I’m not known as a vodka drinker, but occasionally I’ve been known to sip small quantities of this often misunderstood, neutral grain spirit. You’ll note that I said grain. Most vodka is indeed distilled from grain. That’s too bad, because the vodka that I drank growing up was made from potatoes, imported from either Sweden or Russia.
It wasn’t until the last decade or so that I finally discovered the difference between grain and potato vodka. There is also vodka made from whey and another great favorite of mine, Barr Hill, made from fermented raw honey. But I digress. Truth is, there are very few vodkas on the market that I look for. Or thirst for. Until now.
Of course every one of my personal rules are meant to be broken, especially with a new brand to these shores from London, England. UK 5, Organic Vodka has caught my eye. Perhaps the ingredients, being USDA Certified Organic are important to me, this example is made from Organic German Rye.
Of course the price is very reasonable at DrinkupNY… It’s not priced like some of the boutique offerings from around the world. This one is under thirty dollars per bottle and it’s well worth your hard earned money!
I’ve experimented with many different varieties of vodka and I find for cocktails, the ones made from rye are most forgiving for both the amateur mixologist and the behind the stick professionals. Rye vodka has a spicy and zesty nose, a crisp finish and oodles of aromatics that fill your memories.
UK 5 is also Vegan, if you follow those trends…
UK 5 vodka tastes wonderful over a large cube of homemade ice or crafted into mixology level cocktails. I prefer the latter because if you want to drink it straight up, you won’t need to do anything to it. But if you want to learn how to mix it up a bit, keep reading- because I have a recipe that will stimulate your appetite and quench your thirst.
I’m a huge fan of Sorel, the next ingredient in my brilliant, summer refresher. Sorel is handmade by my friendJackie Summers in Brooklyn, NY. It is chock-full of Caribbean islands flavors: Cloves, Cassia, Ginger Hibiscus, Cane Sugar and organic New York grain alcohol for a bit of a buzz.The combination of Sorel and UK 5 vodka is the beginning of this pre-soda pop refresher, set firmly in the modern context.
Shrubs or what are known as drinking vinegars are quite delicious in the warm summer months because they provide refreshment without artificial ingredients. Just like the UK 5 vodka is made with all organic ingredients, drinking vinegars are also made without preservatives or chemicals. I suggest one that anyone can make, not just former cooks like myself. This Shrub is as easy as opening a bottle of organic sour cherry preserves and adding a portion of robust, balsamic vinegar. It only takes a couple of hours to set the flavors before using. I’m thrilled to tell you that a “shrub in a hurry” is a great way of quenching your thirst when you are short on time or you’re really on Island Time.
The Cherry Shrub
2 oz. Organic Sour Cherry Preserves
2 oz. Balsamic Vinegar
Combine Organic Sour Cherry Preserves with the Balsamic Vinegar, stir together to combine in a non-reactive bowl
Let sit at room temp for a few hours, covered and then force through a sieve
The remaining liquid is your fast Shrub
The combination of UK 5 vodka, Sorel, the sour cherry preserves in a fast Shrub and a final application of Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters is a very refreshing drink that will keep you coming back for more. With or without the alcohol, this drink says refreshment.
The Shock of Discovery Fizz
2 oz. UK 5 Organic Vodka
1 oz. Sorel Liqueur
1 oz. Sour Cherry Shrub
2 oz. Seltzer Water (Unflavored)
2-3 shakes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Twist of lemon zest
Add a couple handmade cubes of ice to a large Burgundy wine glass
Rub the rim with your lemon zest and drop into the glass
Add the UK 5 vodka along with the Sorel and top with seltzer, stir
Dot across the top with the Bitter Truth Bitters for good digestion!
Cheers from DrinkUpNY!
Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys. His first book, Apothecary Cocktails has been nominated for a Spirited Award at the 2014 Tales of the Cocktail!