Vodka 101

In preparation of our new client Oval Vodka (http://www.ovalvodka.com/) entering the U.S. market, I attended a vodka tasting at Table & Vine in West Springfield, Mass to receive a little vodka education.

What I already knew about vodka is that it’s the most popular spirit among Americans and it’s also the most populated market. There are countless brands out there, which means newcomers must offer something new and different. For Oval, it’s the vodka’s structured quality that makes it unbelievably smooth and mixable. For a couple of the brands I tried at the tasting, it was their unique and all natural flavors.

Idaho held its own beside the big brands we all know from Russia and Poland with Zygo (http://www.fuelchange.com/) and 44° North Mountain Huckleberry (http://www.rockymountainvodka.com/). Both products are distilled in Rigby, Idaho and both are delicious. I tried them straight at the tasting but am looking forward to doing a little experimentation with a couple of recipes I snagged (see below).

Zygo is an energy vodka (it contains Taurine, Yerba Mate, Guarana, and D-Ribose) with a unique combination of natural flavors. Peach seems to be most dominant upon first tasting, but Zygo leaves a subtle vanilla taste on your tongue. Other flavors in the mix include mandarin orange and juniper.

44° North Mountain Huckleberry is distilled from Idaho Burbank and Russet potatoes and stepped in huckleberries for ten days. The result is a sweet, smooth vodka that I imagine would be great mixed (again, see below).

In today’s vodka market, it’s hard for a product to stand out among the millions, but these two certainly caught my eye and perked up my taste buds. Check out their sites to figure out where you can find them near you and give these recipes a try…

“Fother Mucker” (originated by John Libonati of Brite Bar, NYC)

2 ½ oz. Zygo Vodka
1 oz. Southern Comfort
Splash of Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of Cranberry Juice

Shake well and pour into a martini glass
Squeeze a Lime wedge and drop it in

“Huck & Cuke Caipiroska” (from their site)

2 oz. 44° North Mountain Huckleberry Vodka
3 Cucumber Slices
3 Slices of Lime

Muddle the Limes and Cucumber in a shaker
Add 44° North Mountain Huckleberry and Ice
Shake Well. Pour into a rocks glass, top with Soda, and garnish with a Cucumber Wheel

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