September 28, 2018 – Remember that small island nation of 335,000 people with the Viking chant that made the cut in the World Series when we didn’t? Yeah. That island – Iceland. Well, with National Vodka Day coming up on Thursday next week, we checked in with Rekya Vodka’s Brand Ambassador, Trevor Schneider to find out how Reyka was celebrating National Vodka Day and why Iceland’s vodka is so darned smooth.
With an extensive career in bartending and hospitality in New York City, Trevor, nicknamed “the cocktail ninja”, has been travelling the country for Reyka training and educating industry professionals and charming the public with his passion for this quirky brand.
He explained it starts with pure Arctic spring water that has already been filtered through lave rocks. As you might expect, there’s no shortage of glaciers in Iceland but there are plenty of volcanoes, too, which seems paradoxical. Of about 130 volcanoes, 30 are still active. You might even recall the one that erupted in 2010 with the catchy name of Eyjafjallajökull. It disrupted European air traffic for quite a while but is now a tourist attraction. The volcanoes are important because they supply the lava rock used to filter the vodka. Reyka’s master distiller actually hand selects the rocks out in the field and after they have been used about a dozen times, he takes them back to where he found them. Now that is really going green. The lava rocks are so efficient at filtering that Reyka Vodka is filtered just once, unlike many vodkas that boast about multiple filtrations.
The small, 1,000-liter batches are made by native Icelanders in a distillery powered by geothermal heat. There go those volcanoes again. Reyka can truly claim to be “clean and green” and the one word always used to describe it is “smooth”. It is great on its own with ice or as a base for delightful cocktails. It is also a very affordable premium brand.
Trevor has three brand new recipes that will be standbys long after National Vodka Day. The first one, Pumpkin Spiced Lebowski is easy to make and perfect for Fall right through Thanksgiving and the Holiday Season. We asked Trevor about measurements given in parts. H said to just consider one part equal to one ounce and go from there. No one wants to do math when mixing a drink!
Pumpkin Spiced Lebowski
2 parts Reyka Vodka
1 part coffee liqueur
1 part heavy cream
½ tsp. of pumpkin pie spice
Method: Combine heavy cream and pumpkin pie spice into cocktail shaker and shake. Add Reyka Vodka and Coffee Liqueur and shake with ice. Serve on the rocks and garnish with cocoa puffs
2 parts Reyka Vodka
1 part lemon juice
½ part maple syrup
Splash apple baked bitters*
Splash celery bitters*
Apple chip for garnish
Method: Combine all the ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake, strain into a Martini glass and garnish with apple chip.
*Bitters can be found in some liquor stores or on Amazon. Two companies that make many bitters flavors are Bar-Keep and Fee Brothers. Bitters do not deteriorate if well sealed and can be used for flavoring sauces and dessert toppings as well as in non-alcoholic drinks.
Íslandssítrusól (Iceland Citrus Sun)
1.5 oz Reyka Vodka
1 oz amaretto liqueur
1.25 oz fresh lemon
One egg white
Garnish: reverse lemon wheel (sun)*
Method: Combine first three ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake without ice. In a separate shaker or small container, shake or whip egg white. Add ice and shaken egg white and shake again. Strain into Rocks glass and garnish with reverse lemon wheel.
* To make a reverse lemon wheel, cut a sturdy slice of lemon in half and bend one half over the other half so that the lemon sections make spokes like sunrays. A bit tricky, admittedly, but a very effective decoration that adds flavor to the cocktail.