I wrote somewhere that I had a particular liking for potato vodkas, and the nice folks at Platinka offered to send me a sample of their own product, to try to turn me onto rye vodkas. It was an offer I could hardly refuse. The bottle duly came and then went into a holding pattern in my freezer, patiently waiting its turn to get tasted.
I appreciated the very tight cork on it, as my vodkas get stored on their sides in the freezer and you could see this one was definitely not going to leak. (My wife was cleaning out the freezer the other day and said, ‘There’s more vodka in here than food!’)
The First Taste of Platinka
I took my first sniff of the cold Platinka and could detect… absolutely nothing. To me it had a totally neutral, totally pure smell, with none of the hint of chemicals that most cheap vodkas have – and Platinka is hardly expensive at only $24.99 for a litre bottle. I took my first sip and could definitely detect the liquorice taste I often get with good vodkas, but also a hint of pear. Two unique tastes that may be an odd combination but it tasted good.
On a second sip those two tastes were still there, but this time there was also a cucumber-like freshness as I swirled it around my mouth, a beautiful contrast to the powerful heat of the alcohol. There were some clear citrus notes in there too.
What was even more interesting than the hints of lovely flavors was the vodka’s staying power. After as little as five minutes some vodkas start to show their rough edges, with that clinical taste coming through. But the Platinka was still as smooth as silk. The freezer can hide a lot of defects, which is why some people like to taste vodkas at room temperature. I prefer a shot straight from the freezer, then sip at the drink as it warms up (and I live in Arizona so that doesn’t usually take long!) With Platinka it made no difference – it was brilliant either way.
I then did another of my standard things and tried the vodka in an improvised cocktail reaching for what I happen to have to hand. In this case it was a pomegranate/cranberry mix, with a splash of Triple Sec. OK, it wasn’t the greatest cocktail in the world, but the Platinka held its own and came through strongly. I think a mixologist could have some fun with this one.
Platinka Vodka Cocktails
If you want some suggestions, the Platinka website has several cocktail recipes for you to try, including their two signature cocktails, the Tinka Red (right) and the Fruitinka.
About Platinka Vodka
Platinka is from Belarus and gets its name – and its cool bottle design – from the platinum filtration process it goes through., though that’s after a more regular charcoal filtration. The water comes from artesian wells that are several hundred feet deep, and Platinka uses this because it gives a mineral flavor to the drink, which, combined with the filtration, helps it taste so crisp and smell so pure. Only a few distilleries in Eastern Europe use platinum for distillation.
Well, whatever they’re doing at Platinka they’re doing it right. It had already won several awards in Eastern Europe, where it’s sold under its Russian name of Платиновая, meaning Platinum. Then even before it was officially launched in the USA in the fall of 2012 it had won a Best Vodka, Double Gold Medal, at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It won again in San Francisco in 2013, and has picked up several other awards, especially for Good Value and Best Buy vodkas. It doesn’t surprise me in the least. Platinka’s a seriously smooth vodka at an affordable price.
At the moment Platinka is only available in Tennessee, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, though you can get the word out by asking for it in your local liquor store. You can even try a 50ml sample bottle for $2, and see if I’m right about that taste. It’s also available online, and you can find out more at the Platinka website.