Week 43 in The Year Of Drinking Adventurously. Vodka.
Here is a beverage I can endorse without reserve. If for no other reason than its extreme versatility. Everybody likes vodka. You know why? Because it doesn’t taste like anything. It’s the perfect addition to make anything you want alcoholic. By definition, vodka should be flavorless, colorless and odorless. Vodka can be made from potatoes, wheat, rye, corn or a variety of starchy bases. The multiple distillation process ensures that none of the source distillate’s character remains, therefore the original ingredients aren’t that crucial to the process. Or so says the guide.
Except… That the premium vodka market is booming for the very reason that these higher end products boast even LESS flavor, color and odor than their more humble counterparts.
My current bottle is Ketel One. I don’t have a go-to cocktail per se, but that is the cool thing about good vodka, it goes with everything. In the summer, I sometimes add it to root beer for a little kick. I use it instead of gin in a martini when I just want to taste the olives. Vodka gimlet, vodka in lemonade, vodka and tonic, and so forth. The danger with vodka is the fact that being flavorless, etc. is that it can sneak up on you pretty fast. When you can’t taste it, you get wasted.
Vodka can be the basis for all sorts of interesting infusions, too. From fruits like mango, berries and pineapple, to pickled vegetables, horseradish or tomatoes, vodka infusions can be subtle, sweet or savory. These are not the flavored vodkas that are flooding the market. Seriously, marshmallow vodka? Salted caramel? Gross. Its the new pumpkin spice and you know how I feel about that! No, we are talking about fresh ingredients, steeped in vodka for at least six days (to do it at home) or with nitrous oxide pressurization (if you are a bartender) for about 30 minutes. I’ve never tried infusing my own vodka but I sense an experiment coming on…
I am imagining Lula, the mistress of mixology, had a good time with this week’s adventure.