Typically we’re not big vodka drinkers (though there are a number out there that we enjoy), and we’re especially not big fans of flavored vodka, as most of the usual flavors (birthday cake, anyone?) sound like they were created in a vat in Jersey. However, there are starting to be more and more small batch producers that are making some delicious flavored vodkas using natural aromatic ingredients, either adding them to the distillation or bringing them in later through infusion. Given their quality, we’ve started adding more and more to our bar. So without further ado, here are some flavored vodkas that we actually like (aka they don’t suck ;)).
There’s been a huge explosion of flavored vodkas, partly because there are weird tax breaks for making flavored vodka (go, government!) and partly because cheap booze is more approachable when you heavily flavor it. We’ve talked about the Mud Puddle in the past as a flavored vodka we think is excellent, but now there are number of other flavored vodkas that we’ve started using, courtesy of some of our local and not so local distillers. Here in Seattle, 3 Howls produces a very nice blood orange vodka (sadly they’ve stopped producing the rosemary vodka, which made amazing vodka martinis and gibsons in our opinions). In Portland, we have Wild Roots which makes some excellent infused fruit vodkas. We have the raspberry and the apple-cinnamon. Finally, we received some samples from Silo distillery in Vermont (see our Samples Policy to understand what it means that we’re talking about them). We really like their cucumber and lavender vodkas.
First up, we tasted each spirit on it’s own.
Nose: Sweet grain and lavender.
Palate: Sweet grain to start, then clear, clean lavender throughout. Mid-palate has a strong bite of alcohol. Finish is resinous and slightly bitter rather than floral lavender. Very good, true lavender flavor without tasting like you’re drinking perfume or eating soap.
Nose: Sweet grain and cucumber.
Palate: Sweet, cool cucumber flesh to start. Mid-palate into the finish is darker, vegetal, and more bitter cucumber, closer to cucumber peel. From mid-palate on, quite bitter.
3 Howls Blood Orange
Nose: Blood orange peel.
Palate: Intro is sweet blood orange. Mid-palate into the finish is more orange oil with less of the raspberry flavor of the blood orange. Fairly smooth. Finish has a hint of malt.
Wild Roots Raspberry
Nose: Concentrated combination of fresh and cooked raspberry, like raspberry jam but brighter and more bramble-y.
Palate: Concentrated, lightly sweet raspberry fruit at the front. Mid-palate is less sweet, more bramble-y raspberry. Finish has a good acidic bite. Mildly sweet and heavier bodied than the preceding spirits, seems to land somewhere between a flavored vodka and a liqueur.
Wild Roots Apple