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House or premium vodka for my gimlets?

  • efdee Aug 27, 2007 03:14 PM

I love gimlets but always order the house vodka b/c I don't think that it makes a difference in the taste (at home I use Gordon's). Do you think it does? And if so, what vodka would you choose? TIA.

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  1. Oh dear LORD please tell me you are kidding!

    First of all let me say this. The quality of the Vodka ABSOLUTELY effects the overall taste of a gimlet (and/ or any good drink) as does the juice.

    Personally I love Vodka, I have over 40 varieties in my home-stocked bar. and I can tell you straight off the ones I find I use for my own personal use the most are:

    Ketel One.
    John Stark (hey I live in NH)
    Pravda
    and believe it or not I also like
    V. (yes that is its name)

    Please try them just once.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gryphonskeeper

      We made gimlets using: all fresh lime juice; half fresh/half Rose's; and all Rose's, and ended up preferring all Rose's, but am open to other juice suggestions. Thanks for all the good vodka info. Looking forward to continuing my gimlet research : )

    2. I can tell a difference in different brands.

      I drink much of my vodka straight and some in a very dry martini. Before I started drinking vodka straight, I didn't think it mattered, but most of my vodka at that time was Smirnoff.

      Drinking "from the freezer" vodka, I can tell the difference between a couple of brands.

      I think a Rose's lime gimlet would hide the flavor of the vodka, but I knew someone who was searching for the perfect Bloody Mary and would adjust ingredients based on the brand of vodka.

      By defination, vodka is flavorless, for your application, try going down in price until you notice a difference.

      Almost all of my bar drink orders are call, unless the well is better than my call.

      My current bottle is Kirkland's Vodka, backed up with 80 proof Smirnoff (tried 100 proof on a business trip and liked it enough to try the 80). Tried several others, usually in the $30 (California) range before tax for a 1.75l bottle. FWIW, 1.75l bottles of 80 proof liquor start around $50 in Alaska. I don't know what I would choose, I like to drink a brand for a while and try different brands when an opportunity presents itself.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Alan408

        Aaah! Fellow vodka gimlet drinkers! This has been my signature drink for quite a few years now. I absolutely need to order specific vodka. I'm generally a Ketel One gimlet straight up. I learned my lesson on cheap vodka years ago (& also that I can't tolerate gin). I think Belvedere is decent, and if there's no Ketel, I can tolerate Absolut or Stoli.

        1. re: Alan408

          "I think a Rose's lime gimlet would hide the flavor of the vodka"

          It ain't a gimlet if it ain't made with Rose's. And really, if it's not made with gin...

          1. re: ultramagnetic

            I agree about the Rose's - hate it when bartenders think they are making a more upscale drink by using fresh lime juice.

          2. re: Alan408

            Actually, Smirnoff's did quite well in a recent test:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/26/din...

            A Humble Old Label Ices Its Rivals
            By ERIC ASIMOV

            Published: January 26, 2005

            It was not exactly a victory for the underdog, but chalk it up as a triumph of the unexpected.

            The idea for the Dining section's tasting panel was to sample a range of the new high-end unflavored vodkas that have come on the market in the last few years in their beautifully designed bottles and to compare them with a selection of established super-premium brands. To broaden the comparison, or possibly as a bit of mischief, our tasting coordinator, Bernard Kirsch, added to our blind tasting a bottle of Smirnoff, the single best-selling unflavored vodka in the United States, but a definite step down in status, marketing and bottle design.

            After the 21 vodkas were sipped and the results compiled, the Smirnoff was our hands-down favorite...

            Tasting Report: In the Best-Selling Category, a Best Seller Stands Out

            BEST VALUE
            Smirnoff United States Grain
            80 proof
            $13
            ***
            Pure, clean and ultrasmooth, with pleasing texture and classic vodka aroma.

            Wyborowa Poland Single Estate Rye
            80 proof 1 liter
            $30
            ***
            Elegant and intriguing, with mild flavors and great persistence.

            Belvedere Poland Rye
            80 proof 1 liter
            $34
            ***
            Great smoothness and purity, with good texture and body.

            Absolut Sweden Level Grain
            80 proof
            $24
            ** 1/2
            Smooth and substantial, with flavors of flowers, lemon grass or nuts.

            Hangar 1 United States Straight Wheat and Grain
            80 proof
            $30
            ** 1/2
            Pleasing, with complex flavors and a suggestion of sweetness.

            Vox Netherlands Wheat
            80 proof
            $23
            ** 1/2
            Smooth and neutral, with savory flavors and a touch of alcoholic heat.

            Olifant Netherlands Grain
            80 proof 1 liter
            $17
            **
            Subtle, yet rich and complex.

            42 Below New Zealand Wheat
            84 proof
            $24
            **
            Straightforward, pure and smooth.

            Skyy United States Grain
            80 proof 1 liter
            $16
            **
            Unusual flavors of mint and lime.

            Teton Glacier United States Potato
            80 proof 1 liter
            $20
            **
            Clean and light on the palate; odorless and tasteless.

          3. I'd think in a gimlet, you'd want the best vodka you can get in it, or at least the one you prefer.

            However, in a Bloody, I imagine it would be near impossible to tell a difference...between the tomato juice, the horseradish, worchestershire, hots, etc, I'd expect the vodka to be totally buried

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

              no, a good vodka in a bloody makes a difference to me.

              in gimlets, i prefer stoli, myself--though i'd get chopin or ketel in an up or rocks vodka martini (true gin martini traditionalists, please save it for another thread).

              if the op doesn't want to hike her/his bar tab up too significantly ordering high-call vodka gimlets, s/he should try smirnoff as you suggest. it's much smoother than rail vodka and is and economical first tier call at most places. by ordering a smirnoff gimlet rather than a bar pour one the op will get twice as good of a drink for about a buck more.

            2. If the vodka is crap, the mixed drink is crap. Pure and simple. Take it from a polish foodie - you need the best you can afford. For me, potato vodka is the best (Luksusowa). Then Grey Goose and Chopin or Belvedere.

              It's like in cooking, if you start with the best ingredients, you'll get the best tasting result.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maisonbistro

                I, too am a Luksusowa fan. I think a real Gimlet needs Rose's and gin. No bar puts enough Rose's in one and if they did the well gin would be fine.
                dave

                1. re: maisonbistro

                  Second the rec for Luksusowa.
                  But, my hands down favorite is a traditional wheat based vodka from Russia called Youri Dolgoruki. Best I've had...