Originally published in Bloomberg Pursuits.
It may be a spirit that might never grace an award-winning bar menu or be spoken of in the hushed tones used for rare single malts. Yet flavored vodkas are coming of age.
“What’s tarnished their reputation is that a lot of brands put out flavors that were not naturally grown,” says Grey Goose global ambassador Joe McCanta, referring to flavors such as peanut butter and jelly and whipped cream. “It’s time for well-made and naturally flavored vodka to get respect.”
Matt Pechman, marketing vice president of Deep Eddy Vodka & Spirits, agrees. “Flavored vodka didn’t do itself any favors with the explosion of all the confectionary options,” he says. “Now ones that are the opposite of that are gaining traction with consumers.”
New products from brands such as Grey Goose, Belvedere Vodka, and Deep Eddy tout their all-natural processes. Distillation varies but essentially comes down to macerating “real” ingredients (such as ginger or grapefruit) to a base vodka without artificial additives. Sugar is sometimes added to make up for sweetness lost in the distilling process or to round out citrus notes.
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