Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vodka Schmodka?

Being a vain, skinny chef is not always easy. When asked about it I usually advise folks that there is a big difference between tasting and eating. You can taste what you’re making without turning it into a mini meal, which is the temptation when surrounded by good food all day and night. But there are some other influential lifestyle factors of course, like extracurricular dining, exercise, and well, booze.

Which brings me to vodka. In my research I came to believe it is one of the lower calorie options. Look, I know there are even lower calorie options out there, but they are buzzless, so back to vodka. Or wine. I’m always up for a glass of Patricia Green Savignon Blanc or a Virginia Viognier, but it’s not always in the budget or particularly figure-friendly either.

I was leaving the liquor store with a bottle of plain ol’ plain ol’ vodka when on a impulse I bought something new. Yes, that’s right I bought dill pickle flavored vodka. In my defense, it was the airplane size, it was a total impulse buy and, I hoped it might make for some fun new bloody mary or other recipe, yielding an interesting blog post.

Pffft! It did not. Also, had I seen the ‘Yellow #5’ color additive on there, I probably would have forgone the whole experiment. We’ll say I suffered in the name of journalism. Anyway, while I have no fabulous new dill pickle bloody mary recipe to share, in the meantime I came across this article on Huffington Post by Adam McDowell and found his snobbish takes on vodka to be quite persuasive.

Here he argues that ordering safe and familiar drinks in a restaurant or bar where the bartender has trained in their craft, curated interesting liquors and brews, and mixed and mingled them in various ways to develop new cocktails, is like ordering fast food from the neighborhood artisanal, wood burning oven pizzeria. And, yeah, I have to agree. Sometimes those fancy cocktails are a bit too much, and aren’t always great when paired up with other menu items, but it does seem a shame to let the chance to try something new and get that bartenders’s point of view go by.

I then clicked through to his Six Reasons Not to Drink Vodka and was further convinced I should break out of my ‘low-cal cocktail’ rut and get into whatever other spirits the bartenders may recommend. And now that I have a jar of bloody mary mix open, I think I’ll put his theory to the test that the drink is better with tequila than with vodka. Maybe that’s what I’d been looking for all along in that dill pickle debacle. And let’s face it, when we’re putting down the ice water or green tea and picking up a libation, it may as well be great. Cheers!

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