Who cares about vodka? If it’s not the most boring spirit on earth, it’s damn close anyway. Since most of them are designed to be clean and flavorless, I’ve never honestly seen much point to drinking it, except maybe in a bloody mary, or straight from the freezer, in a shot glass and downed quickly.
My wife, Jen, used to be primarily a vodka girl, especially on the rocks with tonic water, which I think is probably the dullest drink around. After we hooked up, I started coaxing her in gin’s direction, and she’s pretty much thrown over vodka for good.
But the wife and I are hosting a cocktail party next month, and we know we’ll have vodka drinkers, so we need to stock up. During our regular trip to LeNell’s, we asked LeNell for vodka recommendations, explaining that although we weren’t vodkaholics ourselves, we knew there were more flavorful versions available now, and could she recommend some?
I mentioned in my MixMo post that we tried the pastis from Domaine Charbay, in California. Susan Karakasevic, a cofounder of Charbay, posted a kind and thoughtful comment, thanking us for sampling her family’s pastis.
With her warm words in mind, Jen and I were inclined to pick up a bottle of Charbay’s clear vodka, thinking it might be a good introduction to the brand. LeNell agreed, telling us it’s a tasty vodka–viscous and not overly refined, so that it retains sweetness, character, and flavor.
We took a bottle home and sampled it in a vodka martini. Now, I usually hate vodka martinis–I might as well drink icewater for all the flavor I taste–so I was a little hesitant. But I wanted to do right by the Charbay, so I mixed up two martinis with a splash of dry vermouth, stirred over ice. I wanted to get the pure flavor of the drink without the dilution that shaking brings. Jen wanted a lemon twist, and I wanted an olive, so I garnished accordingly and took the drinks out back.
I have to say, these were delicious drinks. LeNell’s description was right on target–a hint of sweetness and viscosity, a slight burn, and a clean finish. Although Jen preferred her twist and I, my olive, we both sampled the other’s drink and agreed that either one works well. And as we learned this morning, it’s good in a bloody mary, too.
We’ve definitely found our vodka for the party.