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CLICK TO PLAY:Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka

Have you tasted some flavored vodkas from the sweet and cheap to the wickedly expensive only to be left wondering what the point was? Whether you like vodka or not, prepare for to ingenuity in a bottle of which most any foodie, spirits lover or cocktalian would find something appealing. first told you about the Saffron and Tarragon Vodkas by Sub Rosa Spirits of Oregon in our podcast with Distiller Mike Sherwood above which we invite you to stream. Sub Rosa infuses their vodkas with real herbs and spices, which you can visibly see delicately infused in the bottle. Thus, this is genuine flavor you can see and taste.

Below we are reviewing these innovative vodkas which are the first in their flavor ever produced while we’re also providing some inspiration for cocktails. The name ‘sub rosa’ comes from the Latin, literally “under the rose,” from the association of the rose with confidentiality. Thus, the latin theme is evident in the design and language used creatively on the bottles.

Both vodkas are uniquely delicious and stand as a testament to how American craft distilling is showing the mainstream offerings there is nothing like craft micro-distilleries. Learn where you can order them or enjoy them at fine establishments here.


Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka ReviewSub Rosa Saffron Vodka Review

Vodka: Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka,

Distillery: Sub Rosa Spirits, Dundee, Oregon

Proof: 90 Proof, 45% ABV

Color: Clear with extremely mild reddish/copper huge, delicate hints of saffron and spices visibly infused

Nose: Saffron is evident, cummin, hints of chile powder. Prevalence of spice goes into your nose and feels like you’re near a kitchen where spices are being cooked.

Taste: The entry is fairly bold with a pleasant balance of savory and mild sweetness.  This is unlike any spice ever experienced in a spirt because it doesn’t feel like someone used trickery and flavoring. We even got a bit creative in our “Bloody Eye” creation with vodka and hot sauce. Rather than full on rush of heat, this vodka comes on slowly and allows it open up like the flavors of a fine wine.

Saffron and cummin are there, and apparently a total of 8 spices are included in the infusion. A citrus element shines through mid palette, leaving that swallow with an “ahhh” sensation. Evokes a combination of Asian, Mexican and Indian influence delivering enough punch to awaken the, “What am I drinking here?” question while the answer becomes clear: Pour More.

Finish: Spice lingers on the tongue and then lifts off with a warming sensation.


Sub Rosa Tarragon Vodka ReviewSub Rosa Tarragon Vodka Review

Vodka: Sub Rosa Tarragon Vodka

Distillery: Sub Rosa Spirits, Dundee, Oregon

Proof: 90 Proof, 45% ABV

Color: Clear with very mild lime to chartreuse greenish hue, delicate hints of tarragon and spices infused and visible.

Nose: Fresh botanicals,vibrant and mint-like with licorice candies.

Taste: Licorice, tarragon, anise, fennel. Becomes increasingly intense with a rush of “coolness” closer to the swallow. The cooling nature that goes down the throat is awakening to senses and the nose.

Finish: Cool, minty, crisp and vegetable like.






Saffron Vodka Cocktails:

Bollywood Hills
2 oz. Saffron vodka

1/2 oz. orgeat syrup
3/5 oz. lime juice
5 or 6 dashes of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (a barspoon)

Shaken in a mixing tin with crushed ice.  Strain through a fine strainer. Serve straight up in a martini glass.   Garnish with pickled mango slices or simply a lime peel.
Dosa restaurant – San Francisco, CA

Smokey Saffron cocktail
1 1/2 oz Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
1/2 oz high quality orange liqueur like Cointreau
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz Lapsang souchong tea – simple syrup

Shake over ice and serve on the rocks in a salt and pepper-rimmed glass.

Lapsang souchong is the delicious Chinese black tea dried over burning pine wood. To make the syrup, simply brew hot Lapsang souchong and mix with an equal volume of sugar. Getting the balance of the smoke and the lime juice may take a few tries.

2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
3 oz. Apricot nectar
3 grinds Black pepper
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup; ginger syrup or Domaine Canton ginger liqueur

Chill over ice, shake vigorously, serve up. Alternatively, build and serve on the rocks. We’ve also used a curry / sugar rim with this cocktail before.
Lance Mayhew – Beaker & Flask – Portland, Oregon

Bharat Mary
2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
3 dashes Worcestershire
1 dash Peychauds bitters
3 dashes hot sauce (or more)
Tomato juice (to fill) [Lance specified tomato water or celery juice if you have time to make it]
Celery salt (to taste)

Make a ‘short’ Bloody Mary in a small Rocks or Old Fashion glass. Garnish with Indian pickled carrots and peppers. Minus the horseradish.
Adapted from Lance Mayhew – Beaker & Flask – Portland, Oregon

Tarragon Vodka Cocktails:

Miss Vicki
1 1/2 oz. Tarragon vodka
1 oz. Cointreau or other high quality orange liqueur
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 hearty pinch of fresh cilantro.
Soda water

Muddle cilantro and lemon juice in a shaker. Add ice, vodka and orange liqueur and shake vigorously.
Serve in a chilled Collins glass. Top off with soda water.

Tarragon “Martini”
1 1/2 Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka
1/2 oz. Limoncello
Lemon peel

Put ingredients, including lemon peel in shaker.  Shake and strain into martini glass.  Garnish with an additional long lemon peel.   If you have some lemon sorbet, a large melon ball scoop or small ice cream scoop floating in the middle is visually striking. Linda Lausmann – Sub Rosa

Tarkhun Cocktail (the Russian word for Tarragon)
2 oz. Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka
2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. 7up

Build over ice in an Old Fashion glass. Garnish with fresh tarragon if you have some. Lance Mayhew – 50 Plates – Portland, Oregon

Hot Summer Night [Tarragon Smash / Mojito]
1 1/2 oz Sub Rosa Tarragon Vodka
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Fresh mint leaves.
Fresh tarragon leaves
Lemon twist and mint sprig garnish

Muddle a pinch of mint leaves with the lemon juice, simple syrup in bottom of rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice, pour in the vodka, and fill with Squirt. Garnish with a lemon peel twist and or a mint sprig. Mike Sherwood – Sub Rosa.

Tarragon Vodka Sub Rosa Spirits


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