Bonnie: I know you’re a whiskey drinker, but when it’s a warm, sunny day, what’s really your cocktail of choice?
James: Well to be honest, nothing hits home plate on a hot day like a cold beer. But, I recently had the pleasure of trying a flavored vodka, pomegranate. All I know is that it tasted like raspberries, was very yummy, and hit the spot. I’m thinking I need to experiment with this stuff.
Bonnie: Pomegranate vodka. Excellent choice, and a brave one for a guy. I normally don’t care for plain vodka on the rocks, but there’s something that’s very refreshing about a flavored or infused vodka served that way. Make mine a Stoli Razberi with a twist of lemon, a mint leaf, some tonic water and … ahh! Where’s the nearest lounge chair?
James: I’m not sure where the chair is, but thanks for honoring my masculinity. Seriously, I think some guys won’t drink this stuff because of the “fru-fru factor” and, the whole “it’s a chick drink” thing. I mean, seriously. Pomegranate? Even the name sounds feminine. Funny thing about it is that, at the end of the day, it tastes awesome. Generally speaking, there’s no need for anything but ice and a splash of whatever. So, listen guys, if you’re entertaining at your place for a couple of your dearest friends, it’s easy to present, you can get different flavors to appeal to everyone, and then make your own splash.
Bonnie: Your man card is wholly intact, especially for be so open-minded. As for mixing vodkas? Hmm … I never thought of that. Even for the manliest of men, I would think mixing Absolut Peppar and Bakon Vodka and bypassing the Bloody Mary mix might be good. I got to talk with Sven Liden, one of the developers of Bakon Vodka, a couple of months ago. Their idea for Bakon Vodka came from a discussion he and his a couple of his buddies had sitting around a campfire about why there weren’t more savory vodka flavors. But still, there are a lot more sweeter and fruitier flavors out there.
James: Well, I guess my mojo is conjured in the fact that, as a “retired” bartender, you still can’t take the bar out of me, so I was intrigued enough to reach out to my circuit of “still earning money as a bartender” crew, and they told me some interesting things. Seems as if this flavored vodka thing has legs. Big time. Especially with the ladies.
Bonnie: Umm … please tell me you have more.
James: Yes, Indeed I do. The earlier crowd – those who are in the 40-to-wanna-be-younger-crowd – is still loyal to the benchmark brands. Stoli, Belvedere and Grey Goose are still solid choices. Cranberry and tonic and my favorite, “on the rocks,” are the mix-du-jour. When asked why, “I know what I’m getting,” is the resounding vibe.
Once the sun goes down, however, the 21-to-whatever-age-I’m-feeling-tonight crowd is all over the up-and-coming flavored varieties. Eighty to 90% of all vodkas served after, ohh, say 10p.m., are flavored. Ordered by the flavor, a blueberry martini is now more common than a Lemon Drop. Cherry, raspberry, orange, watermelon — the list continues — follows. Keeping in mind the refreshing aspect of this cocktail, I can’t say that I blame anyone for drinking it.
Bonnie: Trust me, I’d never pass up a drink made with Grey Goose or Belvedere, but I was quite surprised by how much I prefer the Smirnoff Blueberry over the Stoli Ohranj and the Grey Goose Cherry Noir. The Stoli Ohranj hits you with the taste of pure vodka on the tip of the of the tongue and the flavor only hits you in the back of the throat just a bit. The funny thing is that when I mixed it with Pinnacle Whipped at $12.99 a fifth, it tasted like a liquid Creamsicle. The Grey Goose Cherry Noir? Eh, not my favorite. Not much flavor as much of it that was there marred the Grey Goose finish. I wish you had told me about the merits of going with the less expensive vodkas before sampling the premium stuff for the sake of well-rounded research. That being said, the Smirnoff Blueberry rocks, especially with lemonade.
James: Again, the bartender in me, my lady. Funny shit, eh? But I suppose the hidden secret-be-known is that Smirnoff is just fine. Seriously, the fact that it’s “affordable” ought to not be confused with the fact that your hard earned dollars can go father. It’s what most people would call “fiscal responsibility.” Give credit where credit is due, especially if you’re hosting and it’s not payday.
Bonnie: But there are exceptions to serving cheap vodka. I once tried UV Cake. It tasted like lighter fluid and Walmart birthday cake. You’ll have to take my word for it. You know my rules: I don’t let bad liquor in my house and I don’t serve it to my friends.
Now, after our responsibly-as-we-could sampling, it looks as if I’m hosting the next party with all these leftovers.
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