Reviews Vodka Reviews

Vodka Review: Absolut Vodka

This post was sponsored by Absolut Vodka.

Study a bottle of Absolut Vodka. Sleek and elegant, its shape is now iconic, but was once revelatory. Study the contents and you’ll immediately note that the liquid inside is impeccably pure and clear.

None of this happened by accident, but rather is the product of meticulous Swedish craftsmanship and design. Absolut may be a multinational company producing millions of bottles of vodka to be enjoyed all around the world. But they’re still doing things the right way.

In the town of Ähus, Sweden, a 400-year-old village with cobblestone streets, they’ve been making vodka for the better half of a millennium. This is where Absolut vodka is made. All of the Absolut vodka. Each and every one of the 650,000 bottles produced every day is made in this community.

Absolut is made exclusively from winter wheat grown in the Skane region of Sweden. The vodka used is from the local aquifers, which are noted for their clarity. Even so, the distillers take the extra step of filtering the water to ensure that it is as pure as possible

All of this allows the company to produce a product that is of consistently and reliably high quality. No matter where you purchase a bottle of Absolut vodka, you can be sure that you’re going to get what you expect.

In the glass, Absolut is transparent, with no color or sediment obscuring it. It looks like the purest glass of water you’ve ever seen. Its aroma is one of cereal grains and faint ethanol, with none of the whiffs of acetone that mar poor quality vodka.

In the mouth, it has a slight sweetness to start, with little fire to announce its arrival. There is again the hint of cereal grains and vanilla, but the flavor is subtle. Spirits reviewers hate the term “smooth” because it’s so nebulous. But it is the word I keep thinking of. As the vodka moves around your mouth, it gradually heats up and dries out, leaving a slight bitterness and pleasant tingling on the tongue.

At the risk of sounding like a cliché, the proof is in the bottle. Some in the spirits world look down their noses at vodka, as if it doesn’t take a craftsman’s skill to make a spirit this fine. But it does, and the distillers at Absolut have that skill.

Absolut Vodka Logo


Absolut Vodka paid a fee for this post’s inclusion here on Professor Cocktail, but in no way did they dictate or control the content. The thoughts expressed here, and the words chosen to express them, are strictly and completely our own.

Aquavit Aquavit Reviews Drink Recipes Spirits Reviews Tiki

Aquavit Review: Krogstad Aquavit

Krogstad AquavitKrogstad Aquavit
Final Grade: A
Price: $26 (750ml)

Aquavit (or Akvavit) is a traditional Scandinavian distilled spirit. It begins life as a neutral grain (or potato) spirit, just as vodka and gin do. It is then infused with various herbs and spices, notably star anise and caraway seeds. In that sense, it's similar to a Danish/Swedish/Norwegian version of gin.

Krogstad Aquavit, however, is made in the United States, by the distilling wizards at Oregon's House Spirits. They have crafted their aquavit based on a traditional Scandinavian recipe, and distilled it to perfection, recently winning a double gold medal and being named "Best of Class" at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

It's easy to see why Krogstad Aquavit has won such acclaim. It's a beautifully pure and viscous spirit; very interesting just swirling in the glass. It has a wonderful aroma of licorice (anise), with dill lurking underneath it.

The flavor matches the smell — mostly sweet licorice, but not cloyingly so. There's a little dill in there as well, and some spice. (I assume that's from the caraway seeds.) Although it's 80 proof, it's not overly hot. It has a long, spicy finish that really dances around your tongue, without being overpowering.

Aquavit is an unfamiliar spirit to most Americans, but it's one that's well worth exploring — and Krogstad makes a perfect place to start. It's tasty and well balanced, with flavors that are familiar, yet presented in a new way.

With the exciting work being done by various craft bartenders around the country, it should come as no surprise that aquavit is finding its way into the mixing tins of inventive mixologists. Naturally, I wanted to try it in a cocktail.

I didn't feel creative enough to create one out of whole cloth, so I turned to the expertise of Martin Cate, owner and bartender at Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco's acclaimed rum bar. Martin mixes up an aquavit cocktail called the Norwegian Paralysis, based on an old drink called the Polynesian Paralysis. Here is my version, a minor variation of Martin's.


Norwegian_paralysisNorwegian Paralysis

1 oz Aquavit
1 oz Rum
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Orgeat
1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice, then strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


Report Card

Quality Grade: A
Value Grade: A-
Final Grade: A