Most Lewis & Clark students associate flavored vodka with the suspiciously cheap open bars at house shows or the expertly mixed drinks at Tryon Creek Grill. Local distillery Wild Roots Vodka, however, is changing the stereotype of overly sweet and artificially flavored liquors. The use of natural ingredients and local fruit by Wild Roots gives their infused vodkas nuanced flavors more typically associated with liqueurs like Kirsch. This week I will be reviewing their Northwest Red Raspberry Infused Vodka. As always, the Pioneer Log does not endorse underage or unsafe drinking.
Before even opening the bottle, I was struck by its deep and vibrant garnet color that fittingly resembles crushed raspberries. On the nose, the scent is of sweet wild raspberry preserves with a floral hint of grassiness and elderflower, which is then undercut by the mild bite of the corn-based alcohol. I first tried it neat and was surprised by how balanced the sugar content was despite the nose. The taste is of dark overripe raspberries with a touch of plum. There is over a pound of fruit used per batch, which is immediately apparent in the authenticity of the raspberry flavor. The finish is quick, with little of the burn typically associated with vodka. My favorite part about this liquor is the luscious consistency; it pleasantly coats your mouth, even when used in cocktails.
Wild Root’s website has suggested cocktail recipes such as raspberry mojitos and a raspberry-infused play on a whiskey sour. I found however, that it was perfect for springtime riffs on the greyhound and New Orleans fizz. My version of the greyhound has a burnt grapefruit peel, which adds essential oils and a cool name. For the New Orleans fizz, I substituted raspberry vodka for gin and added rose water for a fun Portland themed twist.
Bottom Shelf’s Raspberry Dalmatian
1 oz. Wild Roots Raspberry Vodka
1 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
4 oz. Grapefruit juice
Grapefruit peel for garnish
Salt the rim of a highball glass and fill with ice. Add the vodka, gin, grapefruit juice and simple syrup to taste, usually around ½ oz, and stir. Cut a two-inch-long coin of grapefruit peel; holding the peel between your thumbs with the skin above your drink, light a lighter slightly in front of the peel as you squeeze the oils out of the rind. The intention here is to flame the peel; the oils will ignite as they leave the fruit. This seems complicated and a little dangerous, but it’s an easy way to impress someone and will add a complex angle to this cocktail. Garnish with the flamed peel.
Bottom Shelf’s Portland Fizz
2 oz. Wild Roots Raspberry Vodka
1⁄2 oz lime juice
1⁄2 oz lemon juice
1⁄2 oz heavy whipping cream
1 egg white
3 drops rose water
1⁄2 oz simple syrup
The ingredient list for this cocktail seems intimidating, but the construction is relatively straightforward. Add vodka, rose water, egg white, heavy cream, lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup to a large cocktail shaker. Shake for 20 seconds, add ice, shake for another 35 seconds. Strain into a glass, top with club soda. To successfully pull of this cocktail you have to really shake the hell out of it, which makes the egg whites foam up. If vegan, (or just intimidated by egg whites in a drink) this cocktail is still great without the addition of the eggs.