Tag Archives: vodka

Going Deep … Again

I have strong, gag-inducing memories of me and my brother dabbling in the ’90s versions of flavored vodkas, which weren’t as much about using real ingredients as just shoving artificial flavoring at you until you were convinced it did the trick. These were usually mixed with Sprite or Surge (shut up) and the whole process was just a bad hangover kit waiting to ruin your Friday-Monday mornings.

With this memory deeply rooted in my psyche, I agreed to revisit some of the flavors offered by the folks at Deep Eddy and try them in a few recipes.

If you’re not familiar with Deep Eddy Vodka and are reading a blog about drinking in Dallas, I both admire your ability to live under a rock and encourage you to visit their website. Their vodka is made here in Texas and is distilled in small batches that incorporate natural ingredients into their flavors. For this review, we were provided their Original, Cranberry, Lemon and Peach. (They also offer Ruby Red and Sweet Tea.)

To start, I asked a few friends to join me in trying each spirit neat. Each flavor stood up pretty well on its own, but the peach and lemon were the easiest to drink straight. Then we mixed each with soda water and added lime or lemon. The group’s favorites basically came down to personal flavor preferences. If you’re wondering at home, my favorite was the peach, but the plain vodka and a twist worked as well.

The next recipe was a shandy. I made mine a little stronger and, while it wasn’t my thing, the shandy drinkers in the group were happy. We also tried it with a Mexican lager and lime, which was also a great combination.

Lemon Shandy
12 oz wheat beer
1 oz Deep Eddy Lemon

Next up was a red-hued take on a Moscow Mule. The ginger beer and the vodka mix a little sweet together, but pulling back on the ginger beer and adding a bit more lime helped.

Moscow Mule
1½ oz Deep Eddy Cranberry
½ oz fresh lime juice
Top with ginger beer
Garnish with cranberries and lime

Finally, speaking of more complex drinks, we made the Southern Belle. This was a tad sweet, which was expected as the peach flavor has about twice the sugar as the other vodka flavors according to the website.

Southern Belle
1 oz Deep Eddy Peach Vodka
1 oz bourbon
½ oz fresh lemon juice
Top with club soda

One thing I noticed in general is that these spirits, while not sweet, tip that direction really fast when mixed with other sugary ingredients. Again, the spirit stands on its own without much else, but if you’re going to make complex drinks, the plain flavor might be your best bet.  When I asked for final thoughts, the biggest skeptic in the group commented how nice it was to be able to drink flavored vodka that didn’t make her feel like a sugary mess after each drink.

No matter where you are or what you’re looking for, Deep Eddy has a vodka flavor to fit your taste and is now available in all 50 states. Use their locator to find a bar or retail store near you … and then just remember to day drink responsibly.

DEEP EDDY VODKA
deepeddyvodka.com
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Price: ~$16-20 for 750mL

Going Green with 360 Vodka

I’m not sure where 2015 went, but the past couple months have been a blur. With the onslaught of holiday parties and football gatherings, drinks are something that seem to be ever-present. A generous box of spirit(s) arrived on my doorstep at a pivotal moment in this season’s madness to provide me the essentials of holiday cheer.

I’ve noted in the past that I tend to be wary of vodka, but when distilled just right and mixed with the right ingredients, it becomes my drink of choice. In particular, 360 Vodka (produced by Earth Friendly Distilling Company, a division of McCormick Distilling Company, Inc. … don’t cringe) comes distilled four times from American grain using column distillation process and filtered five times featuring proprietary charcoal coconut filter system. The smooth, earthy finish  of this grain vodka along with a mild bite and subtle lavender notes, makes it an easy choice to mix in any cocktail. 

This vodka’s clean taste is echoed in the company’s eco-friendly attitude from development, production, to distribution. The bottle (commonly reused by consumers for water and olive oil) is made from 85% recycled glass, giving each bottle a unique green hue.  The label on the bottle is made with 100% post-consumer paper with special water based inks that won’t harm the environment; and the swing‐top closure comes with a pre‐paid envelope empowering Americans to return it for reuse and have $1.00 donated to a local environmental organization. Additionally, McCormick, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Conservation, launched FOREST 360, an effort to plant indigenous trees on 40 acres of the land around the distillery.

