The Vodka Taste-Test

  Vodka party2

Because my next book involves plants and booze, I am required to spend a lot of money at liquor stores buying unusual spirits.  It’s terrible, I know, but this is the sort of grueling research writers must put themselves through.  My husband is no help:  as a rare book dealer, he has that obsessive collector’s mentality that makes him want to acquire one of everything so as to have a complete collection. 

So once he realized that we had vodka made of rye, wheat, barley, corn, and potato (Polish and Idaho), we had to get more!  What else is vodka made out of, he asked.  Grapes, as it turns out.  And apples.  And honey, and maple syrup, and milk.  Yes, milk!

So then we had to have a party.  We told people they could come and taste each vodka individually, or, if that was a bit too intense, we promised a few nice cocktails as well. 

Here’s the complete lineup–with an example of the plant (or–uh–dairy product) each vodka is derived from:

Vodka party

As an afterthought, we also put out a few flavored vodkas we had hanging around.  Much to our surprise, one of those turned out to be everyone’s favorite.  The winner?

Tomato vodka

Crop Vodka’s organic tomato vodka.  People LOVED this stuff.  Now, it’s distilled from grains and flavored with tomato, so it’s not as if this is a pure tomato-distilled vodka.  And the tomato flavor is not overwhelming.  But it’s surprisingly good on its own–people described it as smooth, and round, and soft–and you can definitely see how good it would be in any kind of tomato cocktail.  (and in case you’re imagining a thick, awful Bloody Mary-type thing, imagine instead that you simply muddle a very overripe, perfect tomato in a cocktail shaker, along with some vodka and perhaps a little basil, then shake and strain. Mmmmmm.)

Oh, and here’s the cocktail we served — a very good variation on a Cosmopolitan:

2 parts Square One Cucumber Vodka (flavored only with real cukes, btw)

1 part Curacao or Triple Sec

2 parts pomegranate juice

.5 part lime juice

Shake with ice, pour.  Cheers!