Elit by Stolichnaya
It is literally a tale of 2 cities or countries when it comes to Stolichnaya vodka. The distillation process of wheat and rye takes place in Tambov region in Russia and which then moves to Latvia to the Latvijas Balzam distillery for further distillation using charcoal from Russian birch trees and using spring water from Artesian well. The base for Stolichnaya has been Latvijas Balzam since 1948. Today Stolichnaya is distilled for Russian consumption and global consumption at separate units in the 2 countries.
Meagan Sacher, global brand ambassador for Stolichnaya vodka who was in India recently, says that it is an old world style of vodka. She adds, “Vodka is not meant to be neutral, there is always substance and character. The concept of neutrality in vodka is a new concept.” This style is unable to add anything to the cocktail, neutral style of vodka would be lost in drink like Bloody Mary. Vodka is the easiest spirit to produce, with no time spent on aging or maturing, one of the reasons more and more companies are producing vodka. It is all about volume and variety. “But very few people understand that it is also the hardest spirit to get right. Vodka is a naked spirit and if any shortcuts are taken, they will become very apparent,” she explains.
Sacher introduced Elit by Stolichnaya, super premium category vodka from the Stolichnaya family. Apart from the triple distillation that Stolichnaya Original, Elit undergoes freeze filtration and Stolichnaya has patent on the process. Freeze filtration involves freezing the vodka to extricate any impurities that may remain in the vodka. The process adds to the texture and mouth feel of the vodka, makes it more viscous and rich. “Elit is more subtle and delicate, it works perfectly for a Martini,” adds Sacher. A classic Martini also happens to be her favorite cocktail.
Vodka is easiest to use in cocktails, it is something that is not going to change. “Drinking vodka on its own will never become mainstream but there is a shift towards appreciating vodka. People who have tried the Elit by Stolichnaya on its own are happy to drink it on its own,” Sacher says. Elit by Stolichnaya is also a product which allows for more experimentation. She speaks of a 2 month food and vodka pairing which will soon be introduced in the US market. “Food and vodka pairing is not often heard of but it is a primary project for me. We are currently fine tuning the menu before we launch it in other markets,” she says. Vodka and Caviar is considered a classic pairing, the plan is to expand it further, for instance with sea food, sushi and sashimi. “We are trying to play with the subtle differences in vodka. For example we are creating a Wasabi vodka which will be served with a garnish of olive stuffed with salmon,” she adds.
The rule to follow while pairing vodka and food is to create contrasts taking flavors on the opposite ends of the spectrum, spicy with sweet so on and so forth, explains Sacher. She gives another example of using salt as part of the cocktail to enhance and bind flavors of the drink together, instead of just using it on the rim of the glass. Cucumber is another ingredient she says works well with vodka. “It is subtle and helps highlight the delicateness of the vodka,” she adds.
We tasted Elit by Stolichnaya and were happy with the quality of the drink. The freeze filtration definitely added a new character to the vodka which was different to the Original variant of the vodka.
Nose: There were a lot of grain and cereal notes which evidently came from the basic ingredients of the vodka. It has clean, crisp and rich nose where the alcohol makes its presence felt very gently.
Palate: The creaminess envelopes the palate instantaneously. There are notes of citrus and minerality which are very distinguishable. The grainy notes from the nose are also quite apparent. It makes for quite palatable vodka.
Elit by Stolichnaya retails for Rs 7770 in Mumbai.