I’m definitely more of a gin gal these days but that’s not going to stop me accepting an invite for free Purity Vodka cocktails. A little Googling of the brand had me all curious, having never tried the spirit before, and so I trundle off to the St James Hotel and Club bar for a little tasting session in the faintly subdued but elegant and opulent bar on a Tuesday night to get stuck in.
It makes sense to try the vodka first in a martini, not quite in it’s purest form but a drink that tends to show off a spirit in it’s most revealing light, I go for a twist. Now a martini to me will always be made with gin (except at the marvellous Bob Bob Ricard), but I enjoy this a lot; the drink smooth and mellow with a sweet finish that goes down alarmingly quickly. Having mentioned one of my favourite drinks is a Negroni, our barman concocts something for us with this in mind. I’m afraid I feel this really doesn’t work; vodka, sweet vermouth and bitters are topped up with prosecco and Served in a tumbler. This is just all wrong for me, I’m looking forward to punchy, bitter flavours and what I get is diluted and insipid.
After commenting that I’d like to try to pair the vodka with rose petals and lychee, or orange blossom and ginger at home, we clap eyes on and order a rose and lychee martini on the menu, but I’m afraid to say this is another miss, being simply overpoweringly sweet. We have one last try, this time leaving it up to our barman to create something. We have a winner! A brilliant balance of sweet and sour with one of those giant ice balls I love, and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to to with the three cocktails prior to it, it’s simply a fantastic drink. I like it so much our barman has written down the recipe for me to share with you.
Before we leave, Alex hands me a couple of miniatures so I can have a little taste and play at home, ‘little’ being the operative word, clearly I don’t have *that* much to play with. Purity vodka’s USP is that it’s produced in extremely small batches, distilled no less than 34 times in copper and gold stills, losing 90% liquid in the process, but leaving behind a pure product full of character and flavour that doesn’t need to be filtered, just rehydrated with a careful blend of deionised and mineral waters, and other wheat based organic spirits.
A sip neat reveals a smoothness along with a surprising cough medicine aniseedy sweetness, the sort of flavour you associate with certain red sweets, synthetic and faintly herbal, but in a good way. This fairly unique flavour I hadn’t been able to detect within the cocktails we tried, except for that sweet finish on the martini, I decide to make this my starting point, with thoughts immediately turning to cherries and almond. I think the vodka lends itself very well to this sweet and sour cocktail I choose to make, a variation on the Aviation cocktail I love, I like it both with and without a dash of violet liqueur, try it yourself and let me know what you think!
I adore the luminous quality of the finished drink that a Twitter friend commented on as looking a little like a chiffoned boob, which I think you’ll agree is an excellent name for a cocktail!
The Be-Chiffoned Nipple
50ml Purity Vodka
5ml cherry syrup – I used syrup from my jar of cherries
15ml lemon juice
dash of violet liqueur (optional)
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously, strain into a glass to serve garnished with a cocktail cherry.