Vodka is undeniably a massively popular spirit both in Ireland and across the world. It is a very versatile spirit and the perfect base for mixed drinks and cocktails where vodka's clean flavour supports the other ingredients, whether that’s a Mosco Mule or a vodka and coke.
Vodka is traditionally made by distilling fermented grain or potatoes however it can be made from any starch or sugar source with some produced through the dilution and filtering of mass produced ethanol. The lack of definition on base ingredients and the perceived simplicity of the spirit and can lead it to being dismissed as simply an ‘alcohol product’.
However, a quiet vodka renaissance is growing with some excellent premium quality vodkas being produced that showcase the subtlety of the flavours possible with the spirit. With the success of Irish distilleries producing some fantastic whiskey and gin, the poor cousin of the spirits family sometimes gets overshadowed. While Irish whiskies and gins are grabbing all the headlines it may be easy to miss the excellent vodkas being produced on our shores.
Well here are three great Irish vodkas that will set the record straight. These are small batch, craft vodkas that show that while vodka may be a clean, clear spirit, it need not be tasteless.
Ruby Blue is Irelands first potato based vodka. The potato base gives this vodka a full smooth rich mouthfeel while the flavour is earthy with vanilla and crisp apple notes along with a little heat in the finish. Hughes recommend trying it with some quality lemonade over ice with a slice of apple and a sprig of thyme to garnish.
Blackwater Copper Still Vodka describe their vodka as ‘clean, bright and ever so slightly sweet’. Blackwater use a small amount of redistilled gin tails when producing their vodka to soften out the mouthfeel. Why is it called Copper still? This is distilled using their copper still ‘Sally’, usually found making their award winning No5 gin. All the contact with the copper over the nearly 12-hour distillation period results in a more refined and smoother spirit.
Dingle Distillery Vodka is distilled using grain alcohol however unusually for vodka it is distilled for a fifth time. This gives the spirit a lighter, cleaner purity of flavour. The clean profile and smooth creamy texture means it can be enjoyed neat but also makes the perfect base for a vodka martini.
So, whether you are drinking a classic vodka martini, or chose to sip it straight, make sure you choose a great vodka.