The czar of flavors: flavored vodkas and their cocktails create buzz everywhere.Whether it's a Royale Martini (vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice) hand shaken tableside ta·ble·side
The area beside or around a table, especially in a restaurant.
adv. & adj.
Made or prepared alongside a table: lamb that was carved tableside; a tableside recitation of the menu. at Bistro Bella Vita, Grand Rapids Grand Rapids, city (1990 pop. 189,126), seat of Kent co., SW central Mich., on the Grand River; inc. 1850. The second largest city in the state, it is a distribution, wholesale, and industrial center for an area that yields fruit, dairy products, farm produce, , MI; a vodka-enhanced Sinful Smoothie smooth·ie also smooth·y
n. pl. smooth·ies Slang
1. A person regarded as being assured and artfully ingratiating in manner.
2. A smooth-tongued person. served at Swig in Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal. , NM; or the sophisticated Black Tie Bawls Bawls Guarana is a soft drink containing a relatively large amount of caffeine (approximately 107 mg per 16 oz can and 66.7 mg per 10 oz bottle). It contains caffeine and natural guarana flavor among other ingredients.
Bawls Guarana is produced by a company of the same name. at DC's trendy Zola's, vodka cocktails continue to dominate bars and restaurants.
There doesn't seem to be any end in sight to their incendiary INCENDIARY, crim. law. One who maliciously and willfully sets another person's house on fire; one guilty of the crime of arson.
2. This offence is punished by the statute laws of the different states according to their several provisions. popularity, either. Recently released Adams Beverage Group figures for 2002 show two of the top three overall spirit brands, five of the eight Rising Stars, eight of 35 Established Growth Brands and six of 16 Comeback Brands are vodkas. Vodka now accounts for more than 25% of all spirit sales in the US, and as flavored vodkas flood the market (there are approximately 100 individual brand flavors now sold in the US) indications are the sky's the limit.
Vodkas made from potatoes, rye, wheat, even grapes keep hitting the market, made in Idaho and France, Minnesota and Scotland, California and Estonia, Norway and Russia. There are straight, neutral spirit versions, as well as a growing spectrum of flavors: lemon, lime, orange, raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, bilberry bilberry
Low-growing deciduous shrub (Vaccinium myrtillus) of the heath family, found in woods and on heaths, chiefly in hilly districts of Britain, northern Europe, and Asia. The stiff stems bear small egg-shaped leaves and small rosy flowers tinged with green. , currant currant, northern shrub of the family Saxifragaceae (saxifrage family), of the same genus (Ribes) as the gooseberry bush. The tart berries of the currant may be black, white, or red; the white gooseberry becomes purple when mature. , pineapple, cherry, apple, peach, melon, vanilla, chocolate, honey, pepper.
Even ten years ago, selling expensive call brand vodkas outside of Absolut and Stolichnaya was difficult. Vodka was supposed to be the spirit without taste or flavor, and odorless o·dor·less
Having no odor.
o to boot. "Once they decided to go out of that box, the category took off," says Ralph Rosenberg, director of wine and spirits, Star Restaurant Group, Washington, DC. "Today, people want more flavor in everything; their palates for wine food and liquor are more educated."
EXPLOSION OF FLAVOR
Stolichnaya and Absolut were the first to take the step to flavor. Absolut now has five flavors five flavors,
n in the dietary component of Chinese medicine, the five basic tastes into which foods are divided, each of which has different physiologic actions. after it recently launched Absolut Vanilia to join Peppar, Citron citron (sĭt`rən), name for a tree (Citrus medica) of the family Rutaceae (orange family), and for its fruit, the earliest of the citrus fruits to be introduced to Europe from Asia. , Kurant and Mandrin. Stoli just added Cranberi and Citros to join Ohranj, Limonnaya (Lemon), Razberi (Raspberry), Vanil (Vanilla) and Strasberi (Strawberry).
