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25/09/2013

Vodka tonic vies for gin's top position

In recent years, gin and tonic has become the mixed drink par excellence; however, another distilled beverage is making a name for itself among drinkers. Vodka is clamoring for the spotlight and has reinvented itself with new premium labels for more discerning, demanding consumers.

Verónica Martos. Journalist. @martosveronica

Vodka tonic, a less aromatic cocktail than gin, is gaining ground in bars in the UK and the US. According to distribution companies, vodka sales expanded by 30% in 2012. However, Spaniards still prefer gin and tonic or, failing that, cocktails with soft drinks.

Vodka consumption in Spain increased by 86% between 1990 and 2010 (Nielsen data), with Baltic and Nordic countries leading the way in terms of production. However, some of the most prestigious premium brand vodkas come from Russia, Ukraine, France, Poland, Croatia, the UK, and even Spain. The preferred drink of the czars is making a place for itself in the Spanish market with a view to nabbing gin and tonic's top spot.  

The origin of vodka is still not entirely clear, but its roots lie in Russia and Poland. It is a distilled beverage made primarily of water and ethanol, but may contain other flavorings in small quantities. It is made by distilling fermented grains and other plants with a high starch content, such as rye, wheat and potato. Alcoholic content ranges from 37% to 50% by volume, although traditional Russian and Polish vodkas are 40%.

Wikispanishfood.com took a closer look at some of the leading premium vodkas available in Spain. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the reign of vodka tonic.

Blat Vodka (Destilería Blat)

Type: Advanced

Preparation: This Spanish vodka is produced in the Canary Islands and has 0.0% impurities. Blat uses a system of distillation and filtration to obtain this high level of purity.  

Tasting notes: Aromatic, with smoky touches and notes of oat, malt and wheat. It is velvety and subtly sweet on the palate, with floral and creamy attributes.

Tonic: Q-Tonic

Beluga Noble Russian (Bodegas Torres)

Type: Ultra-premium

Preparation: This Russian vodka, considered one of the best in the world, is filtered three to five times with quartz sand and birch charcoal impregnated with silver with a view to eliminating all impurities. This singular process combines the best malt spirit, made entirely through natural processes, and spring water, extracted from a 300-meter deep aquifer and with unique mineral properties.

Tasting notes: Aromatically speaking, it has notes of smooth malt spirit. It is flavorful and delicate on the palate, with a refreshing and deep aftertaste.

Tonic: 1724

Citadelle 6C (Cognac Ferrand)

Type: Smooth premium

Preparation: Citadelle 6C is made with top-flight French wheat from Île-de-France and water from the Gensac River. This vodka undergoes six distillations with Capet wheat. A copper pot still is used during the sixth distillation, when a very small quantity of spices are also incorporated.

Tasting notes: This vodka has notes of grass, and especially juniper, as well as slight citric touches. It is smooth and subtle on the palate.

Tonic: Fever Tree

Kievskaya (Destilerias MG)

Type: Premium

Preparation: This Ukrainian vodka is made through a quadruple distillation process with wheat, and triple filtration.

Tasting notes: It is crystal clear and very bright with steely flashes. The aroma is fine, with delicate well-integrated alcohol. On the palate it is serious, smooth, flavorful and dry, with a citric finish.

Tonic: Fentimans

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