Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kamikaze Cocktail

I don't know how we've made it this long before making a cocktail with vodka.

In the United States, vodka is the best selling alcohol (scotch rules the rest of the world).  We drink it in vodka tonics, vodka sodas, vodka Red Bulls, and any other vodka-plus-something combinations that we can come up with.  Vodka is everywhere, and it doesn't seem like a month goes by without a new vodka issuance being set out on our local store shelves.

So what is vodka?  It's distilled alcohol from any number of things that can fermant - but most often from potatoes or grains.  The word "vodka" is derived from the Slavic word voda, and people have taken the derivation to mean little water.  You didn't know this, but I'm fluent in Slavic.  Or, maybe I just looked up vodka on Wikipedia.  You decide!

There are two lines of thought related to the taste of vodka.  Some will tell you that it's supposed to have no flavor, and others will say that vodka is absolutely supposed to have flavor, albeit subtle flavor, and that the no-flavor camp are a bunch of idiots.  I'd say that neither camp is being fair to the other (and what's up with the name calling, flavor-camp - inappropriate!). 

Vodkas will taste different as a result of each vodkas production method.  It is those differences that comprise the flavor profiles of the particular vodka.  You could safely say that vodkas are not supposed to have any off-notes in their flavor profile, though you could say that about any drink - alcohol or otherwise.

Forgive me for this analogy, but, it's kind of like the differences between bottled water.  Dasani tastes a bit different than Aquafina.  This example is suspect as a result of the fact that water is indeed not supposed to have a flavor (it's the best I could come up with).  I'll spare you further analogies and simply point you to this great article in The Atlantic, from 2004 - it provides a better vodka history than I can provide in this space. 

Here we are though, with the shot promoted from single-A ball to the Majors, the Kamikaze Cocktail. 

The Ultimate Bar Book, page 319

Kamikaze Cocktail

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau (or triple sec)
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Shake the ingredients with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Phew, this is a strong one.  This is not like any kamikaze shot I've had in the past, largely perhaps because it's something I can't throw back in quick succession. 

This drink doesn't really suit my tastes.  I like vodka, but I've never acquired a taste for it.  Mask it in a mix of other ingredients and I'm good to go, but on its own, I'm just not with it.  For the Amateur Mixologist, the Kamikaze Cocktail has just too much vodka, and not enough filler to make it palatable. 

All of which is not to say that this is a bad drink.  I'm sure a vodka lover would dig it in ways that I'm not feeling.  I will say that I appreciate the few additions to this drink.  As mentioned on other posts, I think there is something to said for tasting the flavor of the main liquor.  If you're not a fan of the main liquor though, this principle doesn't might not work out so well for the drinker.

Kamikaze Cocktail - it's a winner if you love vodka, and probably a touch strong if you're a little meh on the little water.

Get your Trapper Keeper in check and your number 2 pencil sharpened because tomorrow, we're going back to school (and high brow) on you - the Harvard Cooler! 

For more content, updates, random musings, and my attempts to be witty, check us out @IMakeDrinks on Twitter.


JML on April 15, 2010 at 10:55 AM said...

just a few days ago I had the makers of Bakon Vodka in my office trying to promote themselves. I'd say they are pretty much the propel water of the vodka world.

An interesting concoction

Prosciutto-wrapped Melon Shot

• 3 parts Bakon Vodka
• 2 parts melon liqueur

Serve in a shot glass with a salted rim

(I'm trying to make the Kamikaze Cocktail sound appealing)

The Amateur Mixologist on April 15, 2010 at 12:59 PM said...

I love bacon, but the bacon-craze that's swept the nation the last few years has to be reigned in a bit, right? I mean, Bacon Vodka?

I thought it might end at Baconnaise (, though apparently I was wrong. :)

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