We can't believe we're doing this... but we're going to profile some "shock vodkas" and similar spirits. One can't look at a liquor store shelf without seeing crazy flavors, mostly of the dessert and candy variety. We've tried some of it and often it's as awful as one might guess. But not all of it. Surprisingly, some of these oddball flavors are getting some rather enthusiastic reviews from even snootier pros. So in honor of the onset of office parties and the general conviviality of the holiday season, let's look at some desserts.
- 360 Double Chocolate Flavored Vodka-these flavors from McCormick are getting high marks all around and the chocolate one of the most consistent. It's clear with deep, rich chocolate and easily one of the better offerings around in this genre.
- Cruzan Key Lime Rum-Cruzan actually makes a decent line of flavored rums... if you can get past the huge sweetness of the flavorings. They're able to be drunk right out of the bottle precisely because they're so sweet. But a little citrus and sweet is sometimes called for in the holiday season and the flavors of key lime can evoke the heat of summer as well as the cool bite of winter at the same time. And who doesn't like the idea of key lime pie at the end of a big meal?
- Dancing Pines Brulee Caramel Liqueur-this out of Colorado that is said to be decadently sweet and designed to be a topping on desserts themselves. Cream, caramel, sugar, and ice cream... all with a little alcohol kick. What better to start a party?
- Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur-this thing picked up a double gold medal from San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2011. It's very weak on the alcohol (25 proof, which is almost wine levels!). But for all that it's flavored of fall and probably perfect for sipping during family holiday gatherings. It's also cheap and available at just about every grocery store that's selling turkey. Even better, it goes on sale after the season is over.
- Prichard's Fudge Brownie Cream Liqueur-we've tried this one perfectly. If you've ever wanted a liquefied brownie with vanilla ice cream, then this is your choice. It's filthy rich, very sweet, and can be sipped out of a straw after being chilled. For any matron who claims to like dessert better than booze, now you can have both.
- Smirnoff Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka-this is the flavor that started the madness. Usually, these are sneered at by the pros but we've found it can actually make some pretty cool cocktails and this particular version from Smirnoff managed to pull down a gold medal at this year's San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Plus, it's cheap and available. Those are all good reasons to give it a try.
- UV Cake Flavored Vodka-yeah, this is a popular shooter among the bar crowds for the young collegiate. But still, Phillips Distilling Company had the guts to submit it twice to judging panels and it managed very respectable scores out of both. This on judging panels that probably loath the very idea of cake-flavored vodka. Again, it's cheap and available. So if you're going to try something cake flavored...