'@vodka' on Serious Eats

Quick Drinks: Tart Cherry Cocktail

Two confessions. One: I love cocktails. Two: I am lazy. Well, lazy when it comes to making cocktails. I refuse to consider making a drink with an ingredient list that requires six new hard-to-find bottles or a consultation with a dictionary. This laziness has caused "cocktail hour" at my house to become essentially "glass-of-wine hour", which is frankly getting pretty boring. Here's a simple drink to switch things up. More

Should You Boycott Russian Vodka Over Russian Gay Rights?

It's rare for a booze brand to become the center of a socio-political controversy, but that's just what happened at the end of July, when a prominent supporter of gay rights called for a boycott of Stolichnaya vodka. I'm going to try to recount the reasons for the boycott, Stoli's reaction, and some of the back-and-forth the boycott has sparked. More

Cocktail Overhaul: Lemon Drop

The Lemon Drop was one of the most popular cocktails in the US in the later part of the 20th century. It should follow a simple formula of spirit, lemon, and sweetener, but sadly, in many bars the drink disintegrated into a candied mess. It's time to give the Lemon Drop the glory it deserves. More

Cocktail 101: How to Make a Martini

How many ways are there to enjoy a martini? Over at Slate, Troy Patterson has given a lot of thought to this question. He staged a Tournament of Martinis, in the pattern of the NCAA basketball tourney. Starting with 80 recipes (yes, 80), he paired drinks up and let them battle for supremacy. He includes martini variations that I don't think of as such: for example, martinis with Chartreuse, Scotch, elderflower liqueur, or lime juice. Patterson's path is fun to read, but I have no intention of duplicating his work. Instead I want to focus on just a few elements of the martini: the ingredients, the ratio, the preparation, and the presentation, along with a little history. More

Behind The Scenes at the Absolut Vodka Distillery in Sweden

Rather than purchase raw neutral spirits, which is common practice for many manufacturers, Absolut takes control of the process from beginning to end—from seed to glass—and it's all done locally in Sweden. I traveled there to tour the distillery and learn about how vodka is made—I also got a sneak peek at some new Absolut products that are coming down the pipeline. More

Cocktail Overhaul: Cosmopolitan

The Cosmo is arguably one of the most influential cocktails of the past twenty-five years. Its popularity skyrocketed in the 90's and was on the menu off every bar from NY to Timbuktu. It already saw one upgrade later in its life and now its time for a new one. More

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Is $10 Exclusiv Vodka As Good as Grey Goose?

I got a flu shot the other day, even though I am a paragon of health and I have very little contact with the short and sneezy subset of humanity that spreads disease via finger paint snot art and sociopathic disregard for personal space. I got flu-proofed the other day because Bottom Shelf research director Emily told me to, and I do what I'm told when all it requires is a 5-minute pit stop on the way to the ham store. More

New Booze: Hophead Hop Vodka

Anchor Distilling in San Francisco's Potrero Hill is a pretty small operation—the copper stills they use to make Old Potrero Whiskey, Junipero Gin, and Genevieve could probably all fit in my living room. They've recently released a new, unusual product—a vodka distilled with two types of Yakima Valley hops. More

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Blue Ice G Vodka

I got married for the normal and noble reasons that Bottom Shelf research director Emily is very pretty and has good employer-provided health insurance, plus my luscious head of hair isn't going to last forever so let's not kid ourselves about my options down the road. Proposing to Emily in January was the best decision I ever made, which means quite a little bit coming from the man who invented the Slim Jim-studded hamburger: I know from good decisions. More

Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka

I hate listening to people complain about how busy they are, so I've come to you not to whine about my increased busyness but merely to acknowledge it. After a decade of barely fettered leisure I've recently found myself with a full day's worth of chores to do every day, even on the days when there is a "Law and Order" marathon or unseasonable warmth and including one ghastly day in September when my ankle hurt and we were out of Advil and cyanide capsules. More

Can Flavored Vodkas Actually Taste Good?

When it comes to the world of flavored vodka, I usually stick with the king: gin. However, every now and then there is a place on my bar for the other stuff (usually when a party looms). While many of the options range from the sickly sweet to the disgustingly bizarre, there are actually some pretty tasty and unique options out there if you know where to look. More

Drinking in Season: Basil Lime Cooler

A few weeks ago I found myself with a bushel of basil—I was in over my head with bunches of the herb and needed to use them up asap. After making the prerequisite pestos, I ventured into pizza and even a basil and lime sorbet, which got me thinking. Those two flavors are perfect summer partners—refreshing and full of flavor—so they can only get better with the addition of a little booze, right? More

Cocktail 101: Flavored Vodka

Last week, we looked at vodka, but mainly at clear, or unflavored, vodka. Today we'll follow up with the other type of vodka on the market: flavored vodka. We'll look at its history, some production methods, and a controversy or two. More

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