Vodka – The Stuff Of Mixed Memories

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WHENEVER someone mentions alcohol, we tend to think of either one of two situations.

You either have wonderful memories of camaraderie and peaceful solitude, or you shudder at the sound of the word. 

One type of alcohol in particular tends to give people a much stronger reaction. It’s the stiff stuff that stirs first love, while serving up their best and worst nights. 

Vodka. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a love-hate relationship with this spirit. I’ve been told that vodka is known as ‘the drink of regrets’. When I questioned why, I was given the answer: “Well, when you drink it, you don’t feel it, until it hits you when you least expect, then…regret.”

I’ve always questioned that line of thought. The smell of vodka seems to be a turn-off already, let alone the taste of low-quality ones.

Where’s The Good Vodka?

Admittedly, I do keep a few bottles of the good stuff at home; bottles not easily found in clubs and bars for sure.

Yet, I’ve somehow found myself stumbling upon a bottle of vodka which seems to have altered my expectations about what goes into a good bottle of vodka.

In this instance, the Nikka Coffey Vodka, part of the Japanese Asahi group.

My first impression of it was muted, probably affected by my expectations of good vodka. I was however, still excited to taste this Japanese vodka, whose brand boasts other wonderful drinks such as their whiskeys and gin.

The bottle itself is plain, probably helping to further etch that feeling of ‘expect nothing’ mindset, therefore receiving much more than one could hope for.

The smell of vodka — that same smell you get when you step into the hospital — hits you at first whiff. Definitely not helpful to boost expectations.

Yet, the moment it enters your mouth, think…hmmm sweet water?!

As it runs down your throat, it leaves nothing but a mild warm sensation. Smooth yet strong. No bite that you might expect from a stiff drink. 

That warm sensation isn’t your thing? No worries, it is even smoother on the rocks. Cool, refreshing, and faintly sweet. We even chilled it in the freezer and then took it neat once again. Bliss, pure bliss.

Cold at the onset, sweet on the tongue and then nothing but warmth in your belly. 

It is so mild, we expect that it will be a hit with ladies too.

Mild and light. Such is the character of liquors distilled using the Coffey still, named after Irish inventor Aeneas Coffey who was granted a patent for his design in 1830.

More information about Nikka’s Coffey range at nikka.com.

We also tried the Nikka Coffey Vodka with different snacks and found that it paired very well with salty rice crackers (the Japanese kind). We’d avoid spicy snacks though. Bad clash. 

Neat or on the rocks, it was better cold, although I lean closer to chilling it in the freezer and then serving it neat, (don’t worry vodka doesn’t freeze in our home freezers). 

We recommend that you happily enjoy this vodka and dispel the nagging fear of the “back kick”. It does not hit you at the back of your head like a metal boomerang.

Enjoy the Nikka spirit at La Maison du Whisky, 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-10 The Pier, Singapore 239013. Opening hours are from Sunday – Thursday 3pm – late and from 2pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s. The full bottle retails at S$99.

Note: do not spoil the drink serving it with a mixer. If you like the wonderfully smooth warm and sweet taste, have a Nikka Coffey Vodka. If you want a cocktail, pick other vodkas.

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