The Spirit

Vodka. The pure, clean spirit.

Vodka is known as the mixable spirit. Since it only has trace flavours of its own, it merely strengthens whatever it is mixed with and doesn't clash with the flavours. Enterprising drinkers will mix vodka with almost anything--Gatorade, milk, energy drinks, juice, even club soda (talk about a light drink).

Thirty or forty years ago, vodka was most often mixed with vermouth to make a vodka martini. Vodka was supplanting gin in this famous drink as the public came to appreciate its dry profile. From the martini, vodka found its way into the Gibson, Gimlet, and Collins. For breakfast, vodka was put into service in the Bloody Mary and the Screwdriver. At the pool, it was served in the Greyhound and the Chi Chi. And after a sumptuous meal, your after dinner drink might be a Black Russian or a Godmother.

Later on in the 20th Century, shooters became popular and vodka played a big part in the Sex on the Beach, Kamikaze, Purple Hooter, and Lemon Drop. At home there were assorted flavours of Jell-O shots. Now you have vodka and Red Bull or any other kind of energy drink.

Differences in flavour between vodkas are subtle, but they are there. Most often flavour and body is determined by the ingredients that were used in the mash.