Diageo has launched two new varieties of its premium vodka and whisky brands – Ciroc and Johnnie Walker.
In a concert-styled launch that took place over the course of last week in Lagos, the giant drink company introduced the new premium varieties to its customers.
Afrobeat star and global Ciroc brand ambassador, Wizkid was the headline performer at the Ciroc Summer Colada Limited Edition official launch. The Starboy Music leading act performed alongside Smirnoff Vodka ambassador, DJ Spinall.
The event took place on Thursday, 13th December 2018 at the magnificent Circa Mall, Lekki.
CÎROC Summer Colada Limited Edition is an ultra-premium flavoured vodka infused with delicate natural pineapple flavours and coconut cream notes.
Distilled six times to ensure high quality and a smooth essence, it is best enjoyed with a splash of pineapple juice and a wedge of pineapple.
CÎROC is a brand of eau-de-vie vodka, manufactured by using grapes from the Charente-Maritime region of France.
Vodka and gin are two of the world’s most popular spirit drinks, most notable for their clarity of the liquor in the bottle as opposed to whisky and brandy.
Many alcohol lovers do not give a care about what each of these spirit drinks are made of, least of all the artistic excellence put into distilling these drinks.
Although all of these drinks, whether it is vodka, rum, tequila, gin, bourbon, whiskey or cognac, have a unique history, there is a striking difference between them. The difference notwithstanding, there is still some form of similarity between them, especially in terms of production.
The major difference between spirits is in the raw materials used in the production. However, no matter the basis of the liquid, all spirit drinks must go through a distillation, and later aging process to arrive at the finished product.
The same thing goes for vodka and gin, two spirit drinks that form the basis for most cocktail mixes in the world.
While you may not be a liquor connoisseur, it is important to know the difference between the two distilled spirits.
What is Vodka?
Linked with roots to 14th century Russia, vodka is a neutral spirit traditionally lacking a distinctive character, aroma, taste or colour. However, with recent evolving trends, most vodka brands now have products with fruits flavour and aroma.
Derived from Voda, the Russian word for water, vodka in Russian means ‘little stream’. It has the characteristics of a colorless liquid, clear and smooth. It is a pure spirit with a neutral taste. It is generally distilled from the mixtures of potatoes or grains. It can also be made from corn, wheat or even more unconventional items such as grapes.
This is one of the heaviest drink which has 40% of alcohol content. In the European Union, the standard is set to 37.5% but in Nigeria, the limit remains 40% and sometimes higher.
What is Gin?
Gin is flavoured spirit that is produced by re-distillation of a high proof neutral spirit with juniper berries and other flavouring agents. Its origin is traced back to 17th century Holland.
The history of gin dates back to the 11th century, where monks were known to flavor crude distilled drinks with juniper berries and it was also unsuccessfully used as remedy for the black plague. However, the origin of the drink is credited to Franciscus de la Boe (known as Doctor Sylvius); a seventeenth century physician and professor of medicine at the University of Leyden.
It was first named Genièvre by Boe in relation to the French word for Juniper berry, but English distillers shortened it to Gin in the late 17th century.
Gin gets its flavour from the whatever product it is re-distilled from, and is produced mostly in United Kingdom, Holland and the United States. The four distinct varieties of gin include London Dry, Old Tom, Plymouth and Dutch.
The Difference between Vodka and Gin
The major difference between vodka and gin lies in the raw materials used in the production of both spirits, aside from the countries of origin.
While vodka is made from by distillation of potatoes, rye or wheat, gin is made with the help of distillation of malt or grain and then mixed with the flavor of juniper berries. The main constituent of Vodka is water and ethanol while the central part of Gin is Juniper berries.
Evidently, both vodka and gin are clear, colorless spirits, but when it comes to taste, both drinks carry a huge difference. Vodka is virtually neutral and tasteless, while gin often has distinctive, herbal notes. What marks this distinct flavour between the two spirits is that while vodka is a water-based alcohol which lends itself to more of an unfettered, clean finish, gin comes with eight botanicals used to realise its unique, juniper-laden flavour.
How it is served
Vodka is best served chilled while gin can be served without ice or refrigeration. Drinking chilled vodka gives a better mouthfeel as the drink is viscous at ice-cold temperatures. Gin, on the other hand, is already comes with aromatic flavours that compensate for when it is not served chilled.
