The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

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Page 92 of 148

92  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2017 VODKA T he world's number-one-selling potato vodka is riding a wave of consumer preferences, elevating Luksusowa to one of the fastest growing spirits brands. As con- sumers and bartenders continue to discover potato vodka, they are leaning harder into the Polish spirit. "Luksusowa is so successful precisely because it doesn't ride passing trends, instead staying true to its 1920s Warsaw roots," says Susan Kilgore, VP Brand Development, Spirits, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. "While we've modernized production and distribution, the recipe is exactly the same: triple-distilled from potatoes, filtered through charcoal for purity and blended with pure artesian well water." Luksusowa begins as 100 percent Polish potatoes, mashed, fermented and distilled through a single copper column. Impurities are removed without compromising the potato flavor profile, and the spirit is diluted with pure water and filtered for clarity. Exclusively produced in Zielona Góra, Luksusowa's high quality and playful, tongue-in-cheek sensibility left an impression on SoHo Wine & Martini Bar in San Antonio, where the spirit plays heavily behind the bar of the high-end mixology destination. Located in the former San Antonio Loan & Trust Co. building in San Antonio's River Bend District, the hip cocktail bar repurposed an 1892 bank vault as its wine cellar and dry storage for the bar. Craft cocktails and dessert cocktails play heavily on the menu, where customers order the likes of carrot cake, Key lime and Samoa Girl Scout cookie cocktails. Senior Bartender Eddie Martinez utilizes Luksusowa vodka in sweet and savory cocktails alike: "Luksusowa is a great product, especially as far as price point goes," he says. "I talk with other colleagues and they're happy with the product in the well." Customers want to taste the spirit itself, so Luksusowa tends to be featured more generously in cocktails than other vodka brands, such as in the SoHo Bloody Mary, which has been a staple on the menu since the bar opened ten years ago: Luksusowa is infused with more than a dozen vegetables, herbs and spices for five days before being mixed with horseradish, lime juice, olive juice, tobacco and tomato juice. "Because potatoes deliver a much richer, denser and smoother vodka than grains, Luksusowa is a superb and versatile mixer, and bartenders and mixologists use it as both a cocktail base and as an ingredient," Kilgore says. "But, many of our customers prefer to drink it the traditional Polish way—straight from the freezer." With 31 international medals for quality under its belt and bragging rights as the only Polish vodka to win ten gold medals in a row (at the International Monde Selection Competition in Brussels), we declare Luksusowa a vodka for 2017 and beyond! Eddie Martinez, Senior Bartender, SoHo Wine & Martini Bar in San Antonio, TX. Lone Star Sippin' LUKSUSOWA POTATO VODKA ARRIVES STATESIDE TO THE TUNE OF APPLAUSE by Becky Tsadik / photos by Josh Huskin

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