be distinctive, singular. The same goes for a Burgundy or a Belgian ale. But vodka? Vodka is measured by its purity, by an almost Platonic neutrality that makes tasting it more akin to tasting bottled waters, or snowflakes.

 

Yet in just a few decades vodka has become the most popular spirit in the country. It is now the default liquor in cocktails once made with gin, and with its glossy merchandising it has set a marketing standard for high-end spirits that the other liquors are all struggling to emulate. It's quite an achievement for something that the government defines as "neutral spirits, so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color."

 

A lack of distinctiveness is a separate matter from a lack of distinction. The vodkas we tasted had character and their own flavors and aromas, even though the differences among them were often subtle and difficult to articulate.

 

"I'm looking for interest," said Eben Klemm, a cocktail expert who joined me for the tasting, along with my colleagues Florence Fabricant and William L. Hamilton, who writes the Shaken and Stirred column for the Sunday Styles section. "Some were so unique that they stood out," he added, "while others were pure, simple and austere."

 

Mr. Klemm, whose heady title is director of cocktail development for B. R. Guest, a restaurant group that includes Dos Caminos, Fiamma and Vento in New York, found himself torn in two directions in assessing the vodkas. Because we tasted them straight, he judged them as solo beverages yet could not help extrapolating how they would taste in cocktails, which are overwhelmingly the vehicle for consuming vodka.

 

Mr. Hamilton, too, wondered whether his perceptions might change. "When deployed in mixed drinks, these slight flavor profiles that I enjoyed might cause trouble," he said.

 

Ms. Fabricant, on the other hand, dismissed such existential issues. "Go with the flow," she suggested, adding that the qualities she sought in the vodkas included elegance, neutrality and balance. "As a vodka drinker who likes vodka on the rocks, I picked out what I would want to drink," she said.

 

I'm not much of a vodka drinker myself, although I do like a good bloody mary. I prefer gin in classic gin drinks like martinis and gimlets that have largely evolved into vodka cocktails. But I appreciate the purity and depth of a fine vodka. Those I liked best were all smooth rather than harsh, and balanced and harmonious rather than burdened by alcoholic heat. They had a presence in the mouth that we sometimes referred to as texture or substance.

 

That being said, at the end of our tasting it was Smirnoff at the top of our list, ahead of many other names that are no doubt of higher status in stylish bars and lounges. Some of those names did not even make our Top 10. Grey Goose from France, one of the most popular vodkas, was felt to lack balance and seemed to have more than a touch of sweetness. Ketel One from the Netherlands, another top name, was felt to be routine and sharp, although Mr. Klemm did describe it as "a good mixer."

 

More than 300 vodkas are on the market now, and of course we could not taste them all. Notable brands that we omitted included Chopin, Finlandia, Rain and Tanqueray Sterling. But our tasting included 5 of the 10 best-selling unflavored vodkas in the United States and the 5 best-selling imported vodkas.

 

What set Smirnoff apart, we agreed, was its aromas and flavors, which we described as classic. Smirnoff of course has a long history. The company was founded in Russia in the 19th century, and after the Russian Revolution the family, then spelling its name Smirnov, left the country and eventually ended up in France. The brand, now owned by Diageo, was introduced in the United States in 1934 and eventually became the best-selling brand with the slogan "It will leave you breathless."

 

Perhaps our description of Smirnoff as classic was nostalgic, possibly a result of the imprinting of its flavors and aromas on our brains in some early quest through our parents' liquor cabinets. But its smooth neutrality and pleasing texture also won it points, and its success illustrates a vital truth about vodka.

 

Unlike most other spirits and certainly unlike beer and wine, vodka does not necessarily benefit from artisanal manufacturing. The bearded bumpkin who minds the barrels in the ad campaigns for bourbon has no place in the production of vodka. In fact most so-called vodka producers do not even distill their own spirits.

 

In the United States almost all vodka producers buy neutral spirits that have already been distilled from grain by one of several big Midwestern companies like Archer Daniels Midland. The neutral spirits, which are 95 percent alcohol or more, are trucked to the producers, where they are filtered, diluted and bottled. In our tasting only one brand, Teton Glacier Potato vodka, was distilled by the producer. Another producer, Hangar 1, distills a portion of its spirits and buys the rest.

