Nestled in a cozy corner of my liquor cabinet sits a tall bottle in an insulated black glove. Startling red letters adorn the glove, in an horror-inspired font: BLAVOD.
Black Vodka has become increasingly popular over the past couple years, and typically is only available in stores during the month of October, in order to allow people to prepare for Halloween. Many interesting looking concoctions can be created using this, such as the Halloween Screwdriver, in which you layer Black Vodka and orange juice, to give it the black and orange color scheme of Halloween.
As we all know, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of kinds of season beers, only available during certain parts of the year. Some of them are Wit Biers only available during the summer, special Pale Ales during the spring, Porters and Stouts during the winter, Pumpkin Ales, and most famous of all, Oktoberfest beers typically available during the autumn months.
However, spirits are usually year-round. Except for Black Vodka, the only mass-produced seasonal spirit that I am aware of. Granted, there’s nothing exceptionally special about it; It’s the same as regular vodka, but with black food coloring added to it. There’s a bit of a thrill though, this once a year bottled blend. For cocktail loving Halloween enthusiasts, it’s the perfect opportunity to start mixing unique looking beverages, without having to take a regular spirit and add your own food dye.
Right now, BLAVOD, the originator of Black Vodka, has pretty much cornered the North American market. However, Absolut is trying to make a run at them, by producing their Absolut Black. However, the price difference is the breaking point for me, as they both taste pretty much the same. BLAVOD runs at about $20 for a 750ml bottle, while Absolut is a bit pricier at closer to $30. So, BLAVOD has the market cornered in my opinion, until someone else comes along and competes with them on the price. The one thing Absolut has going for them, is that they offer 100 proof Black Vodka. This could make even more interesting cocktails, such as Flaming Jack o’ Lantern-style shots.
Most of the brands claim that the color alteration doesn’t do anything to the taste, however, some experts dispute this, saying there are indeed minute changes in the otherwise flavorless spirit. There could be something to this, as BLAVOD uses an herb extract to achieve it’s color, and this herb, known as Catechu, is sometimes used in medicines.
Starting over the next several days, we at Culture of Spirits are going to be doing our best, putting hours upon hours of research into creating cocktails for the Halloween season. Stay tuned!