Smirnoff Vodka and Infused Flavorings

Jul 6, 2001

The Bottom Line Unless you really enjoy infused flavorings, consider buying the classic red label Smirnoff vodka instead. It is a more versatile mixer.

This is not so much a review of the entire Smirnoff vodka line, as it is about a particular flavor infused vodka that Smirnoff produced: Smirnoff Citrus Twist Vodka. For those interested, a brief history of the Smirnoff brand can be found at:

And I will not repeat the history here except to say that this brand was first introduced and manufactured in America in 1934 -- the year after Prohibition ended -- and vodka has grown in popularity to become the most popular spirit in America.

Vodka is one of the great mixable spirits. The fact that it has a somewhat neutral flavor makes it a very versatile with a number of different soft drinks and mixers.

In its early marketing campaigns, Smirnoff used to promote its Vodka as being "the drink that leaves you breathless." Not breathless, as in awe-struck, but breathless as in not having a vaporous alcoholic's breath... which many people believed (then) and still believe today.

The Russian word vodka originally meant "little water." Today, Smirnoff is the world's largest and most popular premium vodka line.

The Citrus Twist Vodka
This is a 35% Alcohol by Volume (70 proof) spirit, absolutely clear in color and featuring an unmistakable lime nose. This is a low-weight, short finish Vodka. The lime scent/flavoring is closer to what one would expect from the outer peel of the fruit, rather than from the pulp, and there is something of a queer and oily lime smell to this vodka that I personally find unclean.

Ingredients: despite popular misconception, most modern vodkas are not made from potatoes. They are made from small grains, principally rye. After the grains are malted and fermentation occurs, the resulting brew is then continuously distilled. Smirnoff, for example, triple distills its vodka. The spirit is then charcoal filtered. Flavored vodkas, like this Citrus Twist, are infused with aromatizing elements over a long period of time (2-to-3 years in some cases).

I tried 100 ml (about 3¼ ounces) of this vodka, neat and slightly chilled. I didn't consume it at an extremely cold temperature, and I didn't drink each 1.5 ounce shot in a straight slam because I wanted to experience the lime infused flavor.

Price and Availability
Smirnoff is one of the world's most popular brands, and most of its Vodka products should be available at all package liquor stores nationwide. Expect to pay about $15 for a 750 ml bottle of Smirnoff Citrus Twist.

Best way to consumer: very, very cold... icy cold -- store the bottle in the freezer -- and serve as an aperitif  (before a meal) or as a digestif  (after a meal).

I did not like this flavored vodka. In fact, I think that flavored vodka is a rather silly idea. I would recommend, instead, the classic Red Label  Smirnoff, which is a 75 proof (37½% alcohol) neutral spirit and, incidentally, America's best selling vodka.

There are many cocktail recipes that employ vodka as the base spirit. Vodka will mix well with just about anything. The Smirnoff website does provide a drink recipe updated on a daily basis.

If you find you are the witless recipient of the Citrus Twist vodka, consider making a Bikini --

2½ ounces of Vodka
1¼ ounces of white rum
¾ ounces of milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
add the juice from ½ lemon

Use a shaker with ice cubes and serve in a cocktail glass (a large Martini glass works well).

Pros: Popular brand, easy to find, consistent quality.
Cons: I don't like flavor infused vodka.

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Member: Tom Carr
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