header home Backbar Bar Station Recipe Database Month's Feature "Drink-o-pedia" Mixology Contact

Slovenia Vodka

Slovenia Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

It doesn't take a Food Channel junkie to know that not all chefs are created equal. At the risk of oversimplifying matters—good chefs cook with skill, great chefs create with passion. So it only stands to reason that were a chef to get involved in developing an artisanal vodka the result would be something truly praiseworthy. Such is the case with renowned New York chef and restaurateur Peter X. Kelly and his creation, Slovenia Vodka. Be prepared to be wowed.

"This vodka was developed with luxury in mind from the onset," says Billy Rattner, sommelier and founding brand team member. "Like a small pinch of saffron that turns Chef Kelly's bouillabaisse from sublime to superior, his innovative use of buckwheat takes Slovenia Vodka from smooth to smoothest."

The small batch import is made near Ljubljana, Slovenia from a blend of hardy winter wheat and pure spring water sourced from the Julian Alps. Its singular gustatory twist is the touch of local buckwheat added to the recipe, which lends the spirit an enticing savory flavor. The vodka (SRP $45) is then double-distilled in a pot still and bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

Slovenia is an inspired culinary gem. The vodka has crystalline clarity, a velvety textured, medium-weight body and a brilliant floral bouquet with prominent notes of citrus zest, red plums and dried herbs. Its wafting aromatics are well worth the price of admission. The entry is cool and soft. It quickly expands filling the mouth with spicy, peppery flavors. The crisp, moderate length finish features the added flavors of anise, malt, maple and light fruit.

Slovenia is distinctly different than others in its class. The character-laden vodka is savory and abundantly aromatic. It ideally should be drunk neat or with a slight chill. Serve it too cold and you might miss its charming nuances and the full breadth of its bouquet. As for its creative latitude behind the bar, we should all be so versatile. It's a natural mixed with a premium tonic or as the lead in cocktails with tempered sweetness.

Slovenia—an all-round classy spirit. "Yo chef, great job! Salud!"