Epcot Food & Wine 2010 – Belvedere Vodka

Who & What: BELVEDERE VODKA (Poland), presented by Donae Burston (oops, he/she wasn’t there, we had a substitute… Michael Flannery)

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Our substitute presenter...

When: Friday October 15, 2010 6:00 pm

Where: Festival Center, Epcot

Tastings: Belvedere Pure (a.k.a. plain), Belvedere Pink Grapefruit, Belvedere Orange

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for tasting - can you see any vodka?

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that's Nora's thumb, now do you get an idea of how little was in the glasses?

What We Learned:

  • Vodka in General
    • US Govt defines vodka as an alcohol made of any starch, it must be flavorless & tasteless; any inocuous alcohol
    • vodka #1 spirit in the US
    • 60 calories per 1.5 oz pour
      • one of the lowest calorie drinks you can do
      • Nick did some fact-checking — 80 proof vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey has similar calories
        • 1 oz ~ 64 calories
        • 1.5 oz (one jigger or one shot) ~ 97 calories
        • if you go from 80 proof to 100 proof the calorie count increases to ~ 124
      • so… vodka is not the lowest in calories and the presenter was off by about 50% on how many calories are in a shot of vodka
    • tasting vodka
      • you taste sweet on the front of your tongue & you taste alcohol with the middle of your tongue
      • you should smell spirits with your mouth slightly open (unlike wine)
  • Belvedere Vodka (here and here)
    • the first premium vodka sold in the US (1994)
    • made with rye, 65% starch — germinated rye, not malted rye
    • water comes from a 30,000,000 year old artisinal well/aquafier
      • this water undergoes reverse osmosis
      • on the plant’s property and is used for all purposes, even washing new bottles
    • natural airborne yeast — common with spirits – not with sake or beer
    • their master distiller has been with the company for over 40 years
    • it takes 80 pounds of rye to create one bottle of vodka
  • Belvedere Pure Vodka
    • distilled in column distillery 4 times
    • thus no flavor of it’s own!
    • this is the base vodka, the flavored vodkas use this and macerated fruit
  • Flavored Belvedere Vodkas
    • start with Belvedere Pure Vodka
    • put in stainless steel tanks to move to different facility
    • add macerated fruit to create flavors
      • orange flavors come from mandarin orange, orange peel, lime peel…
      • pink grapefruit flavors come from pink grapefruit (equivalent of one per bottle of vodka), ginger, lemon…
    • another distillation is then done
    • get cloudy if you add ice – natural oils from real fruit they use
    • 20-25% of volume is put back into next batch to maintain flavor consistency
  • Bartender Info
    • gin is the first flavored vodka
      • he says Bombay Sapphire Ginis less flavorful than regular Bombay Gin – took down a notch to try to mimic vodka (and get some of vodka’s marketshare)
    • agave syrup = lowest glycemic index (best to use!)
    • bartenders work with acids (fresh fruit juices) & sugars (cane sugar syrup, honey, agave syrup)
    • Moscow Mule – vodka + lime + ginger beer
    • Collins — absolute classic vodka cocktail — vodka + citrus juice + club soda
    • Dacquari — ditto for rum
    • Classic Cocktails
      • all spirit –> stirred
      • sugar or juice added to spirits –> shaken

Tasting Notes:

  • Belvedere Pure Vodka
    • Nick… smells purely like alcohol & tastes harsh, no body but it is vodka
    • Nora… almost senseless / tasteless / no aroma other than ETOH
  • Belvedere Pink Grapefruit
    • Nick… first taste – smells very limey & tastes like grapefruit but still “harsh”; second taste – “I could drink this with grapefruit juice but that would be a waste of a premium vodka!”
    • Nora… spicy peppery & don’t care for it on it’s own
  • Belvedere Orange
    • Nick… first taste – smells like orange cleaner, not appealing and tastes like inhaling orange cleaner, not a good taste; second taste – lost harshness because the first taste was so bad, but still bad, not at all appealing
    • Nora… I’m don’t care for it on it’s own

Final Thoughts:

  • the pours for these Beverage Seminars at the Festival Center are tiny and skimpy, we estimate them to be ½ oz pours – Nick tried to get a photo showing how small they are
    • the Tequila Tasting at Mexico is making these beverage seminars look bad
  • 6 crackers for 4 people; 3 tastes x 4 = 12; so ½ cracker each but no plates or even napkins
  • Nora says – I still prefer Stoli flavored vodkas, but after this tasting, I think I’m off vodka for a while
  • the speaker was a substitute, not from Belvedere; he’s a bartender and once he started talking about that he became more enthusiastic and entertaining
    • regardless, we wouldn’t go to a seminar just to hear him speak

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