The Alchemist’s tasting panel samples B.C. vodkas for a taste of the province’s most crowd-pleasing spirit
Nazdarovya! With the FIFA World Cup kicking off this month in Russia, our thoughts have turned to vodka. (That and Neymar’s incredible comeback, of course.)
Vodka is often described as a “colourless, odourless, flavourless” spirit, but its clean subtlety is sometimes just what we crave. And so we asked our Alchemist tasting panel comprising some of Vancouver’s top bartenders—Olivia Povarchook of Vij’s Restaurant, Katie Ingram of Toptable Group and Josh Pape of Gooseneck Hospitality (Wildebeest, Bells and Whistles, Bufala, Lucky Taco)—to sample eight artisanal B.C. vodkas, share their thoughts and suggest cocktails to make with them.
This refreshing cocktail recipe from Odd Society Spirits makes an ideal patio sipper.
• 1.5 oz Odd Society Elderflower Liqueur
• 1 oz Odd Society East Vancouver vodka
• 1 oz fresh lemon juice
• 0.3 oz simple syrup
• 1 egg white or 1 dash of Ms. Betters Bitters Miraculous Foamer
This award-winning cocktail was created by Chiara Fung, premium bartender at H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore.
• 2 oz Stolichnaya Premium Vodka
• 1.25 oz fresh lemon juice
• 1 oz charred pineapple cordial (see recipe below)
• 1 oz pineapple jam (see recipe below)
• Garnish: dehydrated pineapple slice, pineapple leaves
Shake ingredients with ice and double-strain into a double rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with dehydrated pineapple slice and two pineapple leaves. Serves 1.
Yuzu (aka. citrus junos) is a rare hybrid citrus fruit popular in Japan that has been historically cultivated as a herbal remedy. Prized by bartenders, the fruit’s aroma and flavour offers a rare and complex blend of lime, lemon, grapefruit and mandarin orange.
• 1oz of Shin Premium Yuzu Wine
• 1oz Vanilla Vodka
• 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
• 1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
• 1/4 oz Simple Syrup
Shake with ice and serve in a sugar-rimmed martini glass.
• Crow’s Nest Vodka
• Crow’s Nest White Rum
• Crow’s Nest Spiced Rum
Crow’s Nest Vodka
FRAGRANCE:Faint vanilla. FLAVOUR:Cinnamon spice. FEEL:Clean and crisp. FINISH:Short and pleasant, light vanilla. BEST ENJOYED:Vodka soda. THE BOTTOM LINE:Extraordinarily clean and crisp, true to the essence of vodka as a neutral grain spirit. —Robyn Gray, October 2017
FRAGRANCE:Just alcohol. FLAVOUR:Sweet. White pepper. FEEL:Silky and balanced. FINISH:Short but pleasant. BEST ENJOYED:Chilled. Minimal dilution. Makes a good Martini. THE BOTTOM LINE:Very easy-drinking vodka.—Josh Pape, October 2017
FRAGRANCE:Amazing nose of fresh baked cinnamon buns, quince tarte tatin and cream cheese. FLAVOUR:Apple candy sweetness dominates. FEEL:Very light viscosity. FINISH:Sweet finish with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. Astringent, bitter notes. BEST ENJOYED:In hot apple cider on a fall day. THE BOTTOM LINE:Could use more viscosity and natural apple flavour. —Shaun Layton, October 2017
This simple but elegant vodka fizz is a clean canvas for your own experimentation.
• 1.25 oz (35 mL) Grey Goose vodka
• 0.75 oz (22 mL) St. Germain elderflower liqueur
• 0.75 oz (22 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
• 2.5 oz (75 mL) chilled soda water
Place vodka, elderflower liqueur and lime juice in a cocktail shaker along with some ice. Shake vigorously. Fine strain into a chilled flute or large wine glass and charge with soda water. If you like, add a few cubes of ice and garnish with a slice of lime. Serves 1.