As I’ve discussed before, my first foray into the retail world was selling liquor back in college. My store was the biggest in the Texas panhandle, and at one point, the third largest distributor of Miller products. So, pretty much, we had everything anyone could ever want, and could get anything else, within reason. (And thank the maker this was before the craft beer boom. I’d have never caught up.)
The layout of the store was fairly simple. It was divided in half, with wine on the left side and beer and liquor on the right. Each section was highlighted by a large, neon-colored sign to denote which kind of booze was which. Without fail, we would daily get questions as to where to find certain kinds of alcohol. (I talked about that in a previous TBT post.)
Alcohol is, apparently, this mystical kind of thing, difficult to understand and magical in its makeup and properties. I’ve reached that conclusion because so often did customers come in with such wild misconceptions. The above sketch was one such instance that really has stuck with me all of these years. I did this sketch about four years ago, back before doing a full webcomic was even a thought. A young woman, college-aged, came in and silently stared at the vodka wall with one of her friends before finally opening her mouth to say, “Why is the vodka clear?”
I do not remember anything else that happened after that as I was so thrown for a loop that I could barely function.
One of vodka’s properties is its clarity. Pure alcohol is as clear as spring water. The only ways it can achieve any kind of color is through an aging process, mixing with other liquids, or artificial coloring. That’s pretty much how it works.
So, vodka, by nature of being a relatively flavorless liquor is almost always clear. I haven’t a clue where the hell this girl got that idea that it wasn’t clear. Maybe it was from one too many cosmopolitans or vodka cranberries, or maybe she had just never handled a bottle herself, having only drunk cocktails made for her by friends and bartenders. That’s all I can figure. But as we say in Texas, “Bless her heart.”
The Explorer’s Recommendation:
If you’re stuck for a good vodka, I’d highly suggest trying Reyka.
Reyka is small batch vodka made in Iceland. It’s made from arctic spring water that flows, and is filtered naturally, through a volcanic field and distilled in a copper Carter-Head still. It’s smooth and delightfully tasty, for a liquor that really doesn’t ever have much flavor anyway. The best part is it’s cheap, yet classy.
(This is not a paid advertisement, as I’m not important enough to get to be paid for sponsored content. That having been said, Reyka, if you’d like to toss a bottle or two my way, I would not be opposed.)
“But, TRE, you’re from Texas. Why aren’t you pushing Tito’s?”
Excellent question. The answer is I just prefer Reyka. Don’t get me wrong: Tito’s is a great vodka, and you will have absolutely no problem finding and enjoying it, especially since it’s another quality, low-cost alternative to Grey Goose or any other top shelf vodka. Plus, it’s a Texan product, so it should receive special mention here. You want a damn good Bloody Mary without all the mixing effort? Tito’s and Zing Zang. Done and done.
So, there’s two suggestions for you, comrades. Enjoy!
-The Retail Explorer