Fluffed Marshmallow, Iced Cake, Whipped Cream, Spiced Root Beer, Cookie Dough, Cotton Candy, Gummy, Orange Whipped, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and Pumpkin Pie. No, those are not the latest flavors of jelly beans or kid's cereals. Those flavors are supposed to be for adults and they are but a few of the hundreds of varieties of flavored vodkas that are now available on the market.
As I recently posted, vodka is the number one consumed spirit in the U.S. as well as the world. In 2011, the vodka category grew in the U.S. by 6%, up to 65.8 million cases. A new report by Technomic indicates that double digit growth is expected for the vodka category in 2012, largely driven by the huge popularity of flavored vodkas.
The flavored vodka category rose by an impressive 23.3%, increasing by 3.3 million cases, and constituted over 1/4 of the total vodka volume in 2011. Nearly 3/4 of the vodkas introduced in 2011 were flavored vodkas and it is one of the fastest-growing segments of the spirits industry. Raspberry and citrus remain the top two flavors but whipped cream has amazingly seized third place. For example, Pinnacle Whipped Cream grew an incredible 324.5% in 2011 to make it the leading flavored vodka brand.
Who the hell is drinking all that whipped cream vodka? I have tasted it and it is extremely sweet, and really tastes artificial. I didn't find it compelling in any shape, way or form. I know others who feel the same way but obviously there is a large segment who enjoy it and other strange flavored vodkas.
I have nothing against flavored or infused vodkas per se. Historically, they have existed across the world, though the flavors were more like pepper, bison grass, berries and lemon. But the myriad of strange flavors that have arisen boggles the mind. Why do you want your vodka to taste like overly sweet candy? It appears that young women are the primary consumers of these flavored vodkas, though there are plenty of men drinking them as well. In general, people seem to be using these flavored cocktails in cocktails, not drinking them straight.
So if that is the case, why not use unflavored vodka and just add your desired flavors into the cocktail? Instead of using root beer vodka, why not use straight vodka and add actual root beer? Why not top off your cocktail with some real whipped cream. It seems you would get better flavor from these additions rather than using what is often artificially flavored vodkas. Or just add a couple heaping spoonfuls of sugar, or a handful of gummy fish, to your cocktail rather than use the highly sweet, flavored vodkas.
What is the allure of whipped cream vodka? If you enjoy it, please tell me why.