“I don’t care if it tastes like an ashtray with an STD! All I care about is one thing. Will? It? Get? Me? Drunk?”
~AFFotD’s Liquor Review Board
No one would claim that vodka is a particularly “American” spirit. But who are we to quibble in semantics? If it gets you drunk, and has a slightly lower chance at sending you to the hospital than chugging hand sanitizer, it’s American enough for us. Vodka is the most neutral of spirits, so while it doesn’t give you that warm, smooth feeling that bourbon does shortly before you start shouting to no one in particular there being too many French people at the local bistro, vodka does allow you get sloshed efficiently and with the aid of a whole variety of mixers.
Of course, since vodka is meant to be as flavorless as possible, many distillers take this as an opportunity to add distinct and unique flavors to their product to help it stand out in a crowded market. We’ve already internally debated the practice of flavoring your vodkas, but unusual vodkas are everywhere, and it’s time we at least embraced this particular spirit’s diversity. Which is why we are here to present our inaugural segment…
The World’s Strangest Vodka Flavors
Flavored vodkas are a testament to how far out of our way Americans will go to get right liquored up. Vodka on its own tastes like nothing but burn and maybe bad memories of that three year period where you thought a screwdriver was a socially appropriate drink. But there are enough people who don’t like that flavorless burn, so they want to get sickly sweet flavored vodkas which don’t mask the burn, and just replace it with the vague feeling that you’re somehow insulting God.
And really, you are. God didn’t want you to drink cotton candy flavored vodka. But we still choose to defy him with such products as…
Prickly Pear Cactus Vodka
A Texas distillery recently decided that life was too hard for news writers trying to put cringe-worthy puns in an article about liquor, so they chose to lend a helping hand by cutting up cactus and turning it into vodka, because Texans don’t fuck around about their drinking. By brewing the only vodka in the world made from cactus, they could take a stab (ugh) at their competitors in the notoriously prickly (fuck this) liquor business. While they are quick to point (seriously, cool it with the puns or we quit) out that this liquor has a distinct sweetness to it, this was still born of the American notion of seeing something that’s covered in thorns and grows in the desert and thinking “I wonder what happens if I burn this so much it turns into high proof alcohol?”
Now, this vodka may be strange and unique, but we’re at least willing to admit it might taste good, and, gasp, natural (well, as natural as liquor can taste). The same cannot be said for any of the following.
Peanut Butter Vodka
Maybe 15% of you just now said, “Huh, peanut butter flavored vodka? That sounds kind of weird, but I’m curious how it would taste if I mixed it with some chocolate liquor, or even just hot cocoa. It’d be like an alcoholic peanut butter cup, right? That sounds like it would be delicious!” The other 85% of you just said, “Wait, what the fuck, does that picture say ‘Nut Liquor’!?”
Yes. Yes, it is peanut butter vodka, but it’s peanut butter vodka clearly marketed entirely by a troop of giggling 15 year old virgins. Don’t believe us? Their home page says, “Yes, we said ‘NutLiquor’ and if you are still lost, say it a few more times. Are we on the same page now? Excellent!” That’s right, they’re worried that something that phonetically would be spelled nut licker is too subtle for their clientele to pick up.
Oh, and it’s 69 proof. Get it? GET IT!? PENISES ARE INVOLVED IN THAT LOL!
Not like this, America. Not like this.
Peanut Butter And Jelly Vodka
Like this, America. Like this. Van Gogh vodka decided to take the peanut butter flavor of the previous entry (we won’t give them the satisfaction of saying the name), add some jelly flavor, and then watch as cocktail mixers toss up their hands in frustration when asked what could possibly mix well with peanut butter and jelly vodka. Master Distiller Tim Vos decided to use raspberry jelly for the flavor, telling BarBiz Mag, “It is fresh, fruity and mingles very well with the oily structure of the peanut butter,” we suspect because the Van Gogh PR people felt that it would hurt the company if he answered with the far more honest, “Are you fucking serious? This is peanut butter and jelly vodka and you’re wondering why I chose the specific flavor of Jelly for this alcoholic abomination? My job is to turn jokes into alcohol, that’s all they fucking ask me to do, I hate my life.”
Bison Grass Vodka
Hey, you, reader. What are you? Yes, we know you’re an American, let’s be more general. Okay, that’s a better array of responses—some of you are saying your gender, your ethnicity, your religion, some just said “human beings.” That’s good. Because you know what we can guarantee no one said? No one said “I’m a fucking bison.” Because you’re not. You’re not a fucking bison. No matter what happens in this crazy messed up world, you have to remember that. You’re. Not. A. Bison.
Anyway, this company flavored vodka with grass that bison eats, because somewhere along the line someone tricked them otherwise.
By the way, here’s what you get when you Google for Bison Grass Vodka’s homepage.
We’re gonna have to go with the “no” on this one.
Caramel Vodka (Which Is Clear)
Van Gogh (you know, the PB&J folks) make a caramel vodka, but it actually is the color of caramel. That’s important, because you can at least pretend that the sweet caramel flavor you’re tasting is the work of something in the actual distillation process, instead of being a series of chemicals that were invented to fool your taste buds. But the “is it a distillery, an online poker group, or a special room in a gentleman’s club” named company, Players Extreme, decided to make a Caramel vodka for the person who wants to pay the premium for midlevel vodka, who doesn’t want to taste anything less sweet than “sugar cooked in butter,” but who doesn’t have any quibbles with the drink looking as unnatural as possible. This is like buying a carton of orange juice and having no problem when it pours out bright yellow.
We’re not saying this vodka from Referent is a bad idea, and we’re not saying that we don’t want to have a Bloody Mary made out of this right the fuck now. What we are saying is that most people would be right in thinking, “Huh, that’s an odd flavor” when being told that horseradish vodka is available. Because that’s is weird. It’s super fucking weird. But delicious. Fuck we’re gonna buy a bottle of it right now, actually.
Smoked Salmon Vodka
…From hell…It’s from hell…
No, stop it, make it go away. We don’t want to think about how this was made, just make it go away!
Oh God, that was terrifying. Time to pour a nice glass of whiskey to settle our nerves.