Geek Etiquette: How To Taste Spirits

You’ve most likely been a part of a wine tasting at some point–the swirling, tasting, and spitting that goes into fully appreciating a glass. But did you know you could do the same thing with spirits like vodka? When you’ve got a great vodka, you don’t want to shoot it back or cover it up with juice or soda. You want to sip it and appreciate it.

I was invited to a luncheon and tasting last Friday for Glass Distillery, a new vodka distillery and tasting room in Seattle’s SODO District. Wine expert Mark Oldman┬áled us through a tasting of the delicious Glass Vodka, a vodka made from Washington Wine grapes. Want to taste some vodka (or other spirits) of your own? Follow the steps we took:

  • Pour: Pour an ounce of vodka in a clear glass.
  • Look: Look at the vodka and check for clearness (there should be no cloudiness, sediment, or residue). It helps to hold the glass in front of a white surface–I used a white napkin.
  • Smell: Put the glass down and swirl the vodka a bit, same as you would a wine glass. Cover the top of the glass as you swirl, then take your hand off of it as you smell it.
  • Taste: Swirl the vodka in the glass a bit more, then take a sip. Hold this first sip in your mouth for 5 seconds. What do you taste? What adjectives come to mind?
  • Taste Again: Take another sip (and swallow) and see how long the taste itself lasts in your mouth. What type of aftertastes do you sense?

Next time your friends tell you that wine is classier than vodka, lead them through this tasting–it’ll prove them wrong!

Want to try Glass Vodka? The distillery and tasting room is now open to the public! You can find it at 1712 1st Avenue South.

One Comment

  1. This reminds me of when I went to my first wine testing event a few weekends ago! To be completely honest I think wine is a little on the disgusting side, but he had us cup the glass from underneath (so it warms the wine), swirl it around while using our other hand to cover the glass and take a sip. BUT! Then we had to, like, gurgle the wine in our mouth, swish it around like mouthwash and THEN drink it. It got all up in our sinuses and tasted a LOT stronger. I NEVER KNEW.

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