When the Wall Street Journal runs a page-one story on a color, you know something weird is going on in the zeitgeist. But in March, the august Journal decreed this season's hottest hue: pink. It seems that the shade is not just for dismissal notices anymore. So imagine our delight when a small bottle of vodka arrived in the mail, and it was . . . pink!
The spirit, Shakers Rose Vodka, is the latest product from Infinite Spirits, a young company we wrote about last summer ("Buzz Without Bucks," August 2003). Shakers had just launched America's first homegrown, ultrapremium vodka with a strategy that focused on schmoozing bartenders and liquor-store owners.
A year later, the company's on a roll. It recently swept the prestigious 2004 San Francisco World Spirits competition, racking up three double-gold prizes plus a Best in Show for Shakers Rose. The fragrant liquor, which smells like an American Beauty and looks like pink perfume, topped the field of 40 flavored vodkas. And it tastes, well, like a rose—no mean feat, apparently.
"We definitely tasted some bad roses," says CEO Tim Clark. "There was one that smelled and tasted like the little perfumey soap balls that were in your grandmother's bathroom." According to master distiller Pat Couteaux, natural rose oil is bitter and tends to dissipate quickly. So he deconstructed the rose molecule and reconstructed the parts that gave it its flowery scent and taste from other natural flavors, including honey, citrus, and vanilla.
Feeling blue? We recommend a full-spectrum pink Valentini: rose vodka with a splash of cassis. Garnish with edible rose petals. Toss back a few of those, and you, too, will be in the pink.
A version of this article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.