Though vodka is typically known for its neutral flavour, a new brand is seeking to bring a unique character to the spirit through traditional production methods.
The vodka, called Kavka, is the brainchild of Jan Woroniecki, owner of Eastern European restaurant and bar Baltic in London’s Waterloo.
‘I have been immersed in vodka for many years and it has always been my favourite spirit,’ Woroniecki explained to Imbibe. ‘I’ve been talking about launching my own brand for a long time but it was the gin phenomenon that exposed vodka for being a little bit dull, without an authentic story and mostly driven by rather old fashioned marketing – it seemed like a good time to make my own.’
To bring his vision to life, Woroniecki partnered with a small distillery in western Poland to produce the vodka. The result is a blend of rye and wheat spirits, with small quantities of aged apple and plum distillates added as well.
‘The idea behind Kavka was to fight back against the understanding that vodka should be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or colour – [which is]the American legal definition of vodka,’ he said, ‘and to go back to the production methods popular in the 18th and 19th centuries when each distillery would produce spirits that emphasised taste and individuality rather than trying to filter them out.’
As such, Kavka claims to offer a distinctive taste experience, with a nose of ripe apples and rich dried fruit on a foundation of rye bread. The palate has a light richness to it, with lemon and orange marmalade flavours evolving into creaminess. The finish is dry, with hints of apples and prunes.
‘It’s still a plain vodka and has all the versatility to be enjoyed with a mixer, neat or in a Martini, but has a depth of flavour and character rarely found,’ said Woroniecki.
Kavka is already behind the bars of The River Café, Oblix, Zuma, The Ivy Garden and Woroniecki’s own Baltic.
40% abv, RRP£34.99, Bibendum, 0845 263 6924