Van Gogh Vodka is handmade in small batches by Master Distiller Tim Vos in Schiedam, Holland. Van Gogh Vodka is crafted using only the finest fruit, grains and purified water thus resulting in a super premium vodka. Yes, Van Gogh Vodka is named after the famous Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh; “Van Gogh was the name of a famous Dutch artist, a creator of important and colorful paintings. We believe we are creators of Dutch vodkas with a broad palette of tastes and colors, it is a name that makes sense for us.” Tim Vos, Master Distiller.
Van Gogh Vodkas are works of art in 19 colorful flavors and couple that with food prepared by famed local chef Cindy Hutson of Ortanique and you’ve got one dynamic lunch. I was invited to a blending lunch at Ortanique in Coral Gables; a vodka blending is basically where you get to play with your collection of Vodka’s both flavored and not and pretend that you are a “Master Distiller” just like Tim Vos!
This had to be one of the greatest lunches I had ever been to. The conversation and informational session was lively and dynamic led by both Tim Vos and Norman Bonchick, the CEO of Van Gogh Vodka. Mr. Vos took us through the actual process of blending vodkas and how he achieves the right balance of each. Very much like the wine making process blending vodka is all about fine-tuning the recipe and attaining that perfect balance between flavor intensity, aroma and texture.
By now I’m sure everyone has at least heard of food and wine pairings but how about vodka and food pairings? A bit skeptical? Perhaps, but this is one of those food and beverage pairings that if you ever have the opportunity to take part in, do it! It will be one of the most intriguing meals and experiences you will ever have.
The famous Ortanique ‘Cuisine of the Sun” dishes which are an eclectic fusion of tropical flavors and seasonings prepared in an innovative style, all Cindy Hutson were perfectly paired with a variety of flavored and non-flavored Van Gogh Vodka’s. To start our luncheon off with were served a Costa Rican Corvina Ceviche with ginger, mango and key west limes. This starter dish was served with both the Van Gogh Mango Tango and the Triple Wheat Bloody Mary. Our main course was Blue Mountain Coffee and Cocoa Encrusted Pork Tenderloin, accompanied with a creamy polenta and agave glaze served with Van Gogh Vodka’s Straight Shooter and Dutch Chocolate S’mores. We finished up with a Toasted Coconut Sabayon with caramel roasted pineapple for dessert and the Van Gogh drink pairing was a Caramel Twist and Pineapple Twist.
Now this seems like one great lunch and a whole of vodka in the middle of the afternoon but it wasn’t about the amount of vodka as it was about sampling the various flavors of vodka and being show the art of pairing sweet and savory; along with alternatives to ordering your vodka neat or as dirty martini with three olives. Van Gogh has quite an expansive portfolio of flavored vodkas, 19 to be exact and 2 non flavored, the Classic 80 proof and the new Triple Wheat Van Gogh Blue Vodka.
So here’s the thing, all those drinks and the food sounded great but as the reader what do you get out of it? This is the other impressive part of my Ortanique/Van Gogh Vodka experience, Van Gogh Vodka has all the recipeson their website as to how to make drinks with their vodka’s and Cindy Hutson offers cooking classes at Ortanique where you can experience a similar afternoon “in the sun”. There are many alternatives as to how to drink your vodka as I learned at this luncheon and you may have your favorite way but a walk on the wild side and a sip of Mango Vodka or a Double Espresso Vodka floater in your Guinness just might brighten your world as any colorful and magnificent Van Gogh would. To view Photos of the luncheon