Unfortunately, the sweet (sometimes creepy) flavored vodka category is the #1 seller at the liquor store nowadays. Aside from the philosophy attached to this, let me remind you that vodka is still a legitimate cocktail ingredient, and occasionally, vodka flavors are great additions to the liquor shelf.
Exhibit A: Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka. Distilled and infused at a small Oregon distillery along with a tarragon vodka, it escapes all the trappings of modern “flavored” vodkas, aligning itself more with gourmet cooking than with Katy Perry’s bra.
Sub Rosa has designed a beautiful and simple bottle to showcase the electric-yellow saffron vodka within. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice at $500-5,000 per pound, and this vodka is rich, aromatic, and savory. Intense flavor like this is usually found in gins, not vodkas. On first taste, I thought about potential cocktail partners for such a unique flavor, and both lemon and olive came to mind. A martini variation is a good start:
Saffron Martini (by Greg Mays)
- 2 oz Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka
- 1/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz olive juice
- shake with lots of ice, double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- olive garnish
Thanks for giving our Saffron vodka a spin. Below is one of my favorites. More juice oriented, but balances the fruit and the citrus nicely. The grinds of fresh black pepper really make this cocktail pop.
2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
3 oz. Apricot nectar
3 grinds Black pepper
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup; ginger simple syrup or Domaine Canton ginger liqueur
Chill over ice, shake vigorously, serve up. Three grinds black pepper to top off the cocktail. Alternatively, build and serve on the rocks. We’ve also used a curry / sugar rim with this cocktail before but the black pepper with a thin wheel of lime also is quite nice.