The cocktail resurgence is blooming at an exponential rate in the UK with an estimated 6% of all spirits purchased being drank in a cocktail. Although a great many classic cocktails are vodka based (Cosmopolitan, Bloody Mary), you would be forgiven for trampling this spirit underfoot as you clamber forward to marvel at one of the of the gin/rum based infusions that are dominating the scene. It seems that the old stalwart has fallen by the wayside and is it any wonder? If you mix it with coke then you taste coke, if you mix it with red bull ….. you get the idea! By its very nature, gins production offers lots of scope to introduce different flavours through the use of botanicals and rum has seen an explosion in popularity amongst the young and trendy, spawning and influx of sweet, spiced and flavoured varieties. So, that’s it then, vodka is dead and buried.
I wouldn’t count on it! Vodka has an amazing knack of adapting to new trends – just look at a few of the new flavoured vodka products that have been released recently;
This is just the tip of an ever expanding list of vodkas that are adapting to their fluid climate like a chameleon; those lizards have been around for millions of years! Of the 171 new vodkas that were released last year, 122 of them were flavoured or blended. That is certainly a telling sign that this spirit has reacted to its more flavoursome cousins and has re-positioned itself accordingly. If you look over the pond to our American cousins then you will see that the vodka industry has experienced growth for the 17th consecutive year – that is pretty impressive considering the global recession! The US has also spawned a trend of savoury flavoured vodkas – bacon being amongst the most bizarre! Whilst this is not yet en trend here in the UK, don’t be surprised if we end up following suit, even if it is in a more typically reserved British fashion. A case in point would be Black Cow Vodka. The brain child of Jason Barber, a dairy farmer from Dorset, this full strength vodka is made from milk of all things! To some that may sounds like a stomach churning drink (it did to me to begin with) but I can assure you it is very smooth, creamy and delicious!
I’m not saying by any means that you should be discounting gin, rum or any other spirit. There are some wonderful innovations occurring across the board, many driven by the cocktail boom, that are worthy of your attention. Just do not make the mistake of thinking that vodka is a thing of the past, as it is constantly changing to meet the needs of today’s market. After all, their is no better blank canvas to create the cocktails from – the Cosmopolitan and its ilk are called classics for a reason you know!