I love coffee, and I have a fair amount of experience infusing the flavor of coffee into other drinks as well, such as vodka. I was both pleasantly surprised and very excited when I was recently contacted by Three Olives Vodka to try their newest flavor, labeled Triple Shot Espresso Vodka. The online literature said that there were three shots of espresso infused into this beverage to give it an almost chocolate hint to it.
Needless to say I was excited to try it. The bottle itself is a very attractive piece of glass work, and will most assuredly find a place on my shelf after the review is completed in its entirety. There is a Martini glass outlined on the front and three demitasse cups pictured on the back of the bottle. The only suggestion I would have regarding packaging would be to consider a different color for the martini glass on the front of the bottle as the black glass tend to get lost against the background of a full bottle of dark fluid.
First order of business was to properly chill the bottle, because as any fan of vodka will tell you it is much better served chilled. The hardest part about this was waiting until the bottle was nice and frosty before cracking it open. Yes i could always add ice, but that waters down the taste of things, and for a first impression you want a true picture of the product.
This having been done the next step is testing the smell of the drink. Pouring a nice shot of the chilled beverage the smell wafted up was a very sweet coffee smell. It was strong, pleasant and had a certain caramel tone to it. the exact smell would be hard to put a finger on but it was not a pure coffee smell, but it is immediately identifiable as coffee. Espresso has a deeper taste profile than coffee does, a much richer tone to the smell and taste, this beverage filled those shoes well.
The first sip of the beverage produced a wonderful taste experience. a slight bite to the drink announcing the vodka in the liquid, a smooth espressso and caramel overtone and a light chocolate note at the end. Vodka is not usually a very viscus liquid, it usually is as fluid as a glass of water. This drink however was slightly thicker than I was expecting. It tasted less like a Vodka Infusion and more like a cordial. The drink was quite sweet, also something which I was not expecting.
My pallet is attuned to black coffee and straight espresso. My own adventures in creating a Coffee Infusion with vodka produced different results. My vodka was as fluid as you would expect vodka to be with a deep earthy overtones and a slight bitter kick to it. This drink was more along the lines of an Espresso with sugar when compared to what I was expecting. This is not a bad thing necessarily, it was just unexpected. The Three Olives interpretation of Espresso and Vodka meeting in a dark alley produces a very good drink, even straight. Which is not a claim many vodka’s can make.
Crossing t’s and Dotting i’s
In the name of thoroughness I also tried the drink on the rocks, which produced a very pleasant experience as well, the melting ice thinned the beverage out to a different consistency and I found the aroma to be stronger when poured over ice. It could be the wider mouth of the glass or it could be the increased surface area the vodka now covered. If anything I think i enjoyed the drink much more over ice than I did as a shot. I can throw back a shot with the best of the them but sipping a drink really gives you time to fully appreciate the different flavors in the beverage.
In closing I really enjoyed this beverage and would feel very comfortable serving it to friends and family. It stands on its own as a true espresso flavored vodka, which does not scare off the timid of pallet. It has a delightful sweet taste while staying true to the overall flavor profile of a coffee based drink. And while it is a different experience from making your own Coffee Vodka, It is non the less a very good and clear choice in my book. The difference could be due to this being based off espresso rather than coffee, but either way it is a great addition to any stock.
Now if you’ll excuse me there are a couple more rounds of blind taste testing to be conducted…