Essentially, consumers can grab a super-premium bottle of vodka at a reasonable price and give back to the environment – as if you needed an excuse. And, with the recent trend in all things organic and green, 360 Vodka makes for the perfect holiday bar staple or hostess gift. The range of flavors can seem somewhat overwhelming with options like Georgia Peach, Sorrento Lemon, Buttered Popcorn, and even Glazed Donut.

Personally, I took advantage of the crisp fall season to mix up a vodka-forward version of Susie’s Cool Weather Punch* with the original 360 Vodka.


360 VODKA

www.vodka360.com
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ABV 40% / 80 Proof
Retails for around $35 per 750ml bottle

 

 

Summer Sipping: UV Sangria

It’s a hot summer day in New York City with the sun shining and people watching at its peak. I find myself in a dilemma. On one hand, I couldn’t imagine anything better than a cool pitcher of red sangria and a picnic spread on the Great Lawn at Central Park. On the other hand, it’s hot and it’s Saturday and I just want to cut loose with some friends.

Enter: UV Sangria

This drink brings the best of both worlds with sweet notes of citrus and exotic fruit alongside that sultry burn of liquor. It’s the first ever of its kind, which makes you wonder, “Why has no one else thought of this yet??” (Note: UV Sriracha hit shelves just before this baby did.)

Upon my first sip, the hairs stood up on the back of my arms. Maybe, I just forgot this was vodka not the mulled juice I’m used to? Maybe it’s a drink that grows on you? Or maybe the more you drink the less you care? Whatever the case, my second go around proved successful as I mixed the spirit as it should be: pitcher-style for all to enjoy.

Combine UV Sangria with sprite, sliced fruit of your liking, and serve over ice for optimal boozing purposes. It’s the American twist on a Spanish classic that makes it perfect for cocktails during outdoor entertaining season and get-togethers with friends and family. (To be honest, it may be why my Fourth of July was such a hit.)

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Distilled four times, UV Sangria brings a blend of citrus with a light zest in the background, finishing with an exotic taste that lingers on the palate. UV Vodka offers a diverse portfolio of over 20 fun, colorful flavored vodkas. The lineup also includes interesting flavor profiles of UV Blue Raspberry, Sugar Crush, Cherry, Apple, Salty Watermelon, Chocolate Cake, and even Candy Bar.

The suggested retail price is $12.99 for a one liter bottle, $11.99 for a 750ml bottle and 99 cents for 50ml bottle.

Here are a couple recipes for your next summer gathering:

SANGRIA SUNRISE
1 part UV Sangria
1/3 part grenadine syrup
3 parts orange juice

Pour over ice & garnish with orange slice.


SANGRIA MARTINI
1 part UV Sangria
1 splash cranberry juice
1 splash triple sec

Shake with ice and strain in a martini glass

UV Vodka
www.uvvodka.com
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***Disclaimer: This beauty came to me for free from UV. God Bless America.

Reyka Vodka Unleashes Fall/Winter Cocktails

unnamedA couple weeks back, Reyka Vodka mixed things up with a night of delicious cool weather cocktails with National Brand Ambassador Trevor Schneider and Barter Beverage Director, Rocco Milano.  We were treated to three delicious cocktails (recipes below).

Reyka Vodka is an Icelandic vodka that uses lava rock filtration (which is so much better than that Brita shit) and the process is all made possible using geo-thermal energy powered by a local hot spring.  Reyka is made in small batches to ensure each bottle is up to snuff.

750 ml bottle: $19.99
1.75 ml bottle: $29.95

For more information about Reyka and additional recipes, visit www.reyka.com.


unnamed-13Autumn Harvest (Created by Trevor Schneider)
2 oz. Reyka vodka
2 oz. apple cider
1/2 oz. velvet falernum
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes apple bitters
Grated cinnamon for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedge for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with freshly grated cinnamon and garnish with lemon wedge. 

Crimson Diamond (Created by Rocco Milano)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.75 oz Simple SyrupTop with red wine

Combine all ingredients except the wine into a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a champagne flute and using a bar spoon slow pour a red wine float.  

