Absolut Boston: Hit or Miss?
It was flattering…at first. Absolut chose Boston as the third city in its Absolut Cities campaign (following New Orleans and L.A.), using it as the inspiration for a new flavored vodka. But then it was unveiled in August, its label paying homage to Fenway’s Green Monster (yawn) and its black tea and elderflower flavor summoning memories of a party thrown in 1773. The reviews of the Boston-inspired booze weren’t great, either. (Said Grub Street‘s Leila Cohan: “It’s very strange, and frankly, as we found out when we got our hands on a sample bottle and had a little taste test with some folks around the office, so is the vodka’s flavor.”
But what do the drinkers think? One month after its introduction, we checked in with local barkeeps to see if any Bostonians are sold on Absolut Boston. Mauro from the South End’s Union says they are, and that once his customers try it, they say, “bring me a bucket of that!” (We’re not sure they actually say that, but whatevs; we get the point.) Mauro serves the local flavor in a cocktail called, appropriately, The Boston Tea Party, which includes Lillet and a splash of lemon soda. David Nuge at Stephanie’s on Newbury made us a cocktail of Absolut Boston with simple syrup and lemon, which was actually quite tasty. Simple preparations work best with the vodka’s strong black-tea flavor, it seems. (The elderflower essence isn’t overpowering; it just adds a touch of sweetness.)
In short, there are better things to drink in this city (current obsession: the basil-lime gimlet at Stella), but we’re glad to have it in our cocktail mix. And we’re glad Absolut didn’t try to do something with baked beans.