Vodka can be infused with flavours, mixed in cocktails, appreciated neat or over
ice. It can be sipped or slugged. It is famous as an accompaniment to caviar, and
complements rich and spicy food. It can be made from almost any agricultural ingredient;
grain, vegetable, even fruit. It has a mysterious history and inspires great affection;
its name even means “dear little water” in Russian, shortened from zhizennia voda,
“water of life.”
Vodka has become so popular because many mixology mavens consider it the perfect
base for cocktails. One of the best ways to explore the surprising vivid flavour
differences among vodkas is to set up a tasting with friends.
What to look for while tasting
To appreciate the beauty of vodka, one must drink it straight up in a chimney-style
glass and freezer cold, which brings it to its proper viscosity and flavour. There
are three senses involved in tasting of vodka: sight, smell and taste.
Appearance: Hold the vodka glass up to the light and look at its clarity, texture
and luminescence. Note whether there are any unusual characteristics, such as bluish,
yellow or green tints. Fine vodka has a thick and creamy texture when frozen. Also
observe the “legs,” the trails the spirit leaves as it washes against the inside
of the glass.
Aroma or nose: As you swirl the vodka in your glass, smell the vodka. Good vodka
will have a creamy, sweet or grainy fragrance. Bad vodka will smell medicinal or
aggressive with a harsh odour of ethyl spirits.
Taste: Pour the shot into your mouth, and swirl it around to feel the texture. Quality
vodka will be smooth and should not burn. Swallow it to completely take in the flavour
experience. A high-quality vodka will possess certain characteristics that are distinct
to its distillery such as hints of flavours and materials used in the distillation
and filtering process.