Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka
Vodka Review: Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka (83.5)
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctiv Wolf)
Posted n March 3, 2011
It was back in November at the The 2010 Rocky Mountain Wine and Food Festival, when I was first introduced to a Ukrainian Vodka called Nemiroff. I kept in touch with Igor Kashkan, the local Importer of Nemiroff, after the festival and asked him for a little more information about his vodka and the dizzying array of flavours which are available. He answered with a deluge of information and a few samples of his Vodka. The first sample I decided to get to the bottom of was the Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka.
Honey Vodka and Pepper Vodka have been well-known in the Ukraine for well over one hundred years. In 1997, the Nemiroff Ukrainian Vodka Company combined the two flavours and from this union created their Honey Pepper Vodka. The recipe is apparently, inspired by Slavic traditions, and the result is a premium vodka which uses only natural flavouring ingredients of wild herbs, honey red chili peppers. It is the best-known and perhaps the most unique Nemiroff flavour, and it is sold in nearly 30 countries worldwide.
I think my review will begin with a video I discovered while researching Nemiroff and their flavoured vodka online:
Although I think the video is pretty cool, I realize that my readers probably would like my impressions after several tasting sessions with Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka.
The Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka is a flavoured Vodka bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. It arrives in an attractive 750 ml bottle pictured to the right. The clear bottle shows off the rusty amber colour of the spirit, and as you see a bright red chili pepper is highlighted on the label making it clear what the dominant flavour will be.
If one examines the bottle closely, one can see several small chili peppers inside the bottle which have lost their colour. In fact, at first glance they look a little like the worms in a fresh bottle of mescal. I assume the colour of the spirit is a result of the red peppers placed in the bottle loosing their colour and imparting it to the vodka.
The First Sip 17/20
As this is a flavoured Vodka, my initial sampling was done with a refrigerated bottle rather than a frozen one. The temperature of the liquid was about 8 degrees Celsius. At this temperature, the Vodka brings forth an aroma of freshly ground black pepper. Indeed, as the Vodka is sipped for the first time this pepper coats the palate and the spicy feeling builds rather than diminishes. Swallowing the first sip brings the pepper to the back of the throat, but no burn is apparent down the throat. This is important to note because the warm spiciness I am feeling in my mouth is now confirmed to be a pepper spice rather than an alcohol burn. (There are taste receptors at the back of the throat but not further down in the throat.) If I was experiencing an alcohol burn I would be feeling it in my esophagus as well.)
Taking a Shot 16/20
I was a little apprehensive taking a larger shot of the Honey Pepper Vodka as the spices kept building in my mouth which grew hotter and hotter after my first sip. However I found the larger ‘Vodka shot’ to be quite pleasant. The spiciness did not increase in my throat as I swallowed the larger shot. The sensation was rather similar to what one encounters when eating spicy foods.
On the whole, I discovered that the Vodka has a creamy texture and hot spicy flavour that coats the mouth and the back of the throat. But, even when consuming a large shot, I noticed very little if any burn. The mouth heats up and depending upon your tolerance for pepper, I can understand one feeling that this would be very pleasant or very unpleasant. (The spice is of real chili pepper and I enjoyed it.)
Out For Dinner 17/20
When I sampled the Vodka with bread, cheese, sausage, and pickles I really enjoyed the combination. The flavours of the food worked well with the Honey Pepper Vodka especially the pickles. As well, the peppery flavoured Vodka really enhanced the enjoyment of the food. It was a mutual win/win experience. My friends who were sampling the food and Vodka with me may not have shared my enthusiasm for the peppery flavour of the Vodka straight, but they certainly enjoyed it with food.
The choice of cocktail for this spirit is very important. The peppery flavour will not work well in traditional fruity style drinks like the Screwdriver or the Cosmopolitan. However where the Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka does shine is in spicier cocktails like a Caesar. I also had success mixing with Jaegermeister in a recipe I call, The Hot Shot! (See the recipes for the Caesar and the Hot Shot below)
You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Final Score: 83.5/100
(Recommended for shots and mixing cocktails)
A Caesar is a cocktail created in Calgary, Alberta Canada by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar at the Calgary Inn in 1969.
6 oz Clamato Juice ( proprietary blend of tomato juice and clam broth)
1½ oz. Vodka (Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka)
2 Dashes Hot Sauce
2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly Ground Pepper
Serve the Rim glass first with Lime wedge and then with celery salt.
Mix the first 5 ingredients over ice in the cocktail glass
Add a celery stalk for garnish.
The Hot Shot
(a recipe by Arctic Wolf)
3/4 oz Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka
3/4 oz Jagermeister
Serve Cold in an over-sized Shot Glass!
Drink in the ‘shot’ style!
Please remember to consume responsibly!
You may (loosely) interpret my score as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing Vodka. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are preferable.
85-89 Excellent! Shots or cocktails!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 80 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89 Silver Medal (Recommended for shots and mixing cocktails)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)