At Pie Party GE last year Smirnoff was one of the generous Gold Sponsors of the event. Attendees of Pie Party got to try drinks made with two of Smirnoff's newest flavors Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka and Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka. (Please note to enter Smirnoff's site you have to provide a birth date which will need to be at least 21 years of age to enter and view.) At Pie Party I tried the Caramel Apple Pie (made with Kissed Caramel flavored vodka) and was enamored with it. Smirnoff was so kind to offer samples for us to try. So I decided to have a cocktail hour at my place with bite-sized eats and a few close friends for a tasting!
Since drinks were going to be had I made pigs in a blanket, a blueberry buckle (a la Herbivoracious), chicken fingers, arancini balls (thanks Trader Joe's!), there were soft cheeses and multigrain baguettes, pita chips and Fritos and PopCorners with hummus, and my friend Lesley brought Dove chocolate caramels in honor of the event. My buddies Lesley and Ric, and cousin Melissa each brought a supplement for the drinks on Smirnoff's website to try and after stuffing ourselves we started our cocktail tasting.
Made with Smirnoff Kissed Caramel, apple juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup (which I made). Everyone liked it for the most part because "It tasted like candy." The alcoholic taste was a bit sharp but not too much because the simple syrup elevated the sweetness. It was a fave of the group especially for Lesley who is not a big alcohol drinker.
Made with Kissed Caramel, strong chai tea (unsweetened), milk, and simple syrup. This was another fave. My friend Ric is a huge fan of chai tea and since the proportion of tea and milk was larger than the Kissed Caramel the alcohol taste was not overwhelming but adding the hint of caramel. It tasted like tea with a bit