Other distillers have since joined the fray. Luctor's Van Gogh offers six flavors: lemon, lime, orange, wild apple, Dutch chocolate and now pineapple. Grey Goose has orange and citrus, and will soon add vanilla. Ketel One Ketel One Vodka is distilled from 100% wheat and made at the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Holland. It is distilled in alembic copper pot stills, filtered over loose charcoal, and rests in tile lined tanks until ready. has Citroen, Finlandia lime and cranberry, Fris has lime, and Skyy just added berry, vanilla and spice. Some more unusual, premium flavors have come from California and grabbed shelf space in some high-style bars: Domaine Charbay's Meyer lemon The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit, native to China, thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the United States in 1908 as S.P.I. , blood orange, key lime Key lime
1. A lime indigenous to the Florida Keys, having a yellow rind and yellowish-green fruit.
2. A yellowish green.
Noun 1. and ruby red grapefruit, and Hangar One's straight vodka, Buddha's Hand Buddha's Hand, Buddha's Hand citron, or Fingered citron (Citrus medica var. , kaffir lime and mandarin blossom.
The shelf space fight promises to be more pitched for flavors than it was for imported vodkas. In discussions at the cheers Beverage Conference last February in New Orleans, Cheers editorial advisory board members reported that, for the most part, consumers have yet to identify flavored vodkas with specific brands (with perhaps Grey Goose the only exception), leaving lots of room for brands to battle it out.
SERVING THEM UP
Some of the sweeter drinks made with these flavored vodkas seem to appeal more to twenty-something audience. Star's Rosenberg notes that the Apple Martini especially appeals to the 25-year-old client. At Swig in Santa Fe, a club that attracts that younger crowd, popular drinks include the Panty Dropper drop·per
A device that produces drops, especially a small tube with a suction bulb at one end for drawing in a liquid and releasing it in drops. Also called instillator.
1. (Vincent Van Gogh Wild Appel Vodka, green apple puree pu·rée or pu·ree
tr.v. pu·réed or pu·reed, pu·rée·ing or pu·ree·ing, pu·rées or pu·rees
To rub through a strainer or process (food) in a blender.
n. and a splash of Mathilde Peches liqueur liqueur (lĭkûr`), strong alcoholic beverage made of almost neutral spirits, flavored with herb mixtures, fruits, or other materials, and usually sweetened. The name derives from the Latin word to melt. with a cinnamon sugar rim, $10); Key Lime Pie Key lime pie is a dessert made of key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. The pie is topped with meringue, then baked until the meringue is a golden brown. Some key lime pies use other types of whipped toppings or none at all. (Stoli Vanil Vodka, Citronage orange liqueur, squeeze of lime, splash of lime soda and a cinnamon sugar rim, $9) and White Chocolate (Stoli Vanil Vodka with Godiva White Chocolate and Frangelico liqueurs Liqueurs are high-alcohol, high-sugar beverages with added flavorings usually derived from herbs, fruits, or nuts.
Liqueurs are distinct from flavored liquors, fruit brandy and eau de vie which contain no sugar.
Most liqueurs range between 15 and 70 percent alcohol by volume. , $11).
Some cocktails have definite appeal to distinct groups. The Cosmopolitan has been dubbed a woman's drink, apparently because of its pink color (and perhaps due to the popularity of TV's "Sex and the City.") Rosenberg found a way around that stumbling block by making Cosmos with white cranberry juice and now men order them as often as women, he says.
People with really spicy palates are drawn to cocktails made with pepper vodkas. At Incognito in·cog·ni·to
adv. & adj.
With one's identity disguised or concealed.
n. pl. in·cog·ni·tos
1. One whose identity is disguised or concealed.
2. in Fox Lake, IL, the Cajun Martini is made with Absolut Pepper Vodka and a dash of dry vermouth, chilled, shaken and served straight up with a pickled jalapeno pepper, $6. Their Cajun Bloody Mary is also made with Absolut Peppar, tomato juice and a dash of salt and cayenne pepper garnished with lime and celery stalk, $5.
