Vodka. You’re probably already thinking of hardy Russians, frozen landscapes and tough drinking, yet the word vodka loosely translates as “little water”, which couldn’t sound more innocent. Vodka
is the most flexible of bar staples: its deliberate anonymity is its greatest strength and makes it the core of hundreds of mixed drinks. Vodka is the white canvas upon which any array of colours and flavours can be painted. The reason behind vodka’s incredible flexibility is in its definition.
To be vodka, the spirit must be colourless, odourless and flavourless. It can’t taste like cinnamon, or juniper or honey, it must be as pure a spirit - in every sense of the word - as you can imagine. Whilst there are few things as delicious as a black Russian or a simple screwdriver, let’s look at some variations to get you mixologist status in no time at all. Anyone that can open and pour from a bottle can make these simple and delicious drinks.
Let’s start with a twist on a classic: the Vodkatini. It’s called a Vodkatini because a Martini is made with gin. Start with cold vodka, as it gives the spirit more texture. I like to use a local product from Tasmania called Firedrum. It’s a full and delicious vodka produced from wheat and made at Sullivans Cove, the award-winning whisky distillers. Start with a wash of Napoleon Mandarine - 10mls will easily coat the inside of the glass and give great citrus notes. Pour in 60mls of chilled Firedrum vodka and garnish with a sprig of rosemary. To add a little more comfort to the drink, add 5mls of crème de cacao for a hit of chocolate.
Made with passion and pine
If you want something more fruity, start with one passionfruit (strain out the seeds by pushing through a sieve) muddled in the bottom of a low-ball glass. Add a teaspoon of castor sugar if the passionfruit is too tart and 30mls of pineapple juice. Vodka O distilled from whey is a great vodka to use in this cocktail. It’s distilled 4 times and produces a super-smooth and pure vodka. Add 30mls of Vodka O and top up with ice and Scwheppes Agrum for a little bite.
Rum ‘N’ Raisin cocktail
To warm away the autumn chills, head into chocolate territory. Crystal Head vodka, the brainchild of Blues Brothers actor Dan Ackroyd, is an easy choice with spice and chocolate. In a low ball glass build your own version of rum and raisin brownies. 10mls of crème de cacao, 30mls of Rutherglen Muscat, 20mls of Crystal Head vodka and 5mls of spiced rum like Sailor Jerry. An orange twist is perfect with these stronger, deeper flavours and you can even include some fresh chopped chilli for a little more fun. An alternate to the rum is cognac or some good quality brandy. Serve on ice. Heavenly!
There is no limit to what you can create with Vodka, so throw out the rule book and start creating today.