Infusion Overkill: Introducing Salmon Vodka

Coming to a vodka near you.
Coming to a vodka near you.

A year or so ago, I jumped on the vodka infusion bandwagon and began experimenting with throwing random ingredients into my jug of Monopolowa. It all started with a road trip to New Mexico, where I procured many different varieties of chili peppers that I hoped would result in a biting Bloody Mary. It was a fun journey with a tasty result, and I have spent many days since imbuing my booze with the fruits and flavors of the season. I've done green tea, cucumber, cinnamon, and even a bacon version (it wasn't bad, just a bit fatty).

I write all this to explain that I am open-minded when it comes to vodka infusions. Licorice, for instance, is not my thing, but okay, I can accept it. Three Olives Bubblegum is quite strange in that "makes me feel like a drunken five year old" kind of way, but that's cool, I guess. Bacon is huge right now, period, and it's popping up in everything from chocolate bars to lattes to liquors. And I can see a sort of kooky logic in combining it with a traditional brunch drink, like the Bloody Mary. So again, I'm trying hard to be unbiased here and allow mixologists to partake in their share of culinary experimentation, as often the results are surprisingly delicious.

However, when I heard that the Alaska Distillery in Wasilla recently launched a Smoked Salmon Flavored Vodka, I had to take pause. My first thought was that this product could result in potentially the worst, most mind-blowingly disgusting hangover known to man. A close second was simply, why?

Toby Foster, a partner at the Alaska Distillery armed with the task of creating new flavors, explained to the Associated Press that he was looking to make a product that stood out to consumers. He also admitted that he was somewhat drunk himself when he concocted the idea. Yeah, no kidding. While smoked salmon does impart a true taste of our great state of Alaska, that doesn't mean I want it in my martini. And though it was originally primarily intended for use in Bloody Marys, it is acquiring somewhat of a cult following among fisherman in straight-up martinis.

If you think you wouldn't want to try the finished product, Foster said that the experimentation process was quite gruesome. Apparently there was "a bucket nearby" the taste testing area and the early versions were described as "greasy." Yum! Lucky for us, smoked salmon vodka came to Texas on June 16, although it's unclear exactly where. If you spot it, let us know.


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