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A Clean Not Complicated Finnish: Finlandia Vodka Review And Tasting

I think we've all been in that scenario where we ask someone to make us a cocktail only to be disappointed.  Heavy-handedness is a thing just as is light-handedness.  Too much alcohol kills the other flavors of a cocktails and too little alcohol doesn't necessarily get your imbibing fix together.  What you want is balance!  For it's balance that creates a wonderful in-synced collective dance of spirit to ingredients to garnishes to ice that creates a splendid cocktail experience rather than a drink that sits untouched on the table all evening. 

As I deepen my trek into the world of vodka, I'm discovering its versatility.  One recent evening, I had the pleasure of experiencing one that makes it easy to achieve that aforementioned balance due to its crispness and clean taste.  Finlandia Vodka is that vodka and its created with glacial Spring well-water that gives it a very refreshing taste as opposed to the often heavy medicinal taste that other vodkas can have.  See, it's the purity of the water that creates a great tasting vodka and Finlandia achieves a very smooth-tasting vodka with a fresh fluidity that served to boost whatever it's mixed in with a matured organic kick.

On that particular evening, I sat down to a special tasting from Finlandia Vodka Master Mixologist Pekka Pellinen who created five distinct cocktails that celebrated the pure essence of Finlandia Vodka while highlighting how its purity enhances the key flavors of a chosen cocktail's ingredients.  

First up was the Finlandia Arboreum, a herbal verdant cocktail with Classic Finlandia, dill, basil, egg whites, club soda, agave, salt (to open up the herbs) with a final spritz of Finlandia Grapefruit Vodka. The result was a fresh and summery cocktail with nice depth and the slight blending of the ingredients with a bartender's coil opened up and balanced the fresh flavors of the basil & dill with the sweetness of the agave.  

The second round brought a breakfast staple remixed as the Finlandia Gazpacho.  Here both Classic Finlandia and Finlandia Grapefruit are used along with dijon, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, sea salt, Sriracha, lemon juice and tomato juice.  The special element Pellinen used to create a smoky depth in the cocktail was actual smoke.  Garnishing off the remixed classic was lime, cucumber, celery and black pepper that with that blast of smoke created a nice array of spice, garden freshness, saltiness and a lingering pleasant heat from the horseradish that was just so satisfying. 

Next came a pair of sour cocktail cousins.  The Popcorn Sour was Pellinen's ode to getting naughty with  a snack staple.  Using Classic Finlandia, and that trusty bartender's coil again, he blended lemon juice, kettle popcorn, agave, egg whites and raspberry garnishing for color.  This was a delightfully fun and interesting cocktail that was a nice take on sweet and salty flavors and, since naturally present in the kettle popcorn, the two tastes were nicely enhanced with the familiar & comforting note from the popcorn.  The Vegetarian Sour didn't slack on the flavor either and Pellinen used a surprising substitute to compensate for the slight frothiness that an egg yolk delivers.  To the combination of Finlandia Grapefruit, lemon juice and agave was added chickpea brine.  Yes, actual chickpea brine has properties that almost exactly duplicate that of egg whites and in this cocktail it brought a depth to it that was nicely balanced with the freshness of the Finlandia Grapefruit and citrus tartness of the lemon created a kicking lemonade-esque pleasantness.

Finally, we closed out the evening with a great Helsinki Mule.  What do you say to a cocktail that brings you the warm soothing heat of ginger with the tart coolness of lime juice and is not overly sweet?  I say give me another!  The shot of Finlandia Grapefruit, Belvoir Ginger Beer, lime juice and garnishes of cucumber, ginger root and lime all came together to once again showcase how the cleanness of the Finlandia makes the notes in the drink shine all while maintaining a grown seasoned crispness.

My first experience with Finlandia Vodka was a defining one that won't be my last.  It truly is a definitive vodka that is everything you wish a vodka to be as it's pureness livens up your palette and awakens the flavors that you choose to pair with it in a cocktail.  So I bid a fair kiitos (thank you) to Mix Master Pellinen and Finlandia Vodka and implore you to make Finlandia your vodka go-to.  Finlandia Vodkas are available now at your better wine and spirit retailers and as always please remember to enjoy responsibly.  Kippis (Cheers)! 

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