What can you say about vodka that already hasn’t been uttered?
Vodka is the Garanimals of the cocktail world. It’ll match with about everything within reason.
From “Sex in the City”’s cute little Cosmos to Fernand Petiot’s famous Bloody Mary in Paris’s New York Bar, it has remained a loyal principal element of the drinking classes since Gutenberg learned to spell. (No, I don’t mean the guy from “Police Academy.”)
I’d not yet been to the new Ruth’s Chris restaurant over by Hamilton Place Mall, located in the Embassy Suites Hotel. And Sunday was such a pleasant day, I popped open the sunroof and thought to make an afternoon of it.
As I entered the bar, I was greeted by Megan and Jeff, who were tending to a tall metal tree-looking device with little bowls full of limes, cherries, olives and raspberries. I only assume that cocktails can get excited early over Christmas, too.
This day, said I, we are sticking to the classics. Without getting into details, on a Sunday afternoon, whirling colors and complicated recipes are a bit beyond my grasp or desire.
Perusing the top shelf, Jeff and I decided on a couple of labels and decided to let Megan demonstrate her skills.
First up to bat was Tito’s and tonic. That’s as refreshing and simple as you can get.
Tito’s has been around for a fairly short time as far as liquors are concerned. Mr. Tito has only been distilling his vodka since 1997.
Based in Austin, Tex., he’s doing his part of keeping it weird by producing yellow corn vodka instead of the usual wheat or potato varieties. And Tito’s no slouch when it comes to his process. He distills his vodka…one, two, three, four, five, six times! What that means is that this stuff is super pure and super smooth.
I actually regretted having the tonic with it. Somehow, I felt that it would be perfectly comfortable standing on its own and contemplating the significance of the metal tree holding the garnishes.
As I was surveying the bottom of my glass, Megan asked if I like olives stuffed with blue cheese.
Riffing from the band Yello from the “Ferris Bueller” soundtrack, I replied, “Oooh Yeah.”
She concocted a perfect and classic vodka martini, this time using Ketel One with a smidge of dry vermouth.
Because of the vermouth, this packs a little heavier punch than the previous cocktail. Ketel One is a wheat vodka from the Netherlands. It’s only been around for 300 more years than Tito’s and is named after the original copper pot it was distilled from, “Distileerketel #1”. That makes sense even if you don’t speak the language.
It’s a very mild-spirited beverage with a slight citrus hint. It doesn’t grab you by the jaw and demand you taste it. It’s more like a wink from the really cool girl in the Van Gogh Museum with the knee boots and beret that leaves a little tingle on the back of your throat.
I whole-heartedly encourage you to go out and get your Garanimal on, and try these with your favorite mix preference. They are excellent and you can’t go wrong. However, the next time I sit down to either of these, I think I’ll just plop an ice cube in the glass...and take it all in.