Thursday, April 15, 2010

A NASA inspired Vodka? Rangtang Vodka from Three Olives

In my travels through the Northeast I visit hundreds of wine and liquor stores, bars and restaurants and every month, it seems like there is a new flavor of vodka out in the market.  Pear and Acai/Blueberry are old news of course, but what about Bubblegum and Rootbeer? Those two are from Three Olives.  Smirnoff (the #1 vodka internationally in volume) just came out with Espresso and Rootbeer in addition to their line of 15+ flavors of vodka.

Last week I was in a tapas place called Embargo on Cape Cod when I spied the frosty orange Rangtang vodka from Three Olives perched on the bar.  I asked the bartender and he said that he didn't even know about it!  Then he tossed some ice in a shaker, poured the Rangtang and gave me and my compadres a chilly shot.  Very cool of him!

We all were not particularly impressed!

Let me tell you - it smelled and looked exactly like Tang.  That's not a negative comment - It was kind of an alcoholic twist on a childhood favorite.  I haven't had Tang since 1987.   Their press calls it a "mixture of juicy oranges and tangerines". Ahh I get it!  oRANGes and TANGerines!  To me, it tasted like a pre-mixed drink of Tang with vodka.  The vodka was pretty rocket-fuel smelling at that.  Even the juicy orange and tangerine couldn't mask it.

Three Olives, I think is a tragic name for flavored vodka line.  However, it's very popular and they are certianly a major contendor for shelf and bar space.  Three-O(as they like to be referred to) is  from England and their wodka is distilled from wheat (aspirate that 'wh' please)  This Rangtang is the first in the line to be colored and the bottle looks a little more jazzed up their their other bottles.  I've seen Grape, Chocolate, Bubble, Rootbeer, Citrus in the market a lot, but they also have Cherry, Watermelon and Tomato! 

I'm glad I didn't buy a bottle out of curiosity's sake from a wine store.  I won't be drinking it again even though I certianly don't thumb my nose at flavored vodkas.  I'm a HUGE fan of Charbay (Meyer Lemon, Grapefruit, and Green Tea) and Van Gogh (Pineapple, Green Apple, and Espresso) and Grey Goose Poire.   I thought the Rangtang Three Olives tasted syntheic and cheap.  Judging from my drinking companion's O-faces, they agreed. We were not convinced!!

I take it back...I may drink it again, but only as a shot called the Fuzzy Astronaut - a classic cocktail made with Tang, peach schnapps and vodka.  I think the Rangtang could just be mixed directly with the schnapps for the same effect!!

On a different artificial flavoring vodka that is celebrating it's artificial flavors, apparently this is a HOT TREND!! Infusing vodka with Skittles!! Hello summer project!!!   I can't wait to taste that rainbow!

Rangtang Vodka, Three Olives
color: creamy orange, frosty tangerine
nose: Tang powdered drink mix
palate: Tang mixed with rubbing alcohol

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