Vodka's new flavors have found a way to break through to Asian themed restaurant menus. Dragonfly dragonfly, any insect of the order Odonata, which also includes the damselfly. Members of this order are generally large predatory insects and characteristically have chewing mouthparts and four membranous, net-veined wings; they undergo complete metamorphosis. Mandarin, an upscale Chinese restaurant in Chicago where a Martini lounge has attracted a late-night, eclectic mixed-age crowd, lists flavored vodka cocktails to match its food menu. The Fire Fly does well with spicier palates, made with Finlandia Lime Vodka, jalapeno pepper Bloody Mary mix and Tabasco Sauce, garnished with olives, $6. A sweeter drink, the Sassy Saffron, is made with Stoli Razberi, Du Bouchett Peach Schnapps schnapps
n. pl. schnapps
Any of various strong dry liquors, such as a strong Dutch gin.
[German Schnaps, mouthful, schnapps, from Low German snaps, from , Midori and cranberry juice, $8; and the restaurant's signature drink, the Dragonfly, has a definite fruity appeal, made with Absolut Mandarin, Du Bouchett Blue Curacao, orange and pineapple juices, $10.
Pan-Asian Karma karma or karman (kär`mə, kär`mən), [Skt.,=action, work, or ritual], basic concept common to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. , located in Mundlein near chicago, offers a variety of vodka drinks including the Chocolate Kiss Martini for two, (White Godiva Liqueur, Dark Godiva Liqueur and Stoli Vanil Vodka served in a large Martini glass rimmed with shaved chocolate and garnished with a chocolate kiss, $10); the Karma Electra (Stoli Razberi Vodka, Midori, splash of orange juice and three splashes Sprite, with a drop of Chambord in bottom of the glass and garnished with an orange slice, $7) and the Lemon Drop Martini (Absolut Citron, sour mix, splash of Sprite, $6).
Harry Denton's Starlight Room, on top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco (a Cheers Classic Award winner in 2001) recently added award-winning mixologist Marco Dionysos to its staff as the new beverage specialist. The new menu he created features both his own take on classic drinks and on historic Harry Denton's signature cocktails. He updated a Harry's favorite, the Sunsplash, by using Stoli Ohranj along with curacao, lemon juice, cranberry juice and orange juice. Other new Harry's favorites include the Dutch Chocolate Kiss (vanilla vodka, Vermeer chocolate cream liqueur and splash of cream) and Apple Delight (Van Gogh apple, apple liqueur and lemon juice garnished with brandied cherries.
NOT READY FOR UPSCALE
Vodka martinis are historically associated with the sophisticated, upscale experience. But some midscale restaurants that tend to cater to families but which also have full bars have introduced the flavored vodka cocktail to their menus. Even when the check average is lower, patrons are willing to shell out for a good beverage with premium pour liquor.
Flat Top Grill headquartered in Chicago with restaurants in the Chicago area, Arlington, VA and Fort Wayne, IN, with a create-your-own stir-fry concept, is geared to a multi-generational crowd. The full bar lists what operators call "Classic Urban Martinis," using premium pour vodkas. The list includes the Mandrin Dreamsicle (Absolut Mandrin and Absolut Vanilia with orange juice and a splash of cream), The Ruby (Absolut Citron and ruby red grapefruit juice), and two cocktails using Vox Vodka with flavored schnapps.
At Fuzio's, a seven unit casual concept featuring noodle-based international pasta dishes with locations in San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC, full bars promote specialty Martinis, Vodka Martinis include the signature Fuziotini (Smirnoff Citrus Twist vodka, triple sec and fresh lime juice floating on a layer of Chambord), Berytini (Stoli Razberi and Stoli Strasberi vodkas with cranberry juice) and the Sour Apple (Smirnoff Citrus Twist vodka and apple liqueur), all selling for $7.95.
BRING ON THE DRAMA
With the advent of flavored vodkas in the 1980s, the era of the dramatic Alternatini began. Purists may argue that these cocktails are nothing like classic Martinis, but they have helped revive the long-stemmed, shaken and strained cocktail that has swept the country. Taking the stylish shaking tableside has boosted sales even further.
