Some of you may balk at the very words “Infused Vodka,” but I ask you, gents, to keep on reading. As I was, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn about a product that will help round out your summer cocktail shelves.
Based in Portland, Oregon, Wild Roots’ goal is to create flavored vodkas that go against the typical flavored vodka. That is, they use natural ingredients to make their spirits (over a pound of real fruit per batch). They start with a corn base that they, according to their website, distill five times before infusing the fruit into their spirit.
The fruit in question here, the marionberry, is a type of blackberry (and currently the most popular kind) that was developed by a team of students at Oregon State University. (For the horticulture nerds out there, the marionberry is a mix of the “Chehalem” and “Olallie” cultivars of blackberry.)
Appearance: A deep royal purple that could be easily confused for a Pinot Noir or another similar red wine if judging on appearance alone.
Nose: Seeing as we judge with our eyes before anything, and knowing this is a flavored vodka, you might be expecting the worst—a saccharine trip that’ll make you never want sugar again, but the nose on this vodka alerts you to something else. There is sweetness on the nose, but in the form of a blackberry jam that sits on top of slight hints of neutral grain spirit, which remind you that you are indeed about to drink a vodka.
Palate: A bit of a surprise, considering the nose. While the natural sweetness from the marionberries is there, this is not liqueur-sweet (despite, again, visual bias). This fact in and of itself is a great surprise. The flavor is rich, with earthy blackberry notes coming through strong. Sweetness cedes way to tartness, as if tasting fresh berries picked off the bush.
Finish: A relatively short, tart finish with just the tiniest hint of a burn, sort of like the last bite of a warm blackberry pie.
Final Thoughts: The first sip of this had me convinced that this would be my favorite summer addition to sparkling wine for spritzes. There is enough fruity flavor present that it will come through the ice-cold bubbly well. I wouldn’t drink this straight, but it makes a delightful ingredient for summer cocktails (or for kicking your pancake syrup up a notch or three—take that IHOP).
Wild Roots Marionberry Infused Vodka is 35% ABV and be purchased for $42.45 here.