Cocktail Hacker

    Hack What You Drink

Archive for September, 2011

Review – Reyka Vodka

Posted by Reese On September - 13 - 2011

Reyka VodkaWhat first struck me as I looked at the review bottle of Reyka vodka I had been sent was the bottle itself and not how you’d think.  The bottle design is unique with “Iceland” (it’s home country) embossed around the shoulder, but that’s not what caught my eye.  What I really enjoy is the glass itself.  In a time where things are becoming purer, cleaner, more sterile, the glass in the Reyka bottle has tiny bubbles.  It reminds me of an earlier time when things were made by hand.  Now, don’t think I need saving from my naive views.  I have no doubt this design detail was fully intentional.  Matters not to me, though, I like it.

Okay, moving on to what you’re really interested in, the spirit itself.  The color, as you’d fully expect is crystal clear.  The aroma is of clean alcohol only and the flavor is crisp and tremendously clean.  There is no aftertaste and the finish is very short.  This is a top shelf vodka to be sure.  This is going to sound campy, so brace yourself.  This vodka tastes like my mental image of Iceland.  Crisp glacial water flowing over lava rock.  Expanses of open country.  A slower pace of life.  Almost a return to times gone by.  Campiness over, thanks for indulging me.

So, here’s the key point.  I like this vodka.  It’s crisp, clean and nearly flavor/odorless.  Exactly what you’re looking for in a high quality vodka.  To make things even better, it’s reasonably priced ~$30 depending where you go.  And, to seal the deal, it just won the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition held in London.

Skál!


† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.

Bee’s Knees

Posted by Reese On September - 7 - 2011

For me, certain cocktails are inexorably linked to points in time and space.  The Daiquiri is linked, in my mind, to the thriving nightlife of Cuba in the 1930′s.  The Martini to the 1980′s.  The Cosmo will forever be tied to Sex in the City and, going forward, the Bee’s Knees will be the cocktail linked to the Flappers of the 1920′s.

The term bee’s knees originated as flapper slang.  Other notables from that era that survive include “the cat’s meow” and “the big cheese”.  I digress.  The Bee’s Knees reminds me of a time when spirits were of poor quality (Prohibition).  Think “bathtub gin” and masking their flavors was priority number one in cocktail creation.  This cocktail, however, does that subtly, without over-masking the flavors of the spirits.

Bee's Knees

Bee's Knees (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Honey Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice
2) Shake until well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass 

Some notes.  First, honey syrup is super simple.  One part water, one part honey, shake, done.  Next, note the ratio of lemon to syrup.  The 1:1 ratio is key on this one.  That ratio balances the sweet and sour perfectly.  For a sweeter or drier cocktail you can increase or decrease both ingredients, just keep them in balance.

So, what’s the long and short on this cocktail?  It’s great.  The gin comes through as the clear star.  Go with a complex gin, you’ll be well rewarded.  As for the honey, my first suggestion is to go with something local.  You’ll get the flavors of your terroir, to be pompous, and you’ll be supporting local business.  Though, if you’re feeling bold, try a varietal honey like orange flower or clover.  Though, be prepared with an equally bold gin to stand up to the honey’s flavor.

In summary, this drink really is the Bee’s Knees.  Okay, that was lame, but give this cocktail a try.  It’s good, I promise.