Here's the disclosure part of the blog entry that the FTC makes me do. Chopin sent me vodka. Three kinds. In return, I must tell you what I think in an honest fashion. Which is good because I'm a shitty liar (okay, I'm actually a really good liar, but I don't want to get fined by the FTC and I never lie abbout vodka anyway). So kindly get off the edge of your seat - that's no way to sit if you're a grown up - and read on.
The first thing I must commend Chopin on is the packaging. The vodka samples, mini bottles of potato, rye and wheat based vodkas, came in a lovely box with proper branding and tight closures. Nothing was rattling or broken when it arrived at my door.
I mean, I'm not really sure how I feel about "sip slowly," but it's probably good advice, right? ;)
Behold, the wonders within:
Look, mom!!! It' triplets!!!
(My mom either just smiled because she also likes vodka and finds my humor amusing... or she hung her head in shame, worried this is the closest she'll ever get to grandchildren. Which, I must admit, would be terrible for her... But kind of awesome for me.)
Now, I've tried Russian vodkas, Dutch vodkas - even a Texan vodka. I've actually never tried a Polish vodka before (Belvedere, you may be aware, is Polish but I've never really cared to try it), so I was excited. Chopin is a specialty vodka meticulously produced in small batches in the Podlasie farmland region of northeast Poland by master distiller Waldemar Durakiewicz. Unlike most vodka companies, which often use ingredients that come from unknown sources, Chopin controls it's process from farm to bottle by working with local Polish farmers to naturally grow potatoes, rye and wheat. It is one of the only single-ingredient vodkas in the world. They practice sustainable farming. The whole process is very natural as even the left-over potato mash is returned to the farm field for fertilizer -- Chopin doesn't use additives or artificial ingredients (such as flavorings) like some vodkas.
Also worth noting for my many gluten-free homies, Chopin is one of the only major brands of vodka that offer gluten-free options (shoot me an email if you want to know who else does). And FYI, Chopin is also the world's only vodka brand to offer tours of its distillery. So... you know what I think? I think they need to fly me out for a tour. I'm just sayin'.... I don't know what goes on at a vodka distillery, but I bet it's frickin' cool. And I bet they have bleu-cheese stuffed olives. Which are my favortie dirty martini accompaniment.
I knew there were different ways to make a vodka but I guess I never really gave it this much thought, so testing out the triplets was a great experience for me.
Here's a cool fact for you: it takes about 40 potatoes or 7 pounds to make just one bottle of Chopin potato vodka. And here is the weird part. If you really hone in on it, you can taste GREEN APPLE. I'm not joking. It has a clear, clean smell and a creamier consistency, but it totally has a green apple kick. Some people will tell you potato vodka is your best bet for a dirty martini. I might argue that point but more on that in a bit...
Now, the potato vodka was my favorite of the three, but much to my surprise, it was a really close race with the rye vodka. The rye also had a clear, smooth scent for me but a way more vodka-y (making up that word!) taste going down. Definitely spicier.
I was thrown for a loop with wheat vodka. Because I didn't know until I drank it that my favorite* vodka is a wheat vodka. As soon as I tasted this, I knew it was similar to my favorite brand. And I love a good dirty martini with the fave and yet, I have to wonder now, having tasted all the Chopin flavors this week, if I might like it even more with the Chopin potato vodka. So that's gonna happen real soon, I promise... The wheat, by comparison to its siblings, was suddenly sweeter to me. It also had the strongest smell. By a big margin. I'm stunned. This was ultimately a mind-blower for me.
Who is Frédéric François Chopin that this vodka is named for?
Chopin is on Facebook . Visit them and let them know if you prefer Potato, Rye or Wheat!
They are also on Twitter . And they are totally paying attention -- they tweeted me back on Sunday and it made me smile.
And amazingly, they also have an app . It's pretty cool!
And for added fun, enjoy this delicious, famed Chopin recipe. Why "Cuban?" I'm looking into it. I saw one article that suggests Chopin is actually Cuban. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Crush 3/4 tsp. sugar, 3 fresh sprigs of mint, and 3/4 oz. lime juice. Add 5 large ice cubes and 2 oz. of Chopin Potato Vodka. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne.
*It somehow did not seem right to name my favorite brand of vodka. Especially because I liked Chopin Potato Vodka so much, it may be my new favorite.