O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka
O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka bills itself as the world’s first Premium Sparkling Vodka. When I sampled this spirit at the Wine and Food Festival I was actually quite smitten by what I encountered, hints of citrus, and some awesome tiny bubbles filling my mouth. Anyone who has read some of my reviews, and the cocktails which I like to construct for the various spirits I have sampled, realizes that I am a soda loving person. A spirit that combines my love of soda bubbles with a light crisp taste really has my attention from the get go.
I contacted the importer of O2 Vodka, Premium Imports, to see about getting a sample to review on my blog. After a few months they came through in spades with samples of each the O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka and the 945 Super Premium Sparkling Vodka. Both versions carry nice light citrus notes and those wonderful champagne-like bubbles to the palate. These bubbles are supposed to stimulate the taste buds accentuating the flavours of food the vodka is served with, and the flavours of the cocktails the vodka is served in.
I invited several of my good friends over for a Vodka Tasting where we put the O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka through the rigors of my review methodolgy. Here is what we found:
The First Impression 9/10
The O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka arrives in the nice opaque frosted bottle that is pictured to the left. The name of the Vodka and the bottle design seem to stand out a bit from the crowd in a pleasing presentation that catches the eye. My only quibble is the rather small metal screw top closure. Like many people I sometimes will toss a bottles of Vodka in my freezer to chill it before I serve it. The metal screw top seems rather flimsy. It is short and has only a few threads. This is disconcerting as the cap will expand and contract at a different rate from the bottle it is sealing. As this is a sparkling beverage any failure of the seal will be especially damaging to the contents of the bottle.
The First Sip 14/20
The initial aroma from the glass is of a very light citrus, and my initial reaction to the Sparkling Vodka was positive as the first sip covered my tongue. However, when I swallowed this first sip it was not the light citrus notes which I noticed most, instead it was a flavour similar to what one tastes when one drinks Club soda from a metal pop can (including that vaguely metallic taste one gets from the can). I was hoping that the light citrus flavour would gain momentum being brought forward by the light sparkling bubbles in the Vodka but this did not happen.
Taking a Shot 12.5/20
When my friends and I took our first shots of the O2 it was that metallic flavour of the Vodka which was brought forward substantially by the sparkling bubbles. While we were able to sip the Vodka, none of us was able to take a substantial swallow without a grimace. It was not that the Vodka was harsh, or medicinal. It was just that the substantial metallic flavour was disconcertingly unpleasant.
Out For Dinner 13/20
My friends and I sampled the O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka with fresh vegetables (cauliflower and broccoli spears), a variety of soft cheeses, freshly baked buns with sausage and ham, and a variety of different pickles. We were set to enjoy ourselves thoroughly; however, that building metallic aftertaste of the Sparkling Vodka was actually detrimental to all of the food pairings that my friends and I tried to enjoy. Later I tried a light dish of Korean style spare ribs and potato salad. The result was the same.
By the time my friends and I had reached this portion of our tasting we were filled trepidation. So far the Sparkling Vodka had plummeted from being a spirit which was mildly pleasant on the nose to a spirit which we all but given up on. So it was with reluctance that I squeezed out a fresh lime and added the triple sec and cranberry juice to build a Cosmopolitan.
Salvation! The goodness of this cocktail was shocking! I made a Pink Pussy Cat and the result was the same. We even started to have some fun creating our own recipes for the O2 Sparkling Vodka. (See below for our new recipe, the Pomerenke.) Finally the O2 Sparkling Vodka was showing us what it was capable of. The sparkling bubbles helped bring all of the citrus and fruit flavours in the cocktails to a new level of enjoyment. I do not want to imply that these were the best cocktails I had ever had, but I do want to say that the Sparkling Vodka had a positive impact on these cocktails making them unique, different and tasty!
The O2 Sparkling Vodka is a very unique take on the Vodka category. I was unimpressed with the initial flavour of this spirit, and I would never consider serving it neat or in shots. But as a mixer, it is quite wonderful. It will have a place in my repertoire when I am serving a larger gathering, and I want to serve my guests cocktails which are unique, different and of course, delicious.
Final Score: 76/100
(Recommended as a Good Mixer)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
1 1/2 oz O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka
1/2 Naval Orange Freshly Squeezed
1/2 Lemon Freshly Squeezed
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
Mix all ingredients in a tall mixing glass with ice
Stir gently to chill
Add to a large cocktail glass with ice cubes
You may (loosely) interpret my score as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing Vodka. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are still preferable.
85-89 Excellent! Shots or cocktails!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 80 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89 Silver Medal (Recommended for shots and mixing)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)