Vodka is often overlooked as a neutral spirit but, like wine, it does have its own flavour profile too
I’ve had one too many experience with a bad house pour, as the quality of the vodka was quite terrible.
This gave me the impression that vodka always needs to be diluted in order to be drinkable. However, I am glad to say, after proper exposure and learning from industry experts, I have since changed my mind.
Nose to Shot Glass
Much like wine, when you get a shot of vodka, you should nose it to catch a whiff of its flavours.
Per Hermansson, Director of Sensory Strategy and Master Blender from The Absolut Company, created “A Taste of Perfection”, a class that teaches vodka appreciation techniques.
Hermansson’s methods break down the flavour profiles into neutral, grainy, bready, fruity and solvent, the last being the worst. He also teaches you to check the viscosity of the vodka by swirling it within the glass, which will result in either a clean or oily coating of the tongue.
Joe Petch, brand ambassador for Reyka Vodka in the United Kingdom, says, “Vodka has its own flavour profile like any spirit. It is simply more subtle and delicate than other categories such as whisky or rum.”
Should Vodka Be Drunk Neat?
Neutral-tasting vodkas are more suited to be taken shots or neat as they have a subtle rounded flavour that is easier to drink. However, vodka with a stronger flavour profile might be better in a cocktail in order to bring out the flavours more.
Petch says, “Like any quality or super premium spirit, it is great to taste it on its own and really appreciate it. However, adding subtle flavours that do not completely overpower the individual flavour profile, such as some light bitters, can indeed compliment the vodka and create a completely different experience.”
The next time you’re having a night out on the town and are about to have vodka, take some time to look out for the above characteristics for a more discerning taste of your shot.
By Cheryl Chia