Since the 1970’s, vodka has been the industry leader in the U.S. spirits industry. Vodka sales cleared over 70 million cases in 2017; 50 million cases more than its closest competitor. And for good reason. Bartenders, both at home and in trade, are swayed by vodka’s versatility and ease. Creating a vodka cocktail can be a basic two step or a complex order of operations best executed by a seasoned bar vet.
With the rise of craft cocktails, base spirits offer a point of origin to gain inspiration for simple as well as elaborate mixology driven cocktails. The reliance on botanical, aging, or other flavoring distinguishers defines, and often limits, the range of cocktails one might create from the spirit.
Contrary to popular belief however, vodka is not completely flavorless. When properly distilled, vodka will always contain the mark of the grain elements, the influence of the water and the still as well as the skill of the distiller.
Vodka begins as a relatively blank canvas. Contrary to popular belief however, vodka is not completely flavorless. When properly distilled, vodka will always contain the mark of the grain elements, the influence of the water and the still as well as the skill of the distiller. Nonetheless, the light malleable nature of vodka allows for a full range of creation enabling the professional, enthusiast or amateur the ability to explore flavor combinations to their heart’s delight.
As a base ingredient, vodka allows for an instant cocktail. Just add vodka to something already delicious and proceed with imbibing. It can also act as a flavor lengthener, adding weight and volume whilst allowing other ingredients to shine. Even the simplest of infusions allow vodka to elevate a seasonal singular flavor or combination without adding volume to cocktails. And in its truest and simplest iterations, on the rocks or in a martini, the expression of the spirit shines unmasked by the distractions of other ingredients.
By and large, the sheer breadth of possibilities continues to make vodka the first bottle we reach for, day in and day out.