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November 23rd is
NATIONAL ESPRESSO DAY
To celebrate espresso I have come up with a new version of the White Russian, an old classic of Kahlua, vodka and cream - my Not So White Russian Martini!
I was inspired when I got my sample of Smirnoff's Whipped Cream Vodka today and gave it my usual taste test whirl. First, I opened the bottle and took a nice deep whiff - believe it or not, one of the first things involved with drinking (and eating) is your olfactory sense. Your nose plays a large part in the flavor profile of anything you ingest. What wafted up from this bottle first was a distinct smell of caramelized sugar. It put me more in mind of a baked custard than whipped cream.
My next step is to taste the vodka straight - at room temperature and ice cold out of the freezer. In this case, the freezer was not the vodka's best friend, it was more pleasant warm, I think the cold disguised some of the warm caramel elements and brought forth more of the vodka qualities. The burn was more pleasant on the warm vodka as well, it was cozy and like cuddling up into a nice blanket on a rainy day.
I was pleasantly surprised by this "vodka". I fully expected an over done, imitation vanilla flavor with a bitter after taste and what I got was a pleasant, sweet sipping liqueur - and I do think that this new "vodka" is more of a liqueur than an infused vodka. It's extremely sweet, which is not the usual case with an infused vodka. I also noticed that the bottle lip was sticky which means sugar has been added. To me that means a liqueur as opposed to a base spirit (liquor).
But I won't quibble about the issue - heck, I'm the woman who will put just about anything in a martini glass and call it a martini! If Smirnoff and others want to call their whipped cream liqueurs "vodka" more power to them. All I care about is are they good and can I make a good martini from them!
As for my Not So White Russian Martini, well it's not so white and it's not so Russian because of the addition of espresso to the classic White Russian recipe - but it's still a great cocktail for National Espresso Day!
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