Nowadays, you can't open your front door in a trendy urban neighborhood without hitting someone vomiting vodka cocktails on your front stoop. Vodka has become the stuff boozy dreams are made of- the fuel for Jersey Shore fist pumping, the gasoline upon which hundreds of disproportionately teary boyfriend/girlfriend arguments run, a clear solution to the problem of sobriety. Our nation's favorite white liquor has become ubiquitous, but it hasn't always been that way.
A piece in this week's Weekly Standard outlines the history of vodka marketing and our evolving consumption of the drink. According to the piece, the appeal of vodka is its relative odorless, flavorless nature; "It is the ideal intoxicant for the drinker who wants no reminder of how hurt Mother would be if she knew what he was doing." (Although, I'd beg to differ about that; as anyone who has ever accidentally taken a giant swig of what they thought was water but was actually vodka and had a pretty vomitty time of it can attest, vodka definitely has a flavor. And an odor.)
The drink can trace most of its popularity to successful advertising- from its prominent placement in Dr. No as James Bond's drink of choice (ruffling some alcohol snobs' feathers, as a "shaken, not stirred" vodka martini is generally thought to be the inferior vodka martini incarnation, and vodka martinis were once thought of as an abomination) to the still-ongoing Absolut ___ campaign.
The article further points out that in spite of what zillions of vodka-bottle-as-penis ads would have you believe, there really isn't much difference between different types of vodka. That hasn't prevented distilleries from spending several small countries' GDP on convincing you otherwise, and it's working, which is further encouraging companies to get more and more outrageous with their attempts to get your attention.
Consider Crystal Head Vodka, co-created by actor Dan Aykroyd, dispensed from a crystal skull and based on a mystical legend. Nostalgic for the Roaring Twenties? Pour yourself a glass of Tommy Guns Vodka, straight out of a bottle in the shape of a Thompson submachine gun. (Just ignore the fact that few Americans actually drank vodka in the 1920s.) Devotion Vodka contains a protein called casein, which contributes to a better "mouthfeel." More important, it's received the endorsement of Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino. And of course, there's the quintuple-distilled Trump Vodka: As its website proclaims, "Finally, a vodka worthy of the Trump name."
Crystal skulls? Glass guns? Mouthfeel? Vodka's gotten advanced, and will probably only continue to grow in popularity. No word yet on whether or not they're developing a vodka that won't cause me to act in a manner most cunty, or an antidote for the Sunday-murdering headaches that result from too much imbibing.
Vodka Nation [The Weekly Standard]
Image via Shutterstock