 

What sets vodkas apart from one another are essentially the base ingredients used in the distillation and the water. Most spirits can be made only from certain prescribed ingredients, but vodka can be distilled from just about anything that can be fermented into alcohol: grains, vegetables, even fruits.

 

Our tasting included vodkas made from wheat, rye and potatoes, even a couple that used grapes. Hangar 1 is distilled partly from wheat and partly from viognier grapes, which perhaps lend the slight sweetness the panel detected. Possibly the combination results in a complexity, which we all liked. Another vodka, Cîroc Snap Frost from France, is distilled entirely from grapes, but we sensed a disjointedness in it that kept it off our list.

 

Like gin, vodka can be produced just about anywhere, and our tasting included four from the United States; four from Poland; three each from Russia, France and the Netherlands; and one apiece from Switzerland, Estonia, New Zealand and Sweden. Russia and Poland both claim to be the originators of vodka. None of the Russians made our list, but two of our Top 3 were from Poland. The Wyborowa, which comes in a striking bottle designed by the architect Frank Gehry, was elegant and mysterious and seemed to keep drawing us in. The Belvedere was exceptionally pure and smooth.

 

All four entries from the United States made the list. In addition to Smirnoff and Hangar 1 they were Skyy, which Ms. Fabricant suggested would be superb ice cold, and Teton Glacier Potato vodka, which seemed to conform to the government definition of tasteless and odorless.

 

While we chose to focus on unflavored vodkas those blended in the factory with flavorings like lemon, black pepper and even chocolate may be the fastest-growing category of all. Given the government definition of vodka, the success of such flavored vodkas may raise the philosophical question one day of exactly what constitutes a vodka.

 

The prices of these vodkas ranged from a low of $13 for the Smirnoff to a high of $34 for Potocki, a Polish vodka that did not make our cut. The Belvedere also cost $34, but that was for a liter rather than the usual 750 milliliter bottle. Imported vodkas tend to cost more, partly because of taxes levied by various governments, currency exchange rates and, not least, marketing concerns: as has been proved in many industries, wine not least of all, raising the price of a product increases its status among consumers.

 

Possibly with that in mind Stolichnaya has just introduced a new vodka, Elit, for $60 a bottle. Because Elit was not available in New York at our tasting, the panel did not sample it. Its marketers say it is "carefully crafted using a centuries-old Russian recipe and a revolutionary 'freeze filtration process.' " The bottle is certainly sleek. What's inside may be another matter.

 

Tasting Report: In the Best-Selling Category, a Best Seller Stands Out

 

BEST VALUE

Smirnoff United States Grain

80 proof

$13

***

Pure, clean and ultrasmooth, with pleasing texture and classic vodka aroma.

 

Wyborowa Poland Single Estate Rye

80 proof 1 liter

$30

***

Elegant and intriguing, with mild flavors and great persistence.

 

Belvedere Poland Rye

80 proof 1 liter

$34

***

Great smoothness and purity, with good texture and body.

 

Absolut Sweden Level Grain

80 proof

$24

** 1/2

Smooth and substantial, with flavors of flowers, lemon grass or nuts.

 

Hangar 1 United States Straight Wheat and Grain

80 proof

$30

** 1/2

Pleasing, with complex flavors and a suggestion of sweetness.

 

Vox Netherlands Wheat

80 proof

$23

** 1/2

Smooth and neutral, with savory flavors and a touch of alcoholic heat.

 

Olifant Netherlands Grain

80 proof 1 liter

$17

**

Subtle, yet rich and complex.

 

42 Below New Zealand Wheat

84 proof

$24

**

Straightforward, pure and smooth.

 

Skyy United States Grain

80 proof 1 liter

$16

**

Unusual flavors of mint and lime.

 

Teton Glacier United States Potato

80 proof 1 liter

$20

**

Clean and light on the palate; odorless and tasteless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information