The idea was to sample 5 types of rum while watching the presidential debates. We don't have five minis of rum, said the liquor store clerk. Lest I draw more ire from the local mass of Lotto junkies - I quickly took her advice and opted for vodkas, including: Absolute, Skyy, Smirnoff, Smirnoff Apple, and Ketel. I began with Absolute. The flavor began on a sweet note and became crisp. It wasn't outstanding, but it was nice as a mixer with some pomegranate juice I discovered in the fridge.
After two Kraft Bagelfuls (dang those are good!), Skyy then grabbed my attention. It was smoother and more complex than the Absolute and the drink and I made friends. Strangely, however, the pomegranate mixer was disappointing. As the McCain-Obama debate started, I opened the Smirnoff Apple. Uggh! The drink attacked the back of my throat and had all the subtlety of an overeager hooker on a slow night. Despite the miserable stand-alone impression, I was very happy with the mixer.
Next up: regular Smirnoff. The initial taste was (strangely) watery, but after about a second and a half, a firecracker exploded in my mouth. There was nothing sophisticated or mysterious. The pomegranate mixer didn't work well either.
Finally, the fancy Ketel bottle. This mini had been $1.50 more than others, so I had high expectations. I noticed bitter notes that hadn't been evident in the previous vodkas, which I didn't like but others may find agreeable. Overall, the flavor was slightly harsh, with some complexity, but not as much as I would have expected. I did find that the Ketel mixed nicely with the pomegranate juice, which reduced the sting of the extra $1.50.