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.”


Tasting vodka

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.


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