Icing-draped cake, creamy pumpkin pie, cookie dough and gooey caramel? Making that many desserts would be a marathon; eating them in a single sitting would be a dietary debacle. But some creative new vodka flavors are flipping the dessert course upside down -- and pouring it into a cocktail glass.
Sweet, confection-inspired flavors such as candy bar, caramel and marshmallow have transformed the cocktail bar into a lower-calorie, mostly nonfat, liquid dessert buffet for adults. (Lower calorie than pie, anyway.)
Tasting these new vodkas straight up is a pretty sweet deal, but the real fun starts when Marshmallow meets Deep Dark Chocolate, or Cookie Dough has a rendezvous with Kissed Caramel. Beyond the glass, these vodkas make
To find out which of these desserts-in-a-bottle are worth adding to the liquor cabinet, I rounded up as many as I dared and sipped through the lot. Here's the scoop on some of the best. (Prices are for 750-ml. bottles.)
Smirnoff Kissed Caramel: I fell hard for this sweet treat-in-a-glass. It delivers the authentic brown sugar and vanilla flavors of a great caramel, and has an amazing, long buttery finish. $13.99. "* * * *
Pinnacle Cookie Dough: Those who love dipping into a vat of chocolate chip cookie dough should take a swig of this. It's dead on, with distinct aromas of chocolate chip and vanilla. It's smooth on the tongue and has a long, sweet finish.
Pinnacle Cake: Of the three cake-flavored vodkas I tried, this one packs the most flavor. It has that slightly fruity flavor of yellow cake made from a box, and a good shot of vanilla. $9.99. * * *
Hangar One Maine Wild Blueberry: This artisanal vodka infusion is considerably less sweet than the flavored dessert vodkas. It is as smooth as water and has great blueberry aroma, but minimal flavor on the tongue. $30.99. * * *
Van Gogh Deep Dark Chocolate: It's important to know that Van Gogh vodkas differ from some of the other flavored vodkas, which tend to be sweet as candy. This one has such a deep, dark chocolate flavor, it's almost bitter. $27. * * *
Smirnoff Iced Cake: Think of this as cake-light. The light vanilla aroma and creamy flavors remind me of white wedding cake. I like the clean flavor profile, but it's a bit understated to stand up in a dessert cocktail. $13.99. * * ½
Van Gogh Dutch Caramel: This ultra-sweet vodka has a toasty caramel flavor that quashes the creamy vanilla flavor that I seek in caramel. The vodka is also a little harsh on the tongue. $27. * *
Pinnacle Marshmallow: As much as I wanted to like this, I found my nose -- and taste buds -- searching for more marshmallow punch. $9.99. * *
Van Gogh PB & J: This is a funny vodka because while you really can taste nuts and berries, it just so unexpected that it seems strange. I'm not sure I want a PB& J in my cocktail glass. This one may be an acquired taste. $27. * ½
Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie: This vodka has a nice backdrop of pumpkin pie spices, but lacks any hint of pumpkin. $9.99. *