Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Boomerang Threw Me

The most important ingredients in vodka, it's been said, are ethyl alcohol, water and marketing. Since 1979 a pretty bottle and some swank ads have tacked from ten to thirty dollars to the price while delivering a negligible amount of flavor. However, the quality of ingredients and distillation should be your focus when choosing a vodka.

I've long been a fan of potato vodka. It has an earthy flavor and mouth feel that plays well with olives and lemon twists alike. My freezer usually contains a bottle of Vodka Monopolowa from Trader Joe's for cooking or in case of a vodka martini emergency. And unlike pricey, characterless grain-based vodkas it's $9.99 for a liter.

Recently T.J.'s began carrying something I hadn't tried before, a vodka made in the Australian style of distilling grapes. Five-times distilled and produced with 100% chardonnay grapes from Australia's Barossa Valley, Boomerang Australian Vodka has a clean, fresh taste that manages to hold onto some of the earthy qualities of its source material. It's not quite what I get from potato vodkas, but it is quite good. And it comes with nearly no advertising and a truly ugly bottle that makes the price $5.99 for 750 ml. Compare that to Grey Goose at $29.99 for the same volume. Grey Goose is delicious, but is it that much more delicious? Not for my palate.

Vodka Monopolowa and Boomerang Vodka are currently only available from California Trader Joe's locations that carry alcohol.


A Bottle Only a Bat-Blind Marketing Exec Could Love