August 6, 2009

Mixology Monday XLI: Vodka is Your Friend

0EE1C1B7-51D9-464A-9FD4-3362608E69F5.jpgAugust's Mixology Monday challenge is one that I had some trepidation I'm not much of a vodka fan...I think the asking price for what's essentially neutral grain or potato spirits on a lot of big name brands is ludicrous, and being relatively flavorless, vodka just never appealed to me. That being said, it is the first alcoholic beverage I ever had, so I suppose, deep down, there's a small part of me that still likes it (and hates it, for the same reason, presumably). But, as it turns out, there's a local distillery that produces a vodka that caught my attention despite all this, so I figured I'd see what I could make with it.

The distillery, as I've mentioned in my post on gin martinis, is Great Lakes Distillery, the founder and distiller is Guy Rehorst, and it's his name that's on the gin and vodkas. The vodka that caught my eye is Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Citrus and Honey Vodka. It's made with Wisconsin honey and real lemons, so my usual grumping about test tube flavors doesn't apply. And it's local, which is a big deal for me, because I like keeping as much of my money in the local economy as I can.

So, what did I make of it? Well, I came up with two drinks. One's pretty easy and straight forward, the other is a little more complicated, but has a lot more depth of flavor. We'll go with the simpler one first.
Milwaukee Lemonade

1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
2 1/2 oz Rehorst Citrus and Honey Vodka
seltzer to top
splash of pomegranate grenadine

shake all but seltzer and grenadine with ice, pour into ice filled DOF glass, top with seltzer, drizzle in grenadine.
This one really lets the vodka come to the forefront. It's a really great spirit in that, while it's got the fruit and honey in it, it's not overwhelmingly sweet. In fact, sipping the vodka straight, it's really smooth and mellow in the mouth, with no burn, and no cloying sweetness. I tasted the lemon first, and then the honey, faintly but there, in the back of my mouth. I really, really like this vodka. I mean really. Anyway, I mixed it with a little lemon juice and even less simple syrup, shook it up, added some seltzer for fizz, and drizzled in the pomegranate grenadine. It's pretty, and it's tasty, really letting the vodka shine.
Milwaukee Lemonade

The other drink I made is one that's got a lot of layers going on, but reflects my initial approach to mixing with this spirit; I was brainstorming what flavors complemented both lemon and honey and the first one I could think of was ginger. And so I ran with that.
Fiery Citrus Cocktail

a scant 1/2 oz thinly sliced ginger (unpeeled)
1 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz limoncello
2 oz Rehorst Citrus and Honey Vodka
dash of orange bitters

Muddle the ginger with the simple syrup, then add remaining ingredients. Shake all with ice, and double strain into glass
This one really has the ginger sitting in the forefront, but once that blast of heat dies down, then the lemon and the sweetness from the simple syrup and the round mouth-feel of the honey pipe up. This would be a good cocktail for soothing your throat, too, come winter, although my old college voice and diction teacher would kill me for suggesting that alcohol can soothe the throat. However, after a couple of these, you likely won't care if you actually feel better as long as you're not feeling anything! I like how this one turned out, but I think that the Milwaukee Lemonade showcases the spirit better.
Fiery Citrus Cocktail


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