Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Luksusowa @ Nic's - Vodka Tasting in the 90210

Luksusowa, the best selling potato based vodka in the world, had a tasting last week at Nic's Martini Lounge in Beverly Hills. The Polish vodka was not shy about its potato origins (see photo above) and Southern California rep Heather Sturm and Nic's owner Larry Nicola led the assembled thirsty crowd through a tasting of various vodkas made with different grains to experience the difference in flavors.

Larry Nicola (pictured above with Sturm) is passionate about vodka, the featured spirit at Nic's. While many mixology bartenders have had little love for vodka since the cocktail renaissance, especially due to the appletini and cosmo craze of the late 1990s and early oughts, vodka producers have sought to educate the bartending and cocktail communities about the flavor profiles of their products, which are not all flavorless and odorless. The Luksusowa tasted light and clean a contrast to the sweet flavor of Svedka, the truly tasteless Sky and the harsh finish of the Sobieski, which were among the six vodkas provided to sample.

A signature of Nic's is the VodBox, a vodka tasting room at freezing temperature. Due to the cold temperature, they give each imbiber a warm jacket to wear while in the room. Several dozen vodkas are available to be sampled in the small windowed room.

It was disappointing that the Luksusowa global brand ambassador Matthew Pomeroy, who was scheduled to present, was unable to attend due to flight delays from Europe.

Charles Vexenat, a bartender originally from Burgundy and now based in London, mixed several cocktails featuring Luksusowa including the Basil Smash (pictured above), which included the Strawberry Basil Smash (pictured above) and the Orange Mule, which included fig jam, orange juice, lime, vodka, and ginger beer.

Parking for Nic's is easy. There is an underground lot with 2 hrs free parking underneath the Crate & Barrel complex, with driveway access on both Beverly Drive and Canon Drive.

Nic's Martini Lounge is located at 453 N Canon Drive @ Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills. Phone: (310) 550-5707

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