Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vodka 302: Let's try some Flavored Vodka Cocktails!

Flavored vodkas have been hitting the market in a big way. Some brands like Pinnacle have dozens upon dozens of flavors available. They range from orange to rainbow sherbet. A brand I hold a soft spot for is Oddka, with flavors like electricity, wasabi, and salted caramel popcorn. Veteran bartenders have known how to infuse spirits with flavor for centuries. But saving time has always appealed to the nightlife industry and home bartenders alike. There have been a few fun cocktails that utilize flavored vodka. If you don't want to go and buy a bottle of flavored vodka it is quite easy to make your own with most flavors. Though I'm not sure I care to know how they make vodka taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Lemon Drop
Sugar, 1 1/4oz Citrus Vodka, Lemon wedge
Pour yourself a shot of chilled citrus vodka. Wet the back of your hand and pour some sugar onto it. 
Lick the sugar, take the shot, and suck the lemon. This takes a lot, if not all, elements of a popular style of taking tequila shots. It's named after the common sucker candy. This drink can also be made as a martini. Try it with a sugar rim and garnish with some nice juicy lemon. If you'd prefer to use a premium vodka you can do your own infusions or just mix in some lemon juice and simple syrup. Oh, and if you're a fan, just try some limoncello. Limoncello is just a homemade (though you can buy it in stores) vodka based lemon liqueur.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1 3/4oz Vanilla Vodka, 1/2oz Pineapple Juice, 1/4oz Grenadine
In a mixing glass add all the ingredients except grenadine. Swirl or shake and strain into a shooter glass. Then drizzle a little grenadine into the glass. It should settle and create a nice gradient.
This is something of a more interesting shot.  Instead of being just one solid color like so many drinks, this gives itself a little gradient for a fun splash of vibrancy. This can also be made as a martini. Garnish with a cherry or some small pineapple rings. You can even make it as a jello shot, just add a cherry at the bottom of the cup before pouring the shots.

Cake Martini
1 1/2oz Cake Vodka, 1tsp white cake mix, 1/2oz baileys, 1oz cream
Rim a chilled martini glass with icing and then with sprinkles, ideally non-pareils. Add the ingredients to a mixing tin with ice. Shake and strain. Garnish with some canned whipped cream if you'd like.gradient.
I've seen this drink by many names and many slightly tuned recipes: Wedding Cake Martini, Birthday Cake Martini, Cake Mix Martini, etc. Try using all kinds of ingredients and flavors. I personally love a nice creamy drink after a balanced meal. Cake is a dessert, be it solid or liquid. Many people find cake mix gives an odd thick consistency. Try it with some strawberries and a little amaretto to make a Strawberry Shortcake Martini. 

Winter Sangria Martini
1.5oz Orange Vodka, 1/2oz St. Germain, 1oz POM, 1/2oz Lemon
Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain. Garnish with a rose petal. 
Credit where credit is due, this recipe is from Grey Goose. Their L'Orange vodka is a very fine premium flavored vodka. This is a very simple cocktail, all things considered, and it will bring elements most guests aren't overly familiar with. St. Germain is an elderflower liqueur, with a sweet botanical flavor. Some pomegranate and lemon juice round it off quite nicely. Some advanced drinkers might find this type of drink a bit rudimentary, just stacking different citruses with a little flowery note but it is a great way to look extra classy without too much work.

Special mention to: sonic screwdriver, raspberry cosmo, chocolate martini, creamsicle

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