If the modern mixologist is an artist, then his or her palette has expanded exponentially in recent years with the advent of dozens – scores, even – of vodkas with unusual and even sometimes bizarre flavors.
“It began a couple of years ago, and this past year has really picked up – it’s become the big thing,” says Ranch Acres Wine & Spirits manager Emily Stewart. Ranch Acres itself carries 15-20 flavors and Stewart says demand is so high that the store is having to find more shelf room to keep up with varieties.
While citrus and a handful of other flavored vodkas have been around for years, never before has there been such variety. Manufacturers across the spectrum are producing flavors such as cotton candy, birthday cake, marshmallow, caramel and even bacon. The tastes tend to derive from artificial flavorings, but that hasn’t deterred fans – and it doesn’t look to change anytime soon.
“I feel like it’s a new section and will remain so unless classic cocktails make a big comeback,” Stewart says. “There’s really been a cocktail revolution, and people are interested in making different and interesting cocktails at home. Everyone drinks vodka and people come up with the cleverest cocktails.”