No one was more surprised than me to hear from the folks at Reyka Vodka, not just wondering if I would like to try their product but to hear the news that Denver is hosting A Taste of Iceland for the 2nd year in a row. From September 26 – 29 this year, locals will have a unique opportunity to experience what life is like in a country over 3,600 miles away. The four-day event celebrates the vibrant culture of Iceland, a country that has become a hotbed for emerging music and innovative cuisine. A Taste of Iceland made its Denver debut in 2012, and was met with excitement from music fans and foodies alike. Based on last year’s success, the event’s organizers are once again partnering with KGNU 88.5 FM & 1390 AM and Coohills to showcase the best Iceland has to offer.
During A Taste of Iceland, locals are invited to savor Icelandic cuisine as guest chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson takes over the kitchen at Coohills, mix cocktails using Reyka Vodka with Coohills’ mixologist Noah Heaney, and enjoy a one-of-a-kind performance featuring Iceland’s top musicians including Lay Low, Snorri Helgason and Högni Egilsson alongside notable Denver artists Jesse Elliott of Ark Life and These United States, Esmé Patterson of Paper Bird and Tyler Ludwick of Princess Music.
In conjunction with this event, I’ve prepared a cocktail using Reyka Vodka, a vodka that is as unique as the land that inspires it. Crafted by hand in small batches in Borganes, Iceland, Reyka Vodka is filtered through ancient lava rocks and made from the purest Iceland spring water using geo-thermal energy. A beautiful clean vodka; it seems meant to be the perfect mixer. Combined with the flavors of Blood Orange Liqueur, Creme de Violette, Lemon Juice and Rhubarb Bitters, the resulting cocktail is as cool as it looks but there is nothing ‘girly’ about this beauty. Citrus elements combine with just a hint of violet and we thought it both absolutely gorgeous to look at and a wonderful cocktail to advent the chill in the air.
Finding the Creme de Violette was a challenge but I was ultimately successful at an absolutely wonderful shop that is new to me; Divino Wine and Spirits on Broadway, nestled among the many antique stores on the west side of the highway. A small storefront belies the array of products inside and the helpful and knowledgeable young man behind the counter made for a most pleasant experience. This is the sort of place that people who love to craft cocktails HAVE to know about! If you’re in Denver? Go. Now.
Before I was rewarded with success in my search, I was ‘this close’ to using Cassis liqueur and I’m sure it would have been fine; it’s a small and subtle amount for sure…but if you can find the Creme de Violette do give it a try; it’s apparently the darling of the craft cocktail crowd!
Truly gorgeous isn’t it?
- 1.5 oz Thyme infused Reyka Vodka
- 1 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 oz Rothman and Winter Creme de Violette
- 3 drops of Rhubarb Bitters (I used Fee Brothers)
- Garnish with (blood) orange slice dusted in sparkling sugar
- Chill cocktail glass.
- Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice.
- Shake hard and double strain over a large ice cube in an old fashioned glass.
- Garnish with sugared orange slice
About Iceland Naturally:
Iceland Naturally is a cooperative marketing organization that promotes the tourism, services, products and culture of Iceland. It represents the true essence of Iceland, its creativity and spectacular natural wonders. The group is comprised of Icelandair, Icelandic Group., Islandsbanki, Reyka Vodka, City of Reykjavik, Icelandic Glacial Water, 66° NORTH, Blue Lagoon, Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Landsvirkjun, Promote Iceland and the Government of Iceland. For more information, please visit www.icelandnaturally.com.