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Leo Robitschek Knows That Not All Vodka Is Created Equal | Partner Tip

The word ‘premium’ actually means something.

At New York’s celebrated Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad, bar director Leo Robitschek observes that about 30 percent of bar sales is vodka. “We’ve always had it, and we always will,” he says.

He also sells twice as many vodka martinis as gin. When stocking the bars, Robitschek looks for vodka with good viscosity, mouth feel and flavor. “To say that vodka is flavorless is wrong,” insists Robitschek. “For a while the style was to distill and filter the spirit so many times that it robbed it of all its character. That’s changing now.”

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Robitschek also says he’s seeing less of the flavored novelty vodkas than were vying for market share in the last few years. But he has noticed an uptick in premium vodkas, like elit™ by Stolichnaya®, which are not premium because of their fancy packaging or robust marketing campaigns, but because of the careful craftsmanship of the spirit itself. elit™, for example, is made with single-sourced grain and artesian well water, then carefully filtered through quartz sand and Russian beechwood charcoal, emerging crystal-clear. “You taste one of those vodkas,” he says, “and you realize that vodka can be smoother and taste better than any vodka you’ve had before.”

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