I knew it was morning when I felt the sunshine scratching at my eyelids. Without thinking I slowly peeled them open and squinted around the room, everything looked different from my angle on the floor! It took a second for the pain in my head to register with my brain, but when it did it was something I can only imagine a sledgehammer to the skull feels like.
Gingerly I lifted myself off the floor, my weight had doubled overnight and my wrists strained. I instantly regretted it! My arms gave way and my head thumped back down onto the carpet. I curled into the foetal position, shaking and shivering. Their I lay, motionless, wearing last nights clothes, with a dry tongue chomping on a mouth that felt like a sandpit! I began gently sobbing into the shag below me.
My date from the night before was long gone, not that I could have stomached her kiss anyway. Only her empty bottle lay on the floor. My Russian lady had shown me the time of my life and although my recollection was cloudy, she had left me with memories that I can't shake, even now. 17 years or so later, and I think I am ready to give Vodka another chance!
Being 18, with a legal ID, is an amazing thing! Being 18 and playing the big man is the part that lets it all down! Beer was like an elixir! Alco pops were a sugary buzz givers that kept the party going, but spirits were the big boys drink, the holy grail! And I, in hindsight should have left well alone! You see, most folk don't go out and buy a Ferrari the day they get their driving license! Yet, that's pretty much what I did.
Time heals & age brings wisdom! So now is the time to make peace with vodka. While researching another article in Mid 2015, I caught an ad for a new locally crafted premium Vodka. Billed as Irelands first Potato distilled vodka, well In Ireland we love Booze and we are known to be fond of a spud or two. Intrigued I tracked a bottle down.
Vodka is used in many drinks and cocktails, unfortunately I gave up after trying other brands of this spirit with only two mixers, Coke and Red Bull (both in the same night)! So as I wasn't sure how best to enjoy Ruby Blue, I had to seek some advice. Who better to consult than the Companies top Woman. How cool is it to get advice from the Boss of the company!! A brief twitter conversation with Barbara Hughes advised keeping it simple, lemonade and a slice of lime, unless I wanted to drink it the Russian way. "Take a sip and swirl it round your mouth to coat cheeks, you'll get the creaminess that comes from the potato distillation". The words of the top lady herself on how to drink her vodka straight!
Pouring a shot of vodka, filled me with dread. I put my nose to the glass expecting to recoil, but I didn't. Weighing in at 40% ABV (80 proof), it certainly had a strong presence but I wasn't put off. Jumping in I took a sip and followed the Bosses advice. It was just as she said. It filled my mouth with warmth and fire, the creamy finish was as they advertise. Smooth, very smooth! The heat lingered in my mouth as I let it sink down. Their was no flashback, no horror!
I was pleased initially, pleased with myself that is. I thought it was me, that I had matured. I was now a connoisseur of spirits, after almost 20 years, I had conquered Vodka and bettered my Russian Mistress. Of course, this Is Irish Vodka, maybe the problem was with the drink! I had sickened myself on cheap, or cheaper stuff back then. I had splashed out on Premium product and was reaping the rewards. I finished my shot and savoured it. The heat in my cheeks spreading to my extremities. While I couldn't quite mix with coke, I went with Lemonade and a slice of lime. 2 big Ice cubes and a quick stir! Incredible
RubyBlue Potato Vodka. Ireland’s First Potato Distilled Vodka, Smooth ultra Pure Vodka with subtle notes of vanilla and crisp apple. Buttery & well-rounded with just a little earthiness. Perfect for those that like to enjoy Vodka Neat but also an excellent base for cocktails! That's the official blurb from www.Rubybluevodka.com
Launched in the Summer of 2015, by Stuart and Barbara Hughes. This Lisburn based Craft Distillery (established in 2010) has wasted no time in becoming a much talked about local export. Stocked almost immediately by some giant retailers and present in a number of top restaurants, Ruby Blue Vodka joins an already established line of whole berry and Irish grin spirit liqueurs.
A limited run, 700 bottles, of Ruby Blue Cask Aged Vodka was released in late 2015. We managed to get bottle number 500 (thanks guys) This vodka was kept for four months in Bourbon barrels, giving it a unique colour. We gifted this bottle to a friend for Christmas, which was possibly overly generous. We are waiting for an invite to go taste some, patiently waiting..
Ruby Blue is immense. So good that it brought me back to Vodka! You get what you pay for, so the bottles of Smirnoff in the LiquorJunky bar will be kept for visitors and family! This one isn't for sharing, in fact I might try to source another bottle of Cask Finished and gift it to myself.