Rye Vodka Cocktails

I’m not the biggest lover of vodka. Most of the time it’s masked by fruity mixers and cordials to create something that tastes more like childhood fruit punch than an adult beverage. I tend to the darker spirits like Scotch, bourbon and aged rum because I like a lot of different flavors in my booze. I like to get notes of wood, or spice, or vanilla caramel, and I don’t tend to get that sensation with vodka, light rum or gin, (though with some of the new, trendy gins I’m reassessing). And that brings me to my point: I like rye vodkas, just as I like rye whiskies, though the rye grain imparts different flavors in the two liquors. What I like is that I can discern a flavor beyond the burn of alcohol, even if charcoal-filtered for smoothness. If I am brutally honest, I have to admit that I like to smell my drinks. It comes from many years of wine tasting, but it’s what I like about Scotch, which has distinct terroirs like a wine and an Islay smells differently than a Speyside.RyeVodka

Recently I revisited a Polish rye vodka, Stanislav which touts its local premium rye grain and that the first distillation of five is in small copper stills, something that has made Texas’ Tito’s Vodka very popular. This manner of distillation gives a delicate smoothness to this “firewater” which is why so many vodka aficionados look for multiple distillations and filtrations. What’s neat about the Stanislav is that spicy, sweet note that rye brings to vodka. A surprisingly delicate nose of burnt marshmallow, banana peal and lime zest hit my nose as my palate gets a sweet spiciness from that 100% rye. The smooth characters on the palate are due to the five times distillation with the first being in small copper stills. This brings an elegance to this vodka that is reminiscent of Belvedere but at a third of the price. Like all vodka there is some heat on the finish, but it’s a mellow heat.

With a more flavorful vodka base I tend to make simpler cocktails, where those flavors can shine and are not masked with lots of sweet additives. A Vodka Tonic or a Vodka Soda would be my ideal cocktails with rye vodkas, and the Vodka Soda is calorie conscious as well. Since there are only a few ingredients, get a good tonic like the Fever Tree, since that will be a major flavor component. Use real citrus rather than juice from concentrate, and use the peel for extra flavor. For the Vodka Soda use the smaller size containers (10oz) of soda water with more carbonation and chill that vodka down in advance. Both of these drinks will let the flavors of the rye vodka sparkle. Cheers!

Vodka Tonic

2 oz Rye Vodka

4 oz Fever Tree Tonic Water

2 Lime Wedges

Large ice cubes

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour rye vodka in and top with tonic water. Squeeze the lime wedges over the drink and drop into glass and gently stir.

Vodka Soda

2 oz Rye Vodka

Club Soda, for floater

1 Lemon, squeezed

Lemon Peel Strips

Large Ice Cubes

The real trick here is to use large ice cubes rather than shaved ice and to use real lemon to get more punch out of these very few ingredients. In a Collins glass add the rye vodka, fill with ice cubes, top with club soda and squeeze the juice of one lemon using either the wedge or some nice lemon peel strips to garnish.

Daniel Eddy, Wine & Spirits Sales Manager


A World Whisky Day Cocktail

Celebrate the world of whisky with a cocktail fit for a whisky lover. We’re going all classic with the Whiskey Sour, an undeniably smooth cocktail made with citrus, egg white and, best of all, Scotch. Follow along with the video below to make the best Whiskey Sour you’ve ever tasted! Plus, save 10% when you order 2+ bottles of whisk(e)y online at abcfws.com! Just use WHISKEY10 at checkout!

Cheers to World Whisky Day!

Continue reading

Prohibition is Here

Prohibition 1.JPGYes, the days of Prohibition are upon us but not to panic! This Prohibition is the offering from Rocky Patel Cigars–not the end of alcoholic beverages. Although this is a bit of a dig at the FDA from Rocky suggesting that like the failure of Federal Prohibition in the 1920s, the current FDA regulations surrounding the cigar industry will prove to be another disaster–but we won’t delve into here.  Let’s just take a look at the Rocky Patel Prohibition cigars!

These tasty cigars come in two different selections, the Broadleaf and the Mexican. Both of the Prohibition cigars are produced at Rocky’s factory in Nicaragua and are produced only in the Toro size. The Broadleaf version uses Nicaraguan filler with a Brazilian binder and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The Mexican version uses a similar filler blend with a Brazilian binder but has a Mexican San Andres wrapper. The Mexican received an outstanding review from Cigar Insider with a 91 rating and that is the version I smoked for this blog. The Broadleaf version received a good rating also, however a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is one that can lend a taste to a cigar that not everyone admires. Continue reading

The views and flavors of Pouilly-Fumé

4.7 pouilly-fume.JPG

This French appellation is known for its white wines–specifically Sauvignon Blanc. But that’s no surprise because Sauvignon Blanc is the only grape grown in Pouilly-Fumé. Brightly flavored, though more subtle than New Zealand’s recently popular version, Sauvignon Blanc from Pouilly-Fumé shows well with lemon chicken, grilled fish and creamy cheeses. Try this delicious bottle from Jonathan Didier Pabiot!