Guest post by Caroline Bletso
Will I come and drink some vodka in a lovely boutique hotel? Yes, yes I will. Someone has to.
Trying Goral Vodka Master
My first visit to the Edgbaston Hotel was by invitation from Goral Vodka Master, newly in the UK, to come and taste their wares. We were taken to the electric-swing, golden-walled private bar downstairs and seated immediately with a vodka tonic. So far so good.
Served with Fentiman’s tonic, it made a nice start to the evening, although as Fentiman’s is one of the best tonics around, it could have just been the tonic.
After taking many photographs of the bottle (which really is quite nice. Very elegant, and goes extremely with the Edgbaston’s art deco décor) we investigated the menu on our table. Goral Vodka Master is a Slovakian vodka, with a distillery nestled in the heart of the Tatra mountains (no, me neither, I’m going to look them up), and the cocktails, crafted by the fine barspeople of the Edgbaston, were intended to reflect Slovakian flavours. Slovakian flavours like pickles, absinthe and sauerkraut.
Meet Lightning Over The Tatras: Goral vodka, sauerkraut-absinthe tincture, cocchi Americano, Halušky distillate, Edgbaston bitters, house pickled onion. Halušky, by the way, is a type of dumpling noodle.
Arriving at the table, it looks rather like a martini with an onion and a piece of carrot in it. And it tastes like a slightly savoury martini. The vodka has a strong enough flavour to carry though- as an habitual gin drinker myself I often suspect that vodka might not taste of anything.
However, how can we really judge a vodka until we taste it neat? Fortunately at this point we are given a quick introduction to Goral vodka and its story- it undergoes a 7 column distillation and is filtered 7 times. For reference, Smirnoff is distilled only three times, but is filtered 10 times. I’m not sure how that affects it. I must brush up on vodka.
This comes with the promise that we can try it neat. The tasting notes are: clean and light on the nose, with mineral aromas mixed with subtle notes of mild pepper and caramel, creamy taste with notes of sugar candy followed by hints of spice and citrus.
Easy-to- drink vodka with well-balanced flavours.
So. On the nose? To me it just smells like vodka. Again, practice needed perhaps. But taste wise, Id’ say that’s pretty bang on. Except maybe the citrus, and I felt it was slightly spicier than mere hints, but definitely easy to drink.
After a new cocktail- the Gentle Revolution (Goralvodka, raspberry and pepperdew shrub, Tatratea Slovakian coconut tea liqueur, RinQuinQuin a la peche, fresh lemon), which is fresh and definitely tastes of pepperdew, we were told that table service had ended and we could head to the bar to get any cocktail from the list. All night. So we tried the martini, which was pretty good… I may even occasionally steer away from gin in future.
Needless to say, we found Goral and the Goral-Edgbaston cocktails extremely drinkable. Which is why I write this an entire day after the event.
I must also add that should you wish to hire the private bar at the Edgbaston it holds up to 55 people (standing) and has a minimum spend of £2,500. So I won’t be living my Gatsby dreams anytime soon, but maybe you can. It has a piano and everything.
Caroline accepted the invite to try Goral Vodka Master and has not been paid to write this post. Her opinions are her own as are the photos.