When you order a cocktail, you expect it to do a lot of things. Get you incrementally drunk with each passing sip, for instance, and maybe even taste decent. But as much as we can fool ourselves into thinking optimistically about booze in a lot of ways—that it will make our night more fun, or our quest to take someone home less anxiety-inducing—you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks that drinking will make them healthier. (Unless, perhaps, you're talking about red wine, which is always popping up in the news here and there for its supposed benefits to your body. Remember the revelation last year that a glass of red wine a day was as good for you as going to the gym?)
If you think that a Moscow Mule is never going to do you much good beyond its buzz, Vitamin Vodka hopes to change your mind. Yes—you heard that right.
Created in Australia by Darryl Tombleson of The Vitamin Alcohol Company, Vitamin Vodka purports itself to be "the purest of pure spirits" and is "infused with anti-hangover vitamins". In addition to being loaded with unspecified nutrients, the vodka is organic—"the world's first and only vitamin-infused organic vodka into the Central European premium spirits market," in fact—and is made from Australian sugarcane and "the pure mountain waters of the Hunter Valley." It's also "diamond-filtered" and distilled 12 times in copper pots. There is a lot going on in this vodka, even without specs about the vitamins.
This actually isn't the first vitamin vodka to hit the market. Way back in 2007, a San Francisco-based brand called Lotus Vodka created a vitamin-enhanced vodka infused with B vitamins ("White Lotus") and even an "energy vodka" ("Blue Lotus") with caffeine, taurine, and guarana. Its creator, Rob Bailey, told Newsweek at the time: "Alcohol is bad for you, ours is just slightly less bad." (Dr. R. Curtis Ellison, a professor of medicine at Boston University, countered, "People should not drink wine or alcohol for their health … It's like putting vitamins in cigarettes. That's stupid.")
Anyways, Lotus Vodka has long since folded and disappeared from our collective memory, and Vitamin Vodka is here, with promises of less miserable mornings-after. We checked in with Bradley Mitton, The Vitamin Alcohol Company's European business manager, for more insight into how this stuff actually tastes and whether it means we can switch from Flintstones vitamins to martinis.
MUNCHIES: Hi, Bradley. How was Vitamin Vodka conceived? Bradley Mitton: Darryl Tombleson in Sydney (a New Zealander who has worked in hospitality and event management for 25 years), who owns the brand, came up with an idea. How much better would a spirit be for you if it were organic? Australia has some of the purest ingredients in the world that can be used for vodka and gin production. He wanted to include organic sugarcane as it wouldn't create a starchy base, like most vodkas using potato or wheat. Vitamin Vodka has a very unique taste due to its organic ingredients and vitamin infusion with the added bonus being that the vitamin infusion helps offset the symptoms of a hangover.
Was the greater focus on creating an amazing vodka or on integrating vitamins? What kinds of vitamins are in the vodka and in what quantities? The focus was two-fold. To create a premium vodka, with a unique twist, being the vitamin infusion. The vitamins help supplement some of the nutrients lost when drinking alcohol. Vitamins B, C, and K are used in Vitamin Vodka. The B and C vitamins assist with hydration, as it's primarily dehydration that creates a hangover. You consume the equivalent of one multivitamin in every four shots.
Interesting. How does alcohol affect the absorption of these nutrients when you drink Vitamin Vodka? The sugarcane base we use helps retain the slow vitamin release, which in turn offsets the alcohol affecting the vitamin absorption.
Do you think people will have detectable benefits from the vitamins in Vitamin Vodka despite its alcohol content? It has been noted with all our independent tests that very few candidates experienced a hangover when the only alcohol they consumed was Vitamin Vodka, due to its organic ingredients, vitamin infusion, and traditional copper pot distillation methods. It's primarily the preservatives that create the nasty side effect issues. And naturally, we don't condone excessive drinking!
Can these vitamins really prevent a hangover? What has been your experience when drinking it (and the morning after)? I have owned and operated clubs, bars, restaurants, and resorts for over 30 years. I have tasted most spirits in the marketplace. And in all that time I have never consumed a purer vodka than Vitamin Vodka. The vitamins genuinely assist in offsetting the effects of a hangover in my experience. I have never experienced a hangover the following day.
A few years ago, there was another vitamin-infused vodka called Lotus Vodka on the market in the US. Are you familiar with this product, and if so, why do you think it didn't succeed? I've heard of Lotus Vodka. I can't comment on its success or lack of, other than to say my focus lay with this pattern of thought: with any alcohol-based product the key to your success is the use of creative natural ingredients and marketing. I can only vouch for Vitamin Vodka, in that I wanted a unique vodka base, being organic sugarcane; pure water is important, and none better sourced than in Australia; vitamins to enhance the quality and consumption benefits. You can't cut corners when producing a premium spirit. On that basis, a lot of thought and care went into creating our vodka.
Got it. What would you recommend mixing it with? Ideally, don't mix anything with our vodka. It's best consumed straight-up in a frozen shot glass from our chilled decanter. I liken mixing Vitamin Vodka to adding orange juice to a vintage Champagne. It's just not done, as a rule. On the rare occasions you do, I suggest sparkling mineral water with a twist of lime. Or with a natural cranberry juice and crushed ice.
Thanks for talking with us.