The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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to produce blended Scotch whisky or different grape varieties are blended to create Bordeaux wine. "Each of these different potato varietals brings its own element to the final product," says Tom Michaelsen, Marketing Operations Manager for Karlsson's Vodka. "In addition, they are harvested at a young age, before they have had time to form a rough, coarse skin, where all the imperfec- tions normally are. Instead, the skin of our virgin new potatoes is like a fine, delicate film that can be washed away when the potatoes are cleaned. Plus, being younger, they have a much lower starch content and a higher water con- tent. So when it comes to the fermenta- tion process, while other vodkas have to add water, Karlsson's Gold doesn't, keeping the mash all natural." Exploring the Possibilities The end result is an 80-proof vodka with a texture as soft as goose down and so pure it doesn't require filtering, which Karlsson feels would impede the flavor. And yet, it has an intensely floral and spicy aroma and a taste to match, accented by a dusting of black pepper. In fact, pepper is the signature condi- ment for Karlsson's Gold. "Try Karlsson's neat, then add a little ice and fresh cracked black pepper," says Michaelsen, who also suggests a lemon twist. "And in Copenhagen last week, I had a great Karlsson's cocktail made with lime and caramel. Other mixologists are doing even far more exciting things with it." Spices such as ginger, rosemary and dill are also complementary to Karlsson's Gold, as are certain foods, including shellfish— especially oysters—making this vodka a winner whether served neat, in a cocktail or with food. Meanwhile, the Karlsson's team continues to explore the possibilities of potato vodka. The new Karlsson's Batch 2008, the brand's first single-varietal virgin new potato vodka, made from a single distillation of the Gammelsvensk Röd variety. Released in a limited edi- tion of only 1,980 signed and numbered bottles, it is slightly briny and almost grappa-like in taste and texture. With these two unfiltered single- distilled vodkas, Börje Karlsson has indeed struck gold. Wayfare Tavern, San Francisco, CA C Its enticing corner location in the Financial District on Sacramento Street just off Leidesdorff Alley, combined with a sophisticated black-and-brick ambiance tells you this modern take on San Francisco's turn of the century elegance is something special. Indeed, celebrity chef Tyler Florence has channeled his Food Network stardom into books, culinary ware and now his new flagship restaurant, serving the best of traditional American cuisine—with the Tyler touch, of course, highlighted by an open kitchen that showcases his talents. No less important to the creations Head Bartender Chris Tunstall of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco says Karlsson's Gold plays an integral role in the restau- rant's Summer Harvest cocktail. of chef/owner Tyler Florence are those of the Wayfare Tavern's well-stocked bar, with Beverage Manager Ken Wagstaff and Head Bartender Chris Tunstall man- ning the helm. Not surprisingly, Karlsson's Gold plays a major role in their mixology program, where it is popular with patrons as both a Dirty Martini and a Dry one. But Chris also incorporates more complicated cocktails that showcase the unique qualities of Karlsson's Gold. "The Summer Harvest captures the essence of our cocktail program," he says. "It's a culinary- focused cocktail, utilizing fresh seasonal ingredients. Karlsson's 50 / the tasting panel / september 2012 Gold plays an integral role in this drink, because it contributes a texture and savory character that is present in the final cocktail. The roasted peppers and the chorizo bitters give this cocktail a slightly smoky quality. " —R. C. H. SUMMER HARVEST ◗ 1½ oz. Karlsson's Gold Vodka ◗ 1 oz. roasted red pepper purée ◗ ½ oz. lemon juice ◗ ½ oz. agave nectar ◗ One pinch salt ◗ One pinch black pepper ◗ 2 sage leaves ◗ 6 leaves watercress ◗ ½ barspoon horseradish ◗ One dash Tapatio ◗ One dash chorizo bitters* ◗ Muddle one sage leaf (reserve one for garnish), watercress, salt, pepper and horseradish in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, fill mixing tin with ice and shake vigorously until well chilled. Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with sage leaf covered in ground black pepper. *Chorizo Bitters Add ¼ pound dried chorizo to 4 oz. of Angostura Bitters and allow to infuse for two nights. Place the infusion in the freezer to allow the fat to freeze, then strain the liquid through a coffee filter. M Y CM MY CY CMY K PHOTO: NIKKI RITCHER

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