Absolut Vodka tasting session with Björn Olsson
Seagrams Absolut recently organized a mixology session with Björn Olsson, the Absolut brand ambassador. The session consisted of Absolut education, cocktail making, 100 global trends in the bar and comparative tasting and a contest.
Absolut Vodka organized a vodka tasting session at Royal Orchid in Bangalore which was hosted by Björn Olsson, Absolut’s beverage consultant and ambassador from Sweden. The afternoon began with a sensory-experience with Björn presenting an Absolut propaganda video which spoke of Absolut’s growth around the world since 1879. Absolut Vodka which was introduced by entrepreneur Lars Olsson Smith is a contemporary phenomenon. First exported in 1979, Absolut Vodka quickly soared to one of the best-selling premium vodkas in the world today. It is an overnight success...an overnight success since 1879. The vodka which was first sold under the name Absolut has its roots in the 15th century.
Another interesting aspect is that every drop of Absolut Vodka consumed in the world today comes from the same place: their distilleries near Åhus in southern Sweden, for centuries a region famous for its vodka. After the sensory-experience they served us three different brands of vodka chilled, in a small frosted shot glass. The labels were covered until everyone had a chance to comment on the smell, flavor, burn, and aftertaste of the brand. The essential part of Absolut’s sensory analysis spoke about two main questions a) what really is the flavor of vodka? b) How does one describe the flavor? Björn guided us through a technical tasting of the three different vodka brands and explained key flavor elements which can be defined as neutral, grainy, bready and fruity.
Vodka is usually distilled in many ways, from a variety of substances, including wheat, potatoes, sugar cane and grapes. Björn explained that grain-based vodkas, which are the most popular, tend to be smooth and full bodied. Vegetable-based vodkas are mostly harsh and leave a bitter aftertaste. And after an hour long tasting session, he showed us how to make exotic cocktails. He whipped up some classic cocktails, and some of his personal favourites.
We were served a Bloody Mary, which was made with a slice of tomato dipped in salt and one shot of Absolut Peppar. All we had to do was bite into the tomato and gulp down the shot. Then he also deconstructed Martinez cocktail in which foam of vermouth and maraschino was served on half a cherry. He also made a small ‘fruit skewer’ with Lime, Lemon and Orange wedges and served it with Absolut and Sprite. Apart from this there was a cocktail making contest and contestants from bars across the city whipped up delicious and exotic cocktails. The event was very educative and we learned that vodkas had character, flavors and aromas, of their own even though the differences among them were very subtle and often very difficult to articulate.
Here are some of the interesting recipes:-
Absolut Mango Manda
1 part Absolut Mandrin
2 parts mango juice
shake and strain into a cocktail glass semi rimmed with coffee and sugar
Absolut Spicey Trouffle
1 part Absolut Peppar
3 parts fresh muddled strawberries / strawberry pure
shake and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with dark & white chocolate
Absolut Italian surprise
2 parts Absolut
1 part lemon juice
sugar syrup to taste
1 splash balsamic vinegar
shake and strain into a cocktail glass semi rimmed with Parmesan cheese