Every spirit is singular in its own way, none more so than vodka — for while we like our drinks to have tastes and smells, basic vodka has neither. In fact, U.S. federal regulations define vodka as a spirit “without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.” Or, as defined by one Russian vodka enthusiast: “Vodka is not tasteless; it merely lacks flavor.”
But wait. Aside from vodkas whose labels tell us they are flavored with cherry, vanilla, raspberry, citrus or other additions, there are the subtle, elusive natural flavors found in pure super-premium vodka.
Vodka is distilled once from grains or potatoes in large continuous stills, run through charcoal to purify it and blended with water to cut the alcohol. Super-premium vodka, on the other hand, is made of higher quality grains, distilled in small copper stills several times, filtered through finer charcoal and reduced with special waters.
While Poland and Russia have been making vodka for a millennium, the rest of the world discovered it about 60 years ago. With its rakish charm, aura of elegance and ability to mix with anything, it quickly became the basis of the Moscow mule, bloody mary, screwdriver, salty dog and dozens of other drinks. Next, it took over where gin and whiskey once reigned, becoming the vodka martini, vodka Gibson, vodka Collins and vodka sour. It was all vodka all the way.
And then super-premium vodka hit the market. With its added refinements, it is smoother and silkier, with the subtlest hint of scent, flavor and individual character.
Among the highlights of the super-premium vodkas are Poland’s Belvedere, with its puff of vanilla, and the same distiller’s velvety Chopin. Russia sends us Stolichnaya Cristall, hinting of delicate floral aromas. Italy’s Mezzaluna is silken purity with a brush stroke of orange blossoms. Holland’s Ketel One is satiny and lightly floral. Add to them Canada’s Iceberg, California’s Charbay, Sweden’s Absolut, Holland’s Vox, Norway’s Christiania, Idaho’s Teton Glacier, Ireland’s Boru and France’s gossamer Grey Goose.
No surprise that price rises with quality. Regular vodka averages about $12 to $15. Super-premium costs $20 to $45. One taste will tell you why.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.