For the environmentally conscious cocktail drinkers, there is 360 Vodka, dubbed the nation’s first “green” vodka and made from grains grown in Kansas and Missouri.
About 36 million cases of vodka were sold in 2000, said Eric Schmidt, research director at the Adams Beverage Group, which tracks national liquor consumption. Last year, sales rose to 49.4 million cases, he says.
The most vodka gets consumed in California, 5.7 million cases last year, followed by Florida at 4.4 million and New York at 3.6 million.Drinkers aged 25 to 34 consume the most vodka, accounting for 21.5 percent of the total U.S. market.
What accounts for vodka’s popularity?
“It’s a really neutral spirit so you are starting off with a base,” Mr. Jamieson said.
A distilling license also is easier to come by in recent years, he said, opening the market for small boutique distillers to create unusual varieties often indigenous to their region. There is Cold River potato vodka from Maine and Zodiac potato vodka from Idaho, both created by small companies who are capitalizing on the intense interest.
“Vodka has always been associated with places like Russia, Poland and Sweden,” said Mr. Jamieson. “But things have gotten freer and looser, and there are little distilleries popping up all over the place.”
Mrs. Scully said she gets samples of about 30 new varieties of vodka each year at her hotel. She does not taste them all, but her staff comes up with new ways to serve the vodkas. The hotel regularly keeps about 25 varieties available for their guests.
“We are seeing it much more made into a martini-style cocktail that isn’t a straight martini,” she said. “There are key lime martinis, chocolate martinis, pomegranate martinis.”
Last summer, the hotel’s most popular drink was an “Icy Pink Lemonade,” made from Ketel One Citroen vodka, cranberry juice and sour mix, strained over ice into a martini glass. This fall, the hotel will debut a chai martini, which contains Stolichnaya Vanilla Vodka, Licor 43 and Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur.
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