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Issue Date: Summer 2007

Grape-Based Vodka

Laura Taxel
Make room at the table, connoisseurs of Cabernet and sippers of Syrah. Vodka drinkers can now talk terroir and varietals, too.
There’s a new crop of vodkas on the market — but don’t confuse them with grape-flavored or -infused vodkas. These are actually made from grapes. Idol, a premium brand from France, is made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, and Cîroc, another French import, starts with the same overripe frosted grapes found in cognac and mauzac blanc.

Traditionally, vodka begins with a mash of grains or potatoes. What distinguishes it from other liquors is the distillation and purification process, which yields a highly alcoholic spirit without any detectable color, flavor or aroma. It looks like water, but goes down like fire. Not anymore.
According to local bartender extraordinaire Dan Rogan, vodkas made from grapes retain something of their berry essence.
“Just as in wine, the character depends on the fruit,” he says, describing them as elegant, with a refined smoothness and distinct but subtle nuances and complexities.
Let the purists argue about whether or not they can be called vodka. Rogan recommends the rest of us give these new spirits a try over ice, chilled in a martini glass or blended into a cocktail. |!|
The Bacchus
Rogan created this drink, named after the Greek god of wine, just for Feast! readers. Visit him at Lola or fire food & drink, and he’ll make one especially for you.

Pour 2 small drops Chambord in a martini glass. Swirl and throw out any extra. Shake 3 ounces Cîroc vodka over ice in cocktail shaker and pour into glass. Vigorously rub one mint leaf along underside of lemon twist. Turn twist to release juice, and rim glass with broken underside. Drop mint leaf and twist in glass. Top with delicate float of Prosecco or Champagne.

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