What'll it be, Alaska glacial or Rocky Mountain mineral? Because water accounts for 60 percent of vodka's constitution, its influence in shaping the spirit is significant. Thus, after sipping the world and testing the water, so to speak, Leaf Vodka's Ukraine-based research-and-development team identified two sources that yielded the distinctive characteristics and flavors they sought: a glacier-fed lake in Alaska and a mineral spring in the Rocky Mountains. At last week's Leaf Vodka launch at Trump SoHo, I sampled both varieties.
I began by tasting the spirits side by side, neat. Leaf's Alaskan glacial water vodka (green label) revealed hints of sweetness, and a very round feel on the tongue—akin to a white wine that has undergone significant malolactic fermentation. The Rocky Mountain version (blue label), on the other hand, exhibited a noticeable taste of minerals. While both vodkas were smooth, the latter did not impart the prominent roundness of the former.
Both Leafs are easy to drink, and, at their suggested retail price of $16.99 to $19.99, easy to purchase. It would seem quite reasonable to have both varieties on hand to accommodate the preferences of one's guests, as the two render distinctly different cocktails.
As an example, the sweetness of the Alaskan glacial water enhanced the sweet and tart fruit flavors of the Pink Glacier's lime, pink grapefruit, and cranberry juices.
The mineral expression in the Rocky Mountain water, on the other hand, added an earthy "bite" to the herbal notes of the Bitter Re-Leaf's basil leaves and lime.
While Leaf Vodka's USDA organic certification is noteworthy, it's not a major selling point. "We want to focus on the core essence, water, which, according to tradition, breathes life into vodka," says Julius Criscione, National Sales and Marketing Director for Megapolis USA, the American subsidiary of Global Spirits.
Below are some of the other drinks I sampled. Please click here to view a complete list of recipes.
Leaf Vodka is currently available in New Jersey and Connecticut.