Understandably, vodka continues to get little respect among the cocktail intelligentsia (yes, there’s a cocktail intelligentsia now). And yet: People like vodka. Have them over in fair weather, they will ask you for it. Doesn’t mean you have to stock the usual overpriced, flavorless stuff. Tito’s, a craft distillery in Austin, is gaining notoriety for their creamy, pot still vodka, made from 100 percent corn. And Comb, another independent American label, has a unique sweet, honey character, resulting from its distillation with orange blossom honey.
Go-To Cocktail: Yuzu Gimlet
Among mixologists, Dale DeGroff—pioneer of the cocktail revolution at the Rainbow Room, author of The Essential Cocktail and President of the Museum of the American Cocktail—needs no introduction. He was working on something new for Absolut Wild Tea when we reached him, and tweaked it for us.
1 ½ oz Vodka
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz Yuzu Juice (the bottled variety will work, but be sure it’s juice, not the salty extract)
½ oz Honey Syrup
¼ Ripe Kiwi (peeled)
Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker (including kiwi) with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin lime wheel.
How to Make Honey Syrup: Add one part water to two parts honey, stir for 3-minutes (or until honey and water is well mixed).
Double Mesh Strainer
Cocktail (Martini) Glass