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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 4 5 From ground to glass, all ingredients in Van Gogh Vodka are selected for their quality and flavor contribution. Take, for example, the triple wheat blend in their flagship unflavored 80-proof selection: "In Holland, the wheat is cultivated near the Dutch coast and is therefore a bit salty and dry from the maritime influence," explains Tim Vos, third-generation Master Distiller for Van Gogh Vodka. "The harvest in France comes from the center of the country and possesses a sweeter profile. The wheat grown in Germany is sourced from an area where the water comes from the melted ice of a nearby mountain, providing the grain with a mineral taste. When these grains are combined as the triple-wheat base of Van Gogh Vodka, the sum is greater than the parts—the taste is nuanced and the smoothness is unparalleled." Leader of the Pack, Bushel and Bunch Both the base spirit and flavored versions of Van Gogh Vodka are crafted from the finest ingredients that contrib- ute to the smooth liquid in the bottle. The global brand has revamped with new packaging in the past year, putting a laser focus on 16 signature expressions, many of which are fruit-focused: Van Gogh Vodka offers Açaí-Blueberry, Citroen, Cool Peach, Dutch Caramel, Dutch Chocolate, Double Espresso, Espresso, Mango, Melon, Oranje, Pine- apple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Vanilla and Wild Appel. "Van Gogh was at the forefront of the flavor revolution and was the innovator in the category," says Norman Bonchick, Chairman/CEO of 375 Park Avenue Spirits, importer of Van Gogh Vodka. Bartenders recognize the distinct and honest characteristics of these spirits that separate them from other vodkas on the market. A triple- threat of distilling, infusing and maturing raw ingredients into the base spirit results in complex layers of taste. "Van Gogh's flavored vodkas are dedicated to bringing the most intense and upfront fruit flavor expressions, and that alone makes them fun to work with in cocktail experimentation and development," says Thomas Kleiner, Gen- eral Manager of Club Lucky in Chicago's hip Bucktown neighborhood. The upscale lounge serves Sicilian cuisine; the atmosphere has a 1940s vibe and the space served as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Martinis are king at Club Lucky, where, Keliner says, "For many, I believe, it's the fact that the spirit is flavorful and smooth enough to drink straight. When customers have a drink made with other ingredients added to the base Van Gogh Vodka spirit, they really respond in a manner of surprise—as if there is no alcohol in the drink at all." Mixing Up a Masterpiece That customers don't pucker upon first sip of Van Gogh Vodkas proves that the brand has achieved its goal: "Our flavors are strong, yet smooth enough to stand on their own and can still shine through when diluted with juice, soda water or other mixers," Vos says. There's no guessing game for bartenders or guests, who will recognize the natural flavor profiles of the spirits immediately, making the brand a favorite year-round. At Club Lucky, a Van Gogh Açaí-Blueberry cocktail rotated off the menu in February, making way for a tropical Van Gogh Pineapple Vodka–based cocktail, just in time for spring break season. "Van Gogh Vodka's commitment to producing not only the best flavored vodkas on the market, but also their desire to offer the widest expanse of well-crafted flavors that focus on fresh fruits and natural flavors is unique and rarely matched," Kleiner says. PHOTO: DUSTIN DOWNING ■cr PHOTO: REBECCA PEPLINSKI PHOTO: REBECCA PEPLINSKI Thomas Kleiner, General Manager, Club Lucky in Chicago. The Pineapple Jerk by Trystan Murphy-Fahlberg, Head Bartender, Club Lucky ◗ 2 oz. Van Gogh Pineapple Vodka ◗ 1 oz. homemade tepache ◗ ¾ oz. orgeat ◗ ½ oz. Coco Lopez ◗ 3 ⁄8 oz. Falernum ◗ ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice ◗ 4-6 dashes of The Bitter End Jamaican Jerk Bitters (more or less for control of desired heat) ◗ Pinch of kosher salt Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake briskly until well incorporated. Strain over crushed ice in a 14-ounce cooler glass. Garnish with pineapple leaf, pineapple wedge, umbrella or fresh orchid—or all of these things!

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