At Grand Rapids' Bistro Bella Vita, 800 to 900 tableside-made Martinis are served per week. The bar rotates 40 to 45 vodkas on the house list and always stocks 12 to 15 call brand vodkas available. "We have a lot, of people coming in who haven't been here before," says James Burg, general manager for the restaurant. "Our educated staff offers descriptions of our vodkas akin to wine description. We then offer to have them taste half a dozen half shots and they usually latch on to one or two."
The best selling Martini there is Bistro Blues (raspberry vodka and blue curacao) with a splash of sour mix and Sprite and a cherry garnish, selling for $6.75. Next is Cold-Hearted (Stoli Vanilla, strawberry cream liqueur and pineapple juice) $6.25. Burg says Bistro Bella Vista uses a lot of flavored vodkas in their drinks, many of them high-end brands. "But once you start mixing juices and sour mixes in with the flavored vodkas, the need for high end vodka is not necessary," he says. "If they want to upgrade to a higher brand than we use normally in a vodka cocktail, then they pay a service charge."
ON THE BAWL
In DC, Rosenberg knows how to pour on the theater at both Zola's and Red Sage. He learned the ropes from Jeremiah Tower at Stars in San Francisco, where all of the artful desserts were carried into the dining room high so that customers could get a look at them (and, presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. , be tempted into ordering them.) "I think it really works to be flamboyant. People like to feel good when they are dining out and it's up to us to create that energy," he says.
One of the things he does is to send out a tray of mini Red Sage Martinis as a complimentary amuse, especially since the restaurant is celebrating its 10th anniversary. "I bring them out in cute little 3-oz. Martini glasses with the red-sugared rims and lime wheel garnish. Patrons just go wild over them and I will often sell 20 full-sized Martinis at $6.75 a pop, once they see how refreshing and flavorful a drink it is." The Red Sage is made with Charbay Blood Orange vodka, Bacardi Tropico and natural blood orange juice. Rosenberg uses fresh blood orange juice when in season, and a frozen concentrate with pulp the rest of the year.
Spirit companies are fond of introducing new flavors and products to Rosenberg because he's open to experimenting. Recently, a salesperson came in with Blavod Black Vodka from England. On a whim, he decided to try mixing it with Bawls Guarana guarana /gua·ra·na/ (gwah-rah´nah) [Tupi-Guarani] the Brazilian woody vine Paullinia cupana, or a dried paste prepared from its seeds which is used as a stimulant and tonic in folk medicine and for the treatment of headache in , a naturally caffeinated and lightly carbonated Brazilian soft drink with an herbal/cream soda flavor. In a ratio of one to one, and garnished with a lemon pigtail A cable that has an appropriate connector on one end and loose wires on the other. It is designed to patch into an existing line or to terminate the ends of a long run. Contrast with patch cord. twist, the combination created a drink with a steely gray color that actually, he says, is quite refreshing.
Rosenberg dubbed it the Black Tie Bawls after a James Bond movie scene, and now serves it to great acclaim at Zola's, a great tie-in with the Spy Museum next door. Congressmen and Senators alike are ordering the black Martini. "It has an interesting flavor, not too sophisticated, not too sweet, with an herbal quality. It's not too boozy tasting, though I warn people of its potency. One congressman calls it his elixir elixir /elix·ir/ (e-lik´ser) a clear, sweetened, alcohol-containing, usually hydroalcoholic liquid containing flavoring substances and sometimes active medicinal ingredients.
n. , his power drink, because the caffeine hit makes him feel great and it looks elegant." The drink has a sensational appearance with the gray color and contrast of the yellow lemon garnish.
RELATED ARTICLE: LOOKING GOOD
Glasses are important parts of the vodka cocktail presentation. At both Red Sage and Zola's in DC, drinks reserved in 10-oz delicate Martini glasses. "The apex goes into e stem a little a lilt the edge and just a little bit ** to the bowl of the glass and it has ** thin stem," says Ralph Rose ** of wine and spirits, Stat** Group. "Yes, there's a lot of breakage, but when the glasses are all lined up on the bar filled with ice to chill them, it invites patrons to order a Martini. It's the key to our beverage program. The detail is important. You have to make the drink both sound and look good," Rosenberg explains.
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