Brands, like many crazy Olympic gymnasts, are climbing the shelf of alcoholic beverages, this is more of a marketing ploy than a real product development: look for vodka with taste and curly taste in the fast food chain Arby or Oreo Thins, which merged in December with Barefoot Wines on red mix.

Although it has a novelty, the latest blend of food and spirits, vodka flavored with a mixture of Old Bay spices seems to launch a product designed to save – and, it turns out, for good reason.

Drinking the condiment best known for flavoring Crab Chesapeake crabs was inevitable. Bartenders have long been seasoning their bloody Mary Old Bay, and in 2017, McCormick, a Maryland company that owns Old Bay, collaborated with fellow Old Line State George’s Beverage Company to create its own mix of bloody Mary. In 2013, Philadelphia Distillers debuted “The Bay,” a vodka flavored with “traditional Chesapeake seasoning,” which sounds like copyright infringing code for the iconic yellow can.

After the success with the spicy Old Bay sauce the company reunited with George’s for a new own vodka. (Time to sell: this is Maryland – take it, Putin!). As a native of the East Coast of Virginia, I felt obligated to try this, and I was drawn to several colleagues, including my own Old Bay fan The Washington Post, beverage and nightlife reporter Fritz Khan, a staunch Maryland resident. much has been written about the spice mix.

We tried it on our own as well as in a few simple recipes from the brand’s website: a simple blend with lemon celery, a martini contaminated with olive brine, a mule-style drink with ginger beer and brewed Bloody Mary using the aforementioned mixer.

When you open the bottle, the smell is not given out; you could sniff and sniff and not feel a hint of Old Bay and all the good moments that cause crabs, boiling seafood that causes aroma. Served straight, we mostly picked up the peppery notes of the famous spice blend, possibly with a share of celery seeds. I didn’t find those warm, baking spices that give Old Bay its complexity.

So, in itself, it may not be the most fragrant of drinks, but I do not argue with this: vodka, especially when served cold, is not known for delicate bouquets or complex taste profiles. In fact, its ability to mix is ​​one of its most valuable qualities (perhaps second only to its buzzing properties, that is). And if we talk about it, in the Old Bay the fortress is slightly smaller than in many other burners – 35% to the standard 40%.

There was no aggressive burns or unpleasant viscosity, and we soon admitted that it looked like pure, uncomplicated pepper vodka, which gave the cocktails a pleasant spicy look.

Once we started mixing it, we found that the more topical Old Bay spices we can add to Old Bay vodka, the more we like the resulting drinks. It was finely chopped with soda water with lemon flavor. It was even better on the martini, where it gave the salinity of the olive brine a bit of peppery heat, making me crave a plate of oysters Shooting Point. Our unanimous favorite was the combination with tart lemon juice and ginger beer – mainly because the side dish of lemon wheel soaked in Old Bay, enhances the drink Old Bay. And the bloody Mary, made from the brand’s own blend, also became a hit – again, because of the superiority of the branded ingredient.

Lessons I took: a) I liked Old Bay in my cocktails, which was amazing; and b) if you want Old Bay in your cocktails, head to the spice shelf.

Call me small, but one of my favorite things about this vodka is its label. It is immediately recognizable as an Old Bay product with branded red, yellow and blue tones, but has a cleaner design than the old cans, which gives it a cheerful retro-modern look.

It will look fantastic on a stroller from the bar, and it will be a great gift this summer for those who will allow you to crash into their house on the beach – or organize a nearby crab holiday.

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