When I first met Alice Farquhar at a Soho House dinner early in the year, I was instantly drawn to her smile and outgoing nature. We exchanged numbers and planned to meet up a few weeks later as she had quite a bit of upcoming travel. In fact, travel is a big part of what her job directing Global Education for Belvedere requires, as she jaunts around the world teaching mixologists, consumers and spirits specialists the finer points of serving premium vodka. She’s no stranger to the jet set life as prior to moving to the US, she was often recognized by publications like the London Sunday Times and British Vogue as a prominent figure on the social scene both in Britain and abroad.
It was over cocktails at True Food Kitchen in Green Hills where I learned a little bit more about her international experiences with Belvedere as well as the romantic ties that brought her to live in Nashville after more than a decade of connecting with one of the city’s most prominent personalities in hospitality, Max Goldberg. While she may be away a great deal, she now makes her home in Music City with the love of her life. She also has big plans to spread the word about the brand she believes in and in this case, that started with educating my team a bit with an authentic vodka experience.
For our tasting, Alice chose two of Belvedere’s signature bottles from the Single Estate Rye collection. The flavor variances and intensity definitely proved that all vodka doesn’t taste the same, with each of these selections having distinct characteristics and nuances in the glass.
Lake Barzężek was brighter, with a clear mint distinction while the Smogóry Forrest was rich with a longer finish flavored with hints of sea salt and caramel. Both of the special offerings are easy to sip solo, with their own flavors not needing mixers or added ingredients. When making cocktails, we chose to use the more familiar Belvedere Vodka traditionally served in dining establishments.
We noshed on a few items meant to compliment the flavors. Anything salty including cheese, crackers, olives and sharp spreads work well.
- “Shaken or stirred” is not a real thing in terms of taste for martinis. It’s more of a ‘show’ thing, with the shaking being a fun activity that’s more about entertaining than the cocktail result.
- With a true premium vodka, you can easily splash it onto your hands and rub together for an instant clean feeling with no residue. This isn’t the case with less pure vodka brands (we tried it) that seem to be popular in local bars.
- For tasting or sipping, no freezing required. We sampled both Single Estate selections only slightly chilled for clarity of flavor.
- Shot glasses are for amateurs. The best vessel is an open wine glass for capturing the scent and body of the vodka prior to tasting.
Overall, we discovered that the Belvedere flavors spoke to our palates in a positive way and that sipping the clean vodka was much more pleasing than wine typically served at afternoon gatherings. We loved the education and most of all, the teacher, who will likely have all of music city sold on drinking only the finest vodkas very soon.