I saw a segment this morning on Weekend Today about Vodka. I’ve always thought of Vodka as a neutral spirit which is generally consumed in conjunction with something else. I found the definition below from the Concise Encyclopedia:
Colourless distilled liquor of neutral spirits usually made from a grain mash (generally rye or wheat). Potato vodka originated in Russia in the 14th century. Today most vodka is distilled from cereal grains. It is highly neutral, most flavouring substances having been eliminated during distillation and filtration, the latter process employing charcoal purifiers. Distilled water is usually added before bottling in order to lower alcohol content to 40–43% by volume (80–86 proof). Vodka is not aged. It is traditionally consumed unmixed and chilled, in small glasses; in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is often used in mixed drinks.
I personally know few people who drink vodka by itself without any additive. Most go at least on the rocks with a twist. I’m sure there are many variations of plain Vodka which taste different chilled and neat, but who drinks Vodka neat? Anyone? Bueller?
So if you are mixing a cocktail and the majority of the drink is something other than Vodka I just don’t see the need to spend the money on a premium spirit. I’m sure it’s nice to tell your friends you are having a Chopin, Ketel One, or Grey Goose, but if that is mixed as a minor portion with some kind of fruit juice could you really tell the difference between the premium and Smirnoff in a blind taste test? Now if you are one of a handful of people having the Vodka chilled and straight up then sure, you would be able to tell a difference, but mixed and mingled no way.
Since I’m on a Vodka topic, what the heck is up with all the flavored varieties? Who drinks that stuff? I remember when you would go into the store and the choice was brand. Now an entire section is Vodka and there are more flavors than Kellogg’s has corn flakes. I’ve tried a few of the citrusy variants and IMO most of them blow chunks. I counted 34 flavors on the Smirnoff website. Who actually drinks root beer flavored Vodka? That would make me blow chunks! 😉