Vodka used to be the king of spirits. In some ways, it still is, being the top-selling spirit category in the world, and some of the brands were the highest-selling in the world in terms of volume.
These days, it still accounts for about 29% of total spirit sales worldwide, according to an August 2017 report by IWSR (International Wines and Spirits Record), but sales of the category have been declining over the past year. In fact, a huge decline in vodka sales has been blamed for the overall decline in global alcohol sales, with other spirits like gin, tequila and whisky picking up the slack. There are signs that vodka could make a comeback, however, thanks to the rise of craft spirits and more unique entries into the category.
I have to admit, I’ve not been giving vodka a lot of attention in this column lately. So, I decided to do a little research (meaning I Googled “vodka news”) for any interesting vodka-related stories.
Weather With You
How would you like to try some vodka that uses water from clouds and fog?
According a story on The Spirits Business, Aermoor Vodka is distilled from fresh molasses at the Hilton Head Distillery in South Carolina, United States, and proofed down with water sourced directly from the clouds above Hilton Head Island.
Distillery owner Joe Fenten said: “We’ve used the finest water source there is – water sourced directly from the atmosphere. The result is crisp and delicious vodka that will appeal to everyone.”
California-based distiller Hangar 1, on the other hand, uses “fog-caught” water from San Francisco Bay to make its Fog Point Vodka. Fog Point is the result of a partnership between Hangar 1 and FogQuest, a not-for-profit venture that develops alternative water sources.
Man-made FogQuest fog catchers are used to capture water particles condensed into clouds of vapour that form fog. Hangar 1 then collects the water and uses it to cut its vodka to 40% ABV. Fog Point vodka is said to be “round and floral”, with “nosing and tasting notes of vanilla, cream, honeysuckle, vanilla, citrus, and pear”.
Vodka Among Thieves
Last month, it was reported that a 1.1mil euro (RM5.34mil) bottle of Russo-Baltique vodka, believed to be the most expensive in the world, was stolen from Café 33, a museum and bar in Copenhagen.
The Spirits Business reported that the vodka, which was on loan to the museum, came in a bottle decorated with silver and gold, and has a diamond-encrusted Russian Imperial eagle on its cap. It was produced by military car manufacturer Dartz in honour of the 1912 Russo-Baltique rally car. The bottle even made an appearance in Season 3 of House Of Cards.
The case took a twist worthy of the Netflix drama a few days later, when the bottle was found discarded at a construction site, damaged, and utterly drained of vodka. In an interview with The New York Times, Café 33 owner Brian Ingberg speculated that the thief probably “got cold feet” because of the huge amount of publicity the theft had garnered.
One thing is for sure though, the thief sure had expensive taste in vodka.
Next comes perhaps one of the oddest marketing pitches for a vodka I have ever heard.
According to The Drinks Business, Vita Citric Spirit Vodka is a sugar-free, gluten-free spirit that is specially designed to be mixed with water.
Yes, you read that right. Water.
As you may know, the word “vodka” is derived from the Slavic “voda”, which means “little water”. Vodka is traditionally made from potatoes or grain, which produces a largely colourless and flavourless spirit that is then diluted with water.
You may think that mixing water into a vodka that already pretty much tastes of water may seem pointless. But Vita Citrus Vodka’s creators – industrial engineer Víctor Ruiz Lafita and former investment banker Fadrique Balmaseda – beg to differ.
Having noticed that most bars in London mixed vodka with soda water (which they disliked), the two friends came up with the idea of creating a spirit that is designed to be mixed with water, thus “avoiding sugar and other additives and balancing the dehydration produced by alcohol”, according to Lafita.
Made with Italian rye grain and natural lemon peel extract in a family-owned distillery in Barcelona, Vita Citrus Vodka is targeted to those who want to “enjoy things while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle”.