The resurgence of craft distillers in South Africa and around the world but particularly here at home has filled me with great excitement for the future. You might expect this very resurgence to unnerve someone in my position, considering the possible threat it will pose to my business and in turn my livelihood but if our vodka is as good as we say it is then we don’t have much to worry about now do we, I believe we would be alright. There are quite a number of inherent factors that would mitigate and temper down the possible threat, much like how the advent of instant coffee and table-top coffee makers have not entirely done away with coffee shops
In the hopes of dazzling everyone with vodka trivia, I spent the greater part of yesterday scouring the net for evidence telling on how vodka landed on our shores.
On occasion, when I have the presence of mind to look around the restaurant to observe what beverages people are consuming with their meals, I am often intrigued by the absence of vodka from most tables. It seems that there is this generally accepted norm that vodka is a party drink and not one fit for the dinner table. When you’re dining out, just glance around the restaurant and take note of which alcohol types are being enjoyed with meals. I can, with absolute certainty assure you that you will at the very least spot a table enjoying either a glass of beer, wine, brandy, whiskey and or rum but I cannot extend the same certainty to you spotting one enjoying a glass of vodka (neat or as a cocktail). Even gin has a better presence at the dinner table than vodka, thanks largely to the gin&tonic combo.
It has become apparent to me that most alcohol consumers think that all vodkas are the same in taste and as a result tend to be nondiscriminant with vodka drinks, not as much so with vodka brands though. For instance; when buying a bottle of vodka a consumer would exercise their discretion in selecting their preferred vodka (this decision is almost always solely informed by the brands marketing). However, when purchasing vodka drinks (shots and or cocktails) at the bar, the same consumer seems to neglect exercising the same discretion, perhaps it is more a case of misplaced faith in the bartenders judgement and ethics than wilful negligence-- assuming that the bartender will act in the consumers best interests but in the absence of a pouring arrangement with a decent enough vodka brand, the bar will insist that the bartender use the least expensive vodka to mix with, regardless of quality. I would think that poor vodka can ruin a generally excellent cocktail drink, I think in legal speak they call it; “fruit of the poisonous tree”.