Tag Archives: Vodka

Van Gogh Flavored Vodkas

A rep from the Dutch distiller Royal Dirkzwager came to the Bedford store this past Saturday to share with customers samples from its Van Gogh product line. Tasters were duly impressed.

Vodka itself is nothing more than neutral spirit. Distillers use grains (as in Van Gogh’s case) or potatoes as the sugar base for fermentation. They then distill the product of this fermentation. After fermentation, they filter the product to remove flavor impurities.

The result: plain vodka. Distillers flavor this pure spirit through infusion.

We tasted three representatives from the nearly twenty in Van Gogh’s extensive flavored vodka product line, Dutch Caramel, Dutch Chocolate, and Double Espresso. The craftsmanship shows.

Van Gogh vodkas start with high quality water and receive three distillations and multiple filterings. Great purity results. Van Gogh’s flavored vodkas then receive a double infusion. We do not know the nature of the process but it takes six weeks. Obviously no instant flavors are used.

We’re guessing that double infusion accounts for the tremendous depth of flavor in these vodkas. You taste the pure expression of the flavor.

Most flavored vodkas seem to aim for just an aromatic suggestion of flavor. Van Gogh’s taste more like liqueurs, albeit not so sweet. Intensity is the watchword. Each of the three vodkas offered concentrated flavor that lasts and lasts. These vodkas taste absolutely delicious straight, with deep, pure flavors and aromas.

And that would be enough. But you can do more with these vodkas than drink them straight. Try adding some to brownies, puddings, or cakes. Pour some in coffee. And naturally, a world of mixed drink possibilities exist.

The Van Gogh website offers loads of recipes for each flavor. We addend a few of their recipes below.

And just to engage you even more, each bottling offers a different commissioned image on the bottle, each one inspired by Van Gogh. You may want to keep the decorative bottles after you’ve emptied them.

Recipes

Just a few recipes for using Van Gogh Vodkas. More available at the website.

Chocolate Almond Kiss

1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate
1 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1 oz Cream

Double Hazelnut

1 oz Van Gogh Double Espresso
1 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
Splash of cream

Dutch Coffee Bomb Shot

1 oz Van Gogh Dutch Caramel
1 oz Van Gogh Double Espresso
½ oz Irish Cream
Fill with stout ale

Tito’s Vodka

Tito's Vodka

Before the 1950s, one rarely saw vodka in this country. By the mid 70s, it had overtaken bourbon as the number one spirit here. Its neutral flavor mixes with and complements other ingredients.

Vodka begins with the fermentation of a range of possible sugar/starch sources like wheat, corn, rye, potatoes, sorghum, and others. Multiple distillations then refine the product, concentrating the alcohol content and removing impurities. Most producers also filter the product.

At this stage, the product can be 90% alcohol or more (180 proof!). Producers add water to reach legally-defined and potable levels. In the US, vodka must be 40 percent alcohol (80 proof). The European Union sets the mark a little lower.

Plain vodkas are not strongly flavored, but that does not mean they are flavorless. Cleanness, purity, and smoothness mark the best vodkas. Tito’s stands as our case in point.

Tito’s Vodka relies on the handiwork of Tito Beveridge, of Austin, Texas. Trained as a geologist for the oil industry, he somehow entered the mortgage business. During this time, Tito began making vodka infusions for his friends. Starting a distillery proved the logical next step.

It’s the old story of working hard, learning through experience, and maxing out the credit cards. Despite lacking the backing of the big distributors, the brand grew. Wildly popular in the Austin area, Tito’s Vodka is now gaining a superlative national reputation. While unlikely ever to outstrip Smirnoff in terms of sales, Tito’s Vodka has made its mark. A Wine Enthusiast tasting gave Tito’s a score of 95, topping Ketel One (89), Grey Goose (84), and Belvedere (84).

No longer a one man operation, Beveridge’s operation remains small. He makes just one product: a corn-based, gluten-free vodka. Beveridge aimed to create one that can be sipped neat, without mixing or infusion.

The result of Tito’s effort shows exceptional roundness. Not harsh at all, it is a pleasure to sip. The flavor is clean and bright, with a faint sweetness. Adding something as simple as an olive or a citrus peel creates a magnificent cocktail. And that’s just the beginning.

Serving Suggestions

    • By itself. Chill the vodka in the fridge or ice bucket, or add ice. Serve with enough air space in the glass to allow you to enjoy the aroma. Add a strip of lemon, lime or orange peel, for that extra something.
    • In cocktails. Vodka, especially good ones like Tito’s, blend beautifully in drinks. The flavor complements and reinforces those of the other ingredients.
    • As an infusion. Infusion is simply a matter soaking flavoring ingredients in vodka until the flavor has been extracted. Be creative: spices, herbs, or fruit can all be used. Or try a vanilla bean, or coffee, chocolate…  the possibilities are endless.

Tito’s website provides instructional videos, go here.

We carry Tito’s Vodka in numerous bottle sizes. This is a premium vodka at a mid-range price. Give it a try.

$31.99/1.75l
$18/99/1l
$11.99/750ml
$7.45/375ml
$1.79/100ml