The Best Flavored Vodka

14 04 2009

Vodka, in essence, is a neutral spirit.  Lacking odor, color and taste are key signs of a good vodka.  The final element is the overused “smooth” factor.  Meaning that it doesn’t turn your face into a crinkled mess when you sip it.   By definition, vodka doesn’t sound too exciting, and it’s really not, but it is very versatile when constructing a cocktail.  Thus, most vodka drinkers will impart some flavor into the drink.  Be it cranberry, lime, lemon, orange juice, etc.  Vodka companies, in order to attract more novice sippers, have been producing flavored vodka for years.  In fact, I’m a fan of a flavored vodka on the rocks before a great meal.  So which flavored vodka do I go to without fail and why?

My personal favorite flavored vodka is Hangar One out of California.  They make Buddha’s Hand Citrus, Kaffir Lime, Mandarin Blossom and one seasonal (which this past winter was Spiced Pear).  The biggest reason that I enjoy this brand so much is due to the fact that they use real fruit to flavor the spirit.  Buddha’s Hand (a lemony Asian fruit), Kaffir Lime (often found in Thai cooking) and Mandarin Blossom (the essence of the orange flavor) are unique ingredients that give familiar flavors to the spirit.  Other companies may use artificial flavorings much like those found in candies.  Yes, I’m a purist at times!  Likewise, Hangar One also crafts their vodka in smaller batches and this allows them to begin with a fine vodka prior to imparting the flavor element.  You can see why, by starting with a superior vodka and using natural ingredients, that Hangar One is at the top of my list when it comes to flavored vodkas.

Hangar One Flavors

My preference is to have this fine vodka on the rocks, but I know a lot of people would much rather have it in a drink.  My latest cocktail menu for City Bar features Hangar One Buddha’s Hand in a cocktail.  Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a go at your next outing.  Cheers!

Buddha’s Hand           (original recipe by Kevin Hoover)

2 oz. Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Vodka

1 oz. Chobei Daiginjyo Sake

Reed’s Ginger Beer

Cranberry Ice Cubes

Freeze cranberry juice in ice cube trays.  Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and gently stir.  Add cranberry ice cubes to a hi-ball glass and strain the cocktail into the glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.  I often top with an extra splash of Ginger Beer, but it’s not required.




3 responses

14 04 2009

Very interesting!! Your taste in drinks is very similar to your taste in wine – expensive!!! Must say it sounds delicious!!!

14 04 2009

price and quality are often linked…unfortunately!

15 04 2009
Chris Bostick

Well done on the blog sir. Way to get that ship out to sea. Look forward to more good reads. Just added you to my blogroll as well. Hope all is well!

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