Cocktail and Mixes
While both drinks are specially good for making cocktails, vodka is the preferred choice for most mixologists. Vodka plays a main ingredient in many cocktails including Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Moscow Mule, White Russian, Black Russian, etc. It can also be consumed with soft drinks.
For gin, its complexity comes alive when mixed with straight flavours just as in gin and tonic cocktail the effervescence of the tonic, the hit of sweet quinine and a twist of citrus (lemon or lime) makes a deceptively basic drink come to life.Other cocktails popularly made with gin include Ramos Gin Fizz, Martinez, Gin Rickey, Red Snapper, Tom Collins, White Lady, Hanky Panky, Clover Club, etc.
While gin maybe classified as a flavoured vodka in many instances, vodka can never be seen as a gin. This is because gin can be re-distilled from vodka, only with added spice and herbal extracts.
Types of Gin
Juniper-Flavoured Spirit Drinks
They are the earliest class of gins distilled in pot stills from fermented grain mash, before being re-distilled with aromatic compounds. They are approximately 68% ABV in strength.
Also juniper flavoured, however the juniper or aromatic compounds are added later on.
Distilled gin is made by exclusively the re-distillation of ethanol of agricultural origin and has an initial strength of 95% ABV. It is also added with additional juniper berries and other natural botanicals.
London gin comes exclusively from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin along with a maximum methanol content of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100% ABV equivalent.
The flavour is added by re-distilling in traditional stills of ethyl alcohol in the presence of all the natural plant materials used, resulting in a spirit of 70% ABV. London gin is sometimes referred to as ‘Dry’.
Popular Vodka and Gins in Nigeria and their Prices
Vodka has become one of the most popular alcoholic beverages used in creating various cocktail drinks. The versatility of vodka has simply made it a mixologist’s delight.
Aside from the plain vodka, there are lots of flavoured vodkas that beat the limitation that comes with rum and whisky by offering countless flavours to base your cocktail on.
As you relish the wonderful experience that comes with vodka, here are five (5) drinks you can mix with vodka to make classic vodka cocktails.
Orange Juice (Screwdriver)
Orange juice goes well with about any alcoholic beverage, and vodka is just perfect. Add four or five ice cubes in a tall glass. Pour in 2 shots vodka and top with orange juice until the glass is almost full. Stir, then garnish with an orange slice and serve and viola you have your glass of Screwdriver cocktail.
Vermouth (Vodka Martini)
You can go the James Bond style by having a vodka martini -“shaken, not stirred”. Simply put five or six ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 shot vodka and 1/2 shot vermouth. Cover and shake, then strain and pour into a classic martini glass. Garnish with olives on a sword or toothpick.
Lemonade (Lemon Drop)
Lemonade is a wonderful addition to vodka; it brings some form of coolness to a hot day. It is best to use a citrus-flavoured vodka to create your glass of Lemon Drop Cocktail. Mix 2 shots vodka, 2 shots lemonade and 1/2 shot sweet-and-sour mix. Serve over ice and garnished with a lemon slice.
Lime Juice & Triple Sec (Cosmopolitan)
The “Sex and the City” television show kicked off the new trend for this classic vodka-based cocktail. You might need a few more ingredients than just lime juice and triple sec, cranberry juice is also needed. Begin by adding four to six ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 shot vodka, 1/2 shot triple sec, 1/2 shot lime juice and 1/2 shot cranberry juice. Shake very well and pour into a martini glass. Lime wedge or curls of lime rind make for a splendid garnish.
Tomato Juice (Bloody Mary)
For the daredevils, just tomato juice and a strong vodka are enough to go. However, you can make a classic Bloody Mary cocktail by combining 2 shots tomato juice, 1 shot vodka, about 1/2 tablespoonful Worcestershire sauce, a squeeze of lemon juice and 2 drops hot sauce. Shake together with five to six ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice.
Doing body shots is a true party turn on. It takes ordinary drinking into a more intense, alcohol-filled party.
The beauty of the game is that it can be played by just two. So if you are the type who does not love wild parties or the hopeless romantic, you can still get turned up playing body shots with your lover at home.
Tequila is the traditional drink used for most body shots, but there is no crime in shooting away with vodka if tequila is not available. You can as well replace salt with lemon or sugar too.
