We always intend to drink more vodka. We’ve bought Reyka which is made in Iceland with water filtered through lava rocks. It’s still sitting unopened three years later. There’s the bottle of Ketel One which we’ve had for five years. Oh, I’ll use Smirnoff in a Vesper, but as the star of the drink we just never go for vodka. Ok, maybe just one.
On the bright side, I’ve made great strides in not looking down on the vodka & soda crowd although it does make me cringe inside, but I just remind myself that people should drink what they love. We just don’t love vodka. But given our groovy new vibe with the addition of the Playboy Host & Bar Book I’ve been on the lookout for vodka drinks to try.
Generally I look at vodka two ways. The first is as a liquor which should be consumed straight and preferably ice cold. Since we don’t drink liquor straight I don’t really have any call for keeping it in the freezer. The second is as a flavor delivery system. By US Government definition, vodka should be:
“Neutral spirits distilled or treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials so as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.”
So when I look for a cocktail with vodka in it, I’m looking at the other ingredients to see what flavor profile they have and how it might taste given that it’s going to be “watered down” by the vodka. I settled on the Gypsy because we love Benedictine and I thought the sparse lemon and orange juice could add a little brightness to the whole thing. That, and it’s served on the rocks which meant that I could use our spectacular new double rocks glasses from the 50s.
2 oz vodka
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange juice
Shake all with ice. Strain over rocks in prechilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange slice.
I didn’t bother with prechilling the glass and I used a giant ice cube that’s all the rage today which most likely made the drink a bit warmer than the author intended. I liked the warmer temperature. It allowed the herbal flavors of the Benedictine to mellow and relax in the drink. Which brought out a different side of Benedictine that I’m not really used to. It’s usually very assertive in a drink so you have to pair it with something equally assertive to balance it out like Fernet. And I was right about the modest amount of juice giving the whole thing brightness and acidity without being overbearing. When working with vodka it appears less is more when trying to make a balanced cocktail.
Will vodka join the rest of the bottles at the front of the liquor cabinet instead of being tucked in the back? Probably not. With these types of drinks there’s always a thinness to them that I generally find unappealing. It’s like I’m waiting for the flavor to kick in but it never does. The Gypsy was pleasant and I would absolutely make it for a vodka & soda person, but it’s not for me.