Basil and Lime (Created by Rocco Milano and on tap at Barter)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz Basil Syrup
.5 oz Amer Picon

Combine all ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Fill an 8 oz footed Collins glass with crushed ice. Strain the shaker into the Collins glass. Smack a basil leaf to wake it up and add for garnish.

FALL into Skinnygirl Vodka

I consider it fate and not merely a coincidence that two bottles of Skinnygirl Vodka appeared on my doorstep on October 3rd, less than 24 short hours away from October 4th, which just so happens to be NATIONAL VODKA DAY.  As if that wasn’t enticement enough, Skinnygirl was kind enough to share some recipes featuring fall flavors (apple!) in order to help us kick off the season with a festive yet (practically) guilt-free libation! Ladies of DF/W (and guys … if you’re into that sort of thing), Halloween is rapidly approaching, and we need all the help we can get before it’s time to squeeze into this year’s “Sexy ____ “  (insert profession, zoo animal, beloved children’s character, etc.) getup.

First, a little bit about Skinnygirl Cocktails: Bethenny Frenkel’s (yup, that Bethenny Frenkel) line of low-calorie alcoholic indulgences came onto the scene with the introduction of the Skinnygirl Margarita back in 2011. Skinnygirls (and would-be Skinnygirls) near and far apparently clamored for more, as Bethenny has since rolled out a line of Skinnygirl ready-to-drink cocktails (I need to get my hands on the Skinnygirl mojito…), a Skinnygirl wine collection, and yes, a variety of Skinnygirl naturally flavored vodkas.

Skinnygirl Vodka with natural flavors is available in the following intriguing varieties:
– White Cherry Vodka
– Tangerine Vodka
– Cucumber Vodka
– Bare Naked Vodka

I received a bottle of the Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka in addition to a bottle of the Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka for my sampling pleasure.  I enlisted my boyfriend to join me in my taste-testing endeavor, and he agreed to do so. (Though he did request that I refer to this product line as, “Skinnypeople Vodka” in my write-up. Request denied.)

I prepared two of the “fall flavor” cocktails based on recipes Skinnygirl provided. I will give the disclaimer that each of these recipes can be prepared with either apple juice or apple cider. I was disappointed to learn that my neighborhood grocery store had yet to roll out their apple cider for the season when I went to pick up my non-alcoholic goodies, so I had to go the AJ route*. If you decide to replicate these tasty little treats, I might go for the cider if you have it available. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

*Note from Susie: surprisingly, WalMart usually has Martinelli’s Apple Cider in stock.

First, the unanimous favorite: the Crisp Apple Cooler. This seemingly simple cocktail consisted of Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka, apple juice, agave syrup, and a green apple garnish. Easy enough to throw together, right? This cocktail tasted like a delicious candy apple in a glass. The Skinnygirl Bare Naked Vodka was perfectly smooth and blended beautifully with my mixers. We could not discern that this was a low-calorie alternative to classic vodka. In other news, I think this would be uhh-mazing with a caramel rim. Wait, does that defeat the purpose of sipping on low-calorie booze? Let’s consider it a compromise.

Skinnygirl2Crisp Apple Cooler
1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
¾ part apple juice
¼ part agave syrup
Green apple slice for garnish

Stir agave syrup with vodka in the base of a shaker until the agave syrup dissolves. Add apple juice and shake thoroughly with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a green apple slice.

Next, the Fall Festival-tini, consisting of Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka, apple juice, light rum, and lemon for garnish. The tangerine flavor added some subtle interest to this grown-up apple juice concoction. I might suggest skipping the rum and doubling up on the Skinnygirl Tangerine if you are looking for a citrusy kick; especially if you are going the apple cider route. Heck, you could even get fancy and toss in some cinnamon, or nutmeg, for a festive punch.

Fall Festival-tini
1 part Skinnygirl® Tangerine Vodka
3 parts apple juice/cider
½ part light rum
Lemon wedge for garnish

Mix ingredients in a shaker, and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Just for good measure, we also sampled the Skinnygirl Tangerine Vodka on the rocks … you know, in the name of science. We found it to be light and refreshing, without any kind of a fake, “diet” taste. This was a pleasant surprise. With Skinnygirl’s help, I will be slithering into that “Sexy Orphan Annie” costume in no time.

Here are some additional Skinnygirl recipes, for your low-calorie sipping pleasure.

*Samples were provided free of charge. Thanks, Skinnygirl!*

Chopin Vodka

Upon my latest Susie Drinks Dallas delivery I immediately thought, “Yay vodka! Let’s make some drinks and kick off this weekend early!” Mind you it was only Tuesday and this was much needed. Then I figured I should skim the label and, to my surprise, I held potato vodka in my possession. Chopin Potato Vodka to be exact.

(Potatoes and I have a longstanding relationship. Mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, potato gratin, baked potatoes, potato skins and all the other which ways potatoes come …I love them all.)

Chopin came to the U.S. market in 1997 from Poland and has notes of vanilla, green apple and that ever-so-alluring earthy finish. It comes crafted from potatoes grown naturally (good news for all your organic, non-GMO sticklers), yeast and purified artesian well water. It takes 40 potatoes to make one 750 ml bottle of vodka. (That’s like … a whole sack’a’potatoes.)

I’ll break down the process for you: Cleaned and left unpeeled, the potatoes are pressure-cooked to create a “mash,” which ferments for three days. The fermented mash is distilled four times, creating an almost 100% alcohol spirit, which is then transported to Chopin’s bottling plant in nearby Siedlce, Poland. Here, it blends with artesian well water and filters five times before its final destination of master distiller Waldemar Durakiewicz.

Additionally Chopin produces a Rye (2011) and Wheat, the newest addition. Rye holds a medium body with hints of spice and aromas of rye dough. Wheat offers a bread dough nose with hints of honey and butterscotch. Basically, it sounds like you’re drinking a breadbasket. I would say that assumption rings fairly true, but it’s an interesting flavor profile that grows on you the more you give it a chance. The Rye and Wheat are close in flavor profile, but I felt the Potato finished smoother with less of a bite at the end.

The trio comes best served as the base for cocktails like martinis with extra olives or with a splash of cranberry and soda with lime.

Here’s a recipe for a “Chopin Cuban” using the Potato Vodka that I deem completely necessary as summer cocktail season winds to a close.

Chopin Cuban
3/4 tsp. sugar
3 fresh sprigs of mint
3/4 oz. lime juice
5 large ice cubes
2 oz. of Chopin Potato Vodka
a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.

Crush sugar, mint, and lime juice. Add ice cubes and Chopin Potato Vodka. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.


CHOPIN HAND MADE POLISH VODKA

www.chopinvodka.comFacebook | Twitter

 

**Disclaimer: I received this boozy bottle of potatoes for free from Chopin Vodka**

Dixie Vodka: Stand With the General

I honestly would buy this vodka just for the bottle. (You know those people that select liquor based on how pretty the bottle is? I may have been (slash am) a perpetrator of this act. Don’t judge.) But listen: this is one of those times where your creative selection process has worked out for the greater good of alcohol consumption.

There are so many great attributes to Dixie Vodka:

  • the price point for alcohol content
  • it’s 6 times distilled from American corn
  • it’s handcrafted in Charleston, SC and produced by a company named Chicken Cock Whiskey
  • it has a totes a badass mascot with an even more badass catchphrase:“Feared on the battlefield, admired in the ballroom & loved in the bedroom, General Beauregard Dixie.  Man amongst boys.  Stand with the General.”

Now, vodka isn’t my typical drink of choice, especially for shots, but this one made it tolerable (and dare I say … enjoyable?). That oh-so-familiar burn down the throat wasn’t as harsh as regular brands and its smoother finish makes it an easy choice cocktails or on the rocks. Supposedly, the brand is designed for Southern males, but ladies, I say grab your glasses and let’s sip on some Dixie Vodka at the gun range to give these men a run for their money.

General Dixie is available as straight vodka and also in two flavors: Black Pepper and Mint. It will feature signature drink recipes such as the Mint Julep Martini and Bloody Dixie (version of Bloody Mary), created by leading Charleston mixologists.

 

General Beauregard Dixie Vodka
islandclubbrands.com
Facebook: General Beauregard Dixie
Twitter: @GeneralDixie

**Disclaimer: I received this bottle for free from Dixie