Wednesday, September 26, 2012

(V)odka+(Ice) wine=Vice, the One and Only

Vice is a unique beverage. Photos courtesy of Vice Martini.

IT’S sweet – redolent of peaches and something else that’s on the tip of the tongue – but not too sweet. It lingers on the palate for just a moment without clinging, then it ends with a zing. What is that … gin? No, vodka.

And so it is. Welcome to the taste sensation that is VICE Vodka Icewine. VICE is the world's first and only one-pour ice wine vodka, meaning that both wine and vodka are combined in one 750ml bottle – a rather attractive one, too.

Considering that the popularity of wine-vodka drinks has been growing over these last years, it is not too surprising that some spirits producer – in this case, a Canadian winery – decided to combine wine and vodka in one beverage. While VICE has been available in Canada since 2009, it has recently been rolling out in other parts of the world. (See launch party video below.)

VICE is made at Ontario-based Vineland Estates Winery Ltd.  from grapes and vodka made in-house. Vidal grapes are frozen at –8C before they are harvested and crushed. The vodka is acorn-based, five times distilled and charcoal-filtered and polished.VICE is 100 percent natural, no artificial flavoring, coloring or preservatives. It has subtle notes of apricot, peach and other tropical fruits, with a Vodka finish. While the exact ice wine-to-vodka ratio is not clear, what is clear is that VICE is not for those who can't hold their liquor. It has an alcohol content above 20 percent.

VICE is perfectly fine straight and on the rocks. It also pairs well with fruit juices (hopefully the fresh-squeezed, organic variety), though it is not easy to comprehend why anyone would want to add more sweetener to an already sweet drink. Visitors to the VICE Web site ( can also avail themselves of recipes. One that will likely get a lot of traction for no other reason than its name is Miami VICE:

1½ oz VICE pre-chilled
½ oz Chambord
½ oz Melon liqueur
1½ oz Pineapple juice
1 oz Cranberry juice
½ oz Lime

Shake all ingredients in mixing glass. Grab a martini glass. Add ice. Pour the mixture into the glass. Drink. Enjoy.

Miami Vice is one of several cocktails made from an ice wine vodka.

VICE has the potential for wide appeal. It could attract the wine drinker who would not normally drink vodka but prefers a cocktail every now and again. The hint of wine – even a dessert variety – makes the vodka more palatable. The vodka drinker or martini lover can have his cake and eat it, too, without consuming the conventional sugar that is added to many fruit juices. The sweetness in ice wine comes from the concentrate that results from frozen water, as well as sugars and other dissolved solids in the frozen grapes that do not freeze.

The cocktail drinker who simply likes the idea of mixing wine and vodka can pony up to the bar and be served that beverage from a lone bottle. Meanwhile, dessert wine lovers who may find traditional ice wine too treacly might appreciate the balance that the vodka brings to the flavor profile.

It would appear that VICE, which gets its name from conflating “vodka” and “ice,” has – how to put it – numerous virtues.

Visit to learn more about VICE, including where to buy it.

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