I must start this post with a disclaimer: I do not like flavoured vodka. And yet, I keep finding myself in possession of mini bottles of it. This past weekend, for example, the swag bags from a corporate event I attended included no less that four bottles of UV Cake vodka. Yes, the vodka people have decided that it’s not enough to wreck the spirit with hints of bacon, cotton candy, salmon or even bubble gum, they have to push it beyond redemption by bottling it with a chemical flavour that approximates white cake.
Not one to let even the unworthiest booze go to waste, I set about searching the liquor cabinet for more flavoured vodkas because an idea was percolating: a flavoured vodka smackdown! Over the years I have collected many mini bottles (please note I do not pilfer hotel minibars or the airplane trolley for them; they arrive in the form of free samples or swag) including a mini of Skyy Infusions Grape, Smirnoff Grape and Absolut Orient Apple.
I decided to pit orient apple against cake, and sought out recipes that would highlight the charms of each, so it would be a fair competition.
Evidently the folks who cooked up UV Cake (and I use the term “cooked” because this chemical disaster tastes like it was brewed, Breaking Bad-style, in a mobile RV somewhere in New Mexico) didn’t realize it would mix well with absolutely nothing. Recipes featuring cake vodka include a Cake Beer Float (mixed with root beer), Cake Dreamsicle (mixed with Sprite and orange soda) and Cream Cake Soda (mixed with ginger ale). Since we have ginger ale on hand, I went with the Cream Cake Soda (1 part UV Cake vodka, 2 parts ginger ale). I took one sip, vomited in my mouth, then poured the rest down the drain.
Absolut Orient Apple, which sounds infinitely more sophisticated than cake vodka (there was no bias in this competition), had recipes to match. There’s an Apple Crush (shaken with scotch, apple juice and Benedictine), Apple Vermont (with maple syrup and bitters) and my favourite for spring, the Absolut Ginger Smash (built with mint, lemons and ginger ale). The trick to this cocktail is in the execution. I accidentally muddled the lemon’s pith, which added a bitter taste to the drink, so muddle lightly. While I didn’t really like this drink, it suffices if you come across a bottle of Absolut Orient Apple and don’t mind wasting your lemons and mint. It’s also at least drinkable (I didn’t vomit in my mouth), and thus wins the smackdown. Cheers!
Absolut Ginger Smash
- 2 oz Absolut Orient Apple
- 4-6 mint leaves
- 2 lemon slices
- Top ginger ale
Muddle mint leaves and lemon slices in a rocks glass. Fill glass with ice. Add vodka then top with ginger ale and stir.
— Recipe courtesy absolutdrinks.com