I’m a big fan of Van Gogh’s flavored (or infused) vodkas, as you’ll know if you’ve read my reviews of their Double Espresso and, more recently, their mouthwateringly wonderful Dutch Caramel flavors. Another recent addition to their line is Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka, so how would this go down? I was curious to try it because although I’ve got a sweet tooth, and Dutch Caramel certainly appeals to that, I’ve not been a big fan of the more fruity-tasting vodkas.
Like the rest of the line, the Raspberry Vodka carries the attractive new labeling that Van Gogh has introduced. It’s a much cleaner and more stylish look, a lot less cluttered than before. Unscrew the cap and the Raspberry Vodka certainly has an appealing smell to it. Obviously you’d expect raspberry, but it’s an understated and subtle raspberry smell, not one that’s in your face – or in your nose, should I say?
On the palate the taste is the same, a gentle kind of raspberry, not overpowering, which is definitely a good thing. Van Gogh says there’s a hint of blackcurrant too, which my own nose wasn’t sensitive enough to pick up, but it certainly smelled and tasted like there were some other summer berries in the mix. Although it’s a slightly less stronger than normal vodka, at 35%, there was no hint of this in the taste. It seemed a full-bodied vodka, and the finish was smooth too. After all, this is a premium vodka which just happens to have been infused with raspberries. It’s not a cheap vodka with raspberry flavoring added. We’ve all tasted those.
If I were a mixologist then I’d be excited to see how I could use this in a cocktail. It’s an intriguing flavor to work with, I reckon. It didn’t quite grab me as a sipping vodka, like the Dutch Caramel and Double Espresso both did. In fact both of those are more swigging than sipping vodkas – very dangerous. The Raspberry Vodka didn’t work for me like that, though it was better on the rocks than neat, which watered down the taste a little more to my liking. But these things are personal, and you might prefer the raspberry to the caramel.
Certainly other vodka tasters have found this Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka to their liking, and I can’t disagree:
4 Stars / Highly Recommended, The Spirit Journal
4 Stars / Exceptional, BevX
93 Points / Gold Medal, Best Tasting Spirits
Baking with Booze
You can also bake with Van Gogh’s Raspberry Vodka. They’ve worked with Dawn Belisle of Delights by Dawn, to create Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes, and if you want to try it, here it is:
Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes
1 Box white cake mix (like Duncan Hines)
1 Box instant French vanilla pudding
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the White Chocolate Raspberry Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
4 oz. white chocolate melted and slightly cooled, but still pouring consistency
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup International Delight White Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Creamer
1/4 teaspoon salt
Coat 1/2 cup of raspberries with sugar and 1 tablespoon of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka, set aside for about 10 minutes. Combine white cake mix, French vanilla pudding, eggs, vegetable oil, and 1 cup of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka and the raspberry-sugar-vodka mixture from above. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
Once cupcakes have cooled and before adding the frosting, put the remaining Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka in a small, shallow bowl and dip the top of the cupcake in the vodka until the top is covered, but not overly saturated. Allow the raspberry vodka to soak in for about five minutes before frosting.
For the frosting, melt the white chocolate and let it slightly cool, it should be pouring consistency. Using a hand mixer, or if using a mixer use the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides down. Put the mixer on low speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Next, quickly pour in the melted white chocolate and then beat again for 2 minutes on medium speed until creamy. Add coffee creamer and salt. Beat for an additional 1 minute until combined. Frost the cupcakes and decorate as desired.
More about Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
You can learn more about their Raspberry Vodka on the Van Gogh website, and find a recipe for a simple Raspberry Ice Pick cocktail and – does this sound wicked or what – a Chocolate Covered Raspberry Martini: http://vangoghvodka.com/varieties/van-gogh-raspberry-vodka/