Two hours, 11 brands of vodka, 30+ varieties to sample, eight appetizers, $44 and an Oak room packed with really cheerful people. That just about sums up the vodka tasting last week at Lawry's in Beverly Hills. There was a wide representation of vodka at the tasting from different ingredients used to the filtration process, flavors and price point. The standout vodkas were TRU Organic Vodka and Blue Ice Potato Vodka. The price of admission included tax and gratuity and pretty much unlimited vodka tastings and appetizers.
From the moment we stepped foot into the Oak room, we knew we were in for a good time. Tables filled with vodka bottles lined the room and servers were walking around with mouthwatering appetizers. Let's not forget the gravlax station with seven varieties of cured salmon. The event should have been called Vodka and Gravlax tasting. Beet cured and honey smoked were some of our favorites. Others included regular, cracked pepper, pastrami, Danish and Swedish salmon. It doesn't get much better than walking around from table to table sampling chilled vodka and eating buttery cured salmon. Appetizers passed around were deviled eggs, meatballs, grilled oysters, potato salad, fried stuff olives, crab fritters and gorgonzola crostini with fried sage.
Favorite overall vodka: TRU Organic
TRU Organic was the first vodka we sampled and one of our favorites. The reason they get the best nod is because not only was their straight vodka really smooth, but all the flavored vodkas were outstanding. Ingredients used to flavor their vodka are organic and locally source when possible. We had the opportunity to sample three flavored vodkas: garden, lemon and vanilla. Each one had a very distinct aroma and flavor that tasted fresh and natural. A huge difference compared to the vodkas out there made with artificial flavors. TRU Organic also gets an extra point for being produced by a Los Angeles distillery.
Favorite mixed drink with vodka: Hangar One
By the time we made it to Hangar One, on the opposite end of TRU Organic, we were glad to sample some cocktails. The best cocktail was by far the Country House, made with citrus vodka, fresh lemon juice, pureed raspberry, sage, and clover honey. The cocktail had a wonderful balance of sweet, tang and bitter, which always makes for a great cocktail. The sage made the cocktail by adding a touch of earthiness and bringing all the ingredients together. Can't wait to pick up a bottle of this vodka to try it straight.
If you missed this event, don't fret, this is an annual event and I for one, cannot wait for next year. I hear there's a tequila tasting in May and a whisky tasting in November. If they are anything like the vodka tasting, sign me up! (Note to self: take a cab)
Full list of the vodkas represented at the tasting and the current price for a 750ml bottle of the regular vodka:
TRU Organic - wheat - $34.99
Blue Ice - potato - $14.99
Square One - rye - $32.99
New Amsterdam - grains - $10.99
Reyka - grains - $18.99
Finlandia - barley - $17.99
Chopin Vodka - potato, rye or wheat- $26.99-$28.99
Ultimat Vodka - wheat, rye and potato - $34.99
Vikingfjord Vodka - potato - $11.99
Hangar One - grapes - $29.99
Russian Standard - wheat - $19.99
Were you at the event? Which vodka was your favorite?
Lawry's The Prime Rib
100 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211