How to play
Get a pair of dice, paper, a pen and, of course, your preferred liquor. Write down six (it can be more than that) body parts and assign numbers to them on a piece of paper. Also, write down how each shot will be taken on a particular, like a lick or a suck.
To play, take turns to roll the dice. One dice determines where on the body the shot will be taken and the second determines how it’ll be taken. Take one the papers to see where you will be taking your shot from, and how to take your shot.
For the beginners
All you will need is a shot glass, a partner, a lime wedge and some coarse salt. Give the lime wedge to your partner, who should hold the rind between his or her teeth with the flesh pointing outward. Sprinkle some salt on the area of your partner’s exposed skin where you will be taking the shot from. Traditionally, it’s either the belly button or the area where the shoulder and neck meet.
Fill your shot glass with liquor and drink it. Quickly lick the salt off your partner’s skin, then grab the lime wedge from your partner’s mouth and suck the juice from it. If you manage not to bump heads or miss the salt, you’ve completed your body shot.
For advanced players
For this variant of the body shot, do away with the shot glass. You will be drinking your liquor straight off your partner’s body. Have your partner lie on a flat surface (traditionally a bar; you can also use a bed or table if you don’t have a bar at home). Set up the salt and lime wedge as in the first variant, then pour some liquor into a concave part of his/her body. This is traditionally the belly button, but it could also be the small of the back. Drink up the liquor, lick up the salt and grab the lime wedge.
In some instances, the shot glass is placed on an area of the body, and the other player has to drink up using only his mouth – no hands.
Body shots help to break the ice with someone you are just meeting. However, be sure that your partner has totally agreed to play the game, and has not been pressurized.
We are not giving out relationship advice, but for those looking to spice up their sex lives in their relationship, playing body shot with your significant other sets the pace to spark up the romance.
Regular exercise is said to make one live to a ripe old age, but it seems to drink alcohol trumps what exercise is capable of.
A recent long-term study has found that regular moderate intake of alcohol will help you make it to your 90’s better than exercise can.
The team of scientists from the University of California led by neurologist Claudia Kawas tracked 1,700 nonagenarians enrolled in the 90+ Study that began in 2003 to explore impacts of daily habits on longevity.
According to The Independent, researchers found that subjects who drank two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18 percent less likely to die prematurely. On the other hand, participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day, cut the same risk by 11 percent.
“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Kawas stated over the weekend at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas.
Asides the modest drinking, other factors found to boost longevity included weight. Participants who were slightly overweight — but not obese — cut their odds of an early death by 3 percent.
“It’s not bad to be skinny when you’re young but it’s very bad to be skinny when you’re old,” Kawas noted in her address.
More so, participants who kept busy with a daily hobby two hours a day were 21 percent less likely to suffer an early death, while those who drank two cups of coffee a day reduced the risk by 10 percent.
Further study is needed to determine how habits impact longevity beyond people’s genetic makeups.
Alcohol is capable of many things including the ability to make us immediately appear more attractive to others than normal.
Don’t get us wrong, there is absolutely nothing attractive about a man or woman staggering back home after a rough night. So to get the best out of this magical ability of alcohol, as in all other benefits, moderate drinking is encouraged.
As a matter of fact, it goes both ways – alcohol can affect the way we see and are seen, by people. This just proves that the beer goggles theory is as real as we can imagine.
There is scientific proof
Just in case you have more doubts lingering on your mind, several scientific studies have proven the ability of moderate drinking making you appear immediately attractive.
At the University of Bristol in the UK, 40 students were supplied with wine but were asked to take photos of each other sober before the drinking commenced. They also took a photo of each participant after one drink, then after a second.
The photos taken after just one drink has been consumed were judged as more attractive than the sober photos. However, the photos taken after students drank more than one glass, were rated as less attractive than when they were sober.
“It suggests that, if it’s true, people are rated as more attractive once they’ve consumed a small amount of alcohol,” said the study’s senior researcher, Marcus Munafò, a professor of biological psychology at the University. “But if they go on to consume more alcohol, they’re no longer rated as more attractive.”
The study suggested that a single alcoholic drink could make people seem more attractive because it caused facial muscles to relax, pupils to dilate and cheeks to flush.
“Rosiness is attractive because it characterizes good physical health characteristics,” said Professor Munafò.
This gives us a confidence boost to have a glass of wine or a tot of whiskey before walking up to your crush to drop that cool pick up line.
Vodka is such an amazing drink – colourless, lower in flavour (except for flavoured vodka), high-test and a natural base for cocktails. The purity of the drink has made it stand out among spirit drinks.
From the simple mixes of vodka and cranberry or with energy drinks, it is normal to find a bottle of vodka on more than one table in a lounge, nightclub or bar.
However, as much as we consume this special spirit, there is a lot that we may not know about vodka.
1. Vodka and Whiskey are namesakes
Vodka is actually gotten from the Slavic word for water, voda. Whiskey comes from the Gaelic uisge beatha, or “water of life.” Meaning both vodka and whiskey share the same meaning, just that whiskey is more attuned to being a curative drink. However, vodka also has its own health benefits too.
2. Vodka can be used medicinally
In the early days, just like most spirit drinks, vodka was sold as a possible cure for many ailments including infertility. Today, it has been proven to soothe a jellyfish sting, help disinfect the wound and alleviate some of the pain. It can also be used in disinfecting a toothache and preventing poison ivy.
3. It can be used domestically
More than just being used to clean wounds and cuts, vodka can also be used to clean home appliances. A soft, clean cloth moistened with vodka can be used to shine chrome, glass, and porcelain fixtures.
4. Vodka has a day
October 4th is National Vodka Day in the US. The drink is also celebrated globally on the same day.
5. It was once used in battle
Some historical sources claim that vodka was used to make gunpowder by the Swedish in the 15th century. Just like most spirit drinks, it is inflammable.
6. It goes bad
Vodka is not one of those wines you can age for years – it does go bad. As opposed to common belief, vodka is meant to be consumed within the first 12 months of its production date.
7. Chilling vodka makes it taste better
Putting vodka in the fridge before drinking is not just about having a cold drink. Vodka is usually made to a 40% ABV, sometimes higher, with a lot of heat. However, when taken cold, the heat has been mellowed, allowing certain viscosity and the richness of the spirit to come out.
8. Good for flowers
Vodka can help make your flowers at home stay fresher for longer. Just mix a few drops of vodka with a teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle on the flower.
9. It has health benefits
Drinking vodka moderately keeps cholesterol and arteries healthy. It is also a remedy against cold sore and fever, prevents stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer’s. Vodka also helps human metabolism.
10. Italians have something to do with it
Although the Russians and the Polish have argued over who was the first to make vodka, history has it that the first version was actually brought to Russia by Italians early in the 15th century.
Vodka is one of the world’s most popular spirit drink. It is considered one of the highest selling alcoholic beverages in the world with brands like Absolut, Ciroc and Belvedere among topping the list.
However, as much as we love to end the night with a glass of vodka, many still wonder where vodkas come from. Generally, vodkas are distilled from plant based raw materials rich in sugar and starch. The starch or sugar is boiled to create a mash and yeast is added to it. It is allowed to ferment, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. While the latter evaporates, the resultant liquid is distilled to a high-proof alcohol. The high-proof alcohol is further diluted to bottling strength to create vodka.
The question then is, what plants are vodkas made from?
This is the most popular plant that vodkas are made from. It is primarily used in Poland, Russia and the rest of the vodka belt of Eastern Europe.
French vodka, Ciroc, is one of the most popular vodka brands made from grapes. California’s Guild Wineries & Distilleries started the trend back in the late 1970s with a grape-based vodka called Silverado. The vodka soon disappeared as due to low sales in the market.
Rye is another sugar-filled product which vodkas are made from. Popularly used in Poland, they produce organic vodkas. Belvedere is one of the most popular vodkas distilled from rye.
Barley maybe popular for being used to brew beer. However, it is also used in the distillation of vodka. Filandia vodka is primarily brewed from barley.
Wheat is another primary ingredient used in the distillation of vodka. Brands like Absolut, Grey Goose and Svedka are brewed from the grassy plant.
Corn is rich in sugar and starch and makes for a good vodka raw material. Well-known American vodkas like Tito are 100% distilled from corn.
The use of rice in the distillation of vodka is popular in Asia. Rice comes in handy also in the distillation of whiskey for the people of the Orient.
Wheat, rye, corn, and sorghum are common ingredients of grain-based vodka. Vodka companies do not necessarily specify which particular grain goes into the distillation of their brands. UK’s Smirnoff vodka is one of the most popular grain-based vodka.
*In some cases, there is a combination of more than one plant in the distillation of certain vodka brands. For example, Netherlands’ Van Gogh is distilled from a combination of wheat, corn, and barley.
Like every other aspect of human activity, drinking alcohol comes with its own myths which people have come to believe as truths.
There are some who believe that eating before drinking will reduce the level of intoxication. There are also others who feel that brown spirits cause more severe hangovers than their clear counterparts. Don’t cling too much to these myths as alcohol is alcohol and will knock you off anyways if you take beyond your limit.
We are all about responsible drinking, and while you are at it, here are some truths about alcohol we thought you should have at your fingertips.
5 Truths About Alcohol
Coffee Does Not Sober You Up
Don’t go with the myth that drinking coffee will help knock away your hangover. To sober up, the alcohol has to metabolize in your system. You will have to wait a few hours for that to happen. What caffeine actually does is to heighten your senses, causing you to appear more sober while still intoxicated.
Beer Belly Comes from too Much Beer
This myth is older than most of us started drinking, that does not make it true though. Generally drinking too much of alcohol will lead to more calories which results in weight gain. This means that adding a few more pounds around your midriff is not entirely down to the beer you have been drinking. It can be the glass of wine from Adeolu’s birthday party, or shots of tequila you had at Angela’s engagement party last night. In any case, there is no need to single out beer as the sole cause of a “beer belly.” Calories can come from any beverage, even non-alcoholic ones.
Adding Energy Drinks to Alcohol Will Reduce Intoxication
Hell no! Energy drinks work contain caffeine, and the effect of it will only give you a hyper feeling. It does not reduce the alcohol volume in your liquor or slow down your intoxication process by any means. Adding energy drinks to alcohol, in fact, leads to what is called “wide awake drunkenness.” The stimulants in the energy drink gives you a sobering effect while the alcohol takes its course. Medical experts advise that energy drink and alcohol mixed together is no good for the human system.
Alcohol Destroys Brain Cells
The extremely smart ones are scared by this myth. Thus, they choose to shy away from alcohol rather than indulge. This myth is completely untrue as alcohol does not kill off the entire brain cells. It only disrupts the flow of communication between neurons, alters their structure, and causes some of the impairment we experience when drunk. Now you know your brain cell is safe, it is no reason for you to drink irresponsibly.
Dark Spirits Cause More Hangover Than Lighter-Coloured Ones
Alcohol is alcohol, and once you take too much, be set for a severe hangover in the morning. This means that choosing vodka or gin over brandy or whiskey will not help you avoid hangover. It is true that congeners, which are by-products of alcohol fermentation and a leading cause of hangover, are much more present in dark liquors than clear ones. However, the secret to not being hungover is drinking responsibly, not avoiding one liquor for the other.
Vodka is a favourite when it comes to mixed drinks because it tastes at least decent with pretty much everything and goes down easy. You need some of the most popular vodka cocktails to get the best out of that date or party, and here are eight certified awesome cocktails:
3oz freshly-squeezed lemonade
How to make
Mix vodka and lemonade
Pour mix in Collins glass
Drop cucumber slices in Collins glass
Garnish with lemon wedges
1 ½ oz vodka
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
How to make
Mix vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and ginger beer
Pour in copper mug
Garnish with lime wedge
4 slices of English cucumber and some more for garnish.
2 strawberries and some more for garnish
1 ½ oz vodka
1 oz Bonal (French aperitif)
¾ oz simple syrup
¾ oz lime juice
How to make
Muddle strawberries and cucumber
Mix vodka, simple syrup, lime juice, and Bonal
Pour mix and mesh of strawberry and cucumber in Collins glass
Top with Seltzer
Garnish with strawberry and cucumber slices
2 oz vodka
1 oz fresh lime juice
¾ simple syrup
How to make
Mix vodka, lime juice and simple syrup
Pour into a coupe
Garnish with lime wedge
2 oz vodka
4 oz tomato juice
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
A pinch of celery sauce
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
One squeeze of lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh horseradish
How to make
For spicy Bloody Mary Mix, mix tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery sauce, black pepper, Tabasco sauce, lemon and horseradish.
Pour vodka in Bloody Mary Mix
Garnish with olives and lemon wedge
1 ¾ oz lemon vodka
½ oz cranberry juice
½ oz lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
How to make
Mix vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice, lime juice, and simple syrup
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