Ahhh yes, flavored vodka. When it comes to vodka, most people fall into one of two categories. One group loves it and the other group strongly believes it’s best suited for cleaning ice off of windshields. While that remains generally true still today, a third group has emerged. This group consists of those people who neither greatly fancy plain shots of harsh liquor nor would dare waste it in automotive applications. This group is made up of flavored vodka aficionados. Flavored vodka you ask? Isn’t the flavor of vodka somewhere between that of rubbing alcohol and gasoline? If you had that question running through your mind gentle reader, you belong in group two, are confused or simply aren’t really drinking vodka. This article is about to introduce you to one of life’s greatest alcoholic pleasures. Allow me to introduce, the world of flavored vodka.
What Is this Treasure Called Flavored Vodka?
The proper name for what we generally call flavored vodka is infused vodka. Infused vodka is a much better description because rather than simply add a little orange juice to it, which would also flavor it, flavors are added in such a way that the ingredients actually bond with the vodka molecules, or are infused. This can be done in distilleries using complex chemical processes or in your kitchen using a little old-fashioned know how. When the infusion is complete, the result is a drink with a flavor that scarcely resembles that of plain vodka. Gone is the harsh bite, and you’re left with a pleasant aftertaste.
Anyone with the ability to use a kitchen knife and with a little patience can create drinkable infused vodka. A quick Google search will teach you all you need to know about how to make flavored vodka, and there is certainly no shortage of infused vodka recipes for making fantastically delicious and affordable flavored vodka. Without getting into molecular chemistry, the basic process for making flavored vodka is to add the desired flavor ingredients to a bottle of regular vodka, and then letting the mixture simmer a few days, weeks or months, depending on what your goal is. Depending on the ingredients, some straining might also be necessary.
Though infused vodka has been around for a long time, the major commercial vodka producers have only been at it for about the last 25 years or so, with an expanded emphasis during the last 10. This should tell you one important thing; it makes money. It makes money because people like it. Why do people like flavored vodka? They like it because it’s good and because there are so many varieties there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
One of the first major mainstream distillers to go the flavored route was Absolut, and they are still perhaps the most prolific of flavored vodka brands. But, they have plenty of competition these days. Walk in any major liquor store and you’ll see in some cases a dozen or more flavored vodka brands. Life is good.
Types and Uses
While you can certainly pour a nice shot of most types of flavored vodka and enjoy it, flavored vodka’s greatest appeal is in mixed drinks. This is especially true for the ladies, but there are plenty of flavored vodka cocktails suited for men too. One of the more recent entries into the mix is bacon flavored vodka. If you’re a man and can think of two things better than bacon and vodka, reevaluate yourself. For the ladies the end is limitless.
While varieties such as apple flavored and citrus flavored remain the most widely served of the flavored vodkas, other newer flavors are catching up. How about a little watermelon vodka on a hot summer day? What’s that? It’s not summer? Then I recommend an aperitif consisting heavily of whipped cream vodka. Hopefully you’re getting the point by now and have figured out that you can infuse vodka with about any flavor you want. Name any fruit and most popular candies and I’ll almost guarantee you there is one brand or another of that particular type of flavored vodka.
While infused vodkas simply taste better than something similar made by mixing items, they also make drink creation simpler and more cost effective. If you want a grapefruit and vodka, instead of having to go through the trouble of mixing it all up, why not just pour some grapefruit flavored vodka over some ice and enjoy? Whatever your particular vodka mixer is, there’s an infused vodka that can beat it. Just a few years ago I spent hours preparing my bacon vodka mixers. Now it comes ready to enjoy. I do love progress.
This convenience also makes it easier to create some awesome cocktails. With a selection of a few varieties of flavored vodka, you can keep the party lively without dedicating your life to bartending. Speaking of bartending, this also makes bartenders’ lives easier and saves time and perhaps even money.
You should now have a pretty good understanding of what flavored or infused vodka is. You should also have developed a strong urge to try one. I urge you to head to your local adult beverage superstore, spend about 45 minutes browsing the selection and then enjoy a great evening experiencing the awesome pleasures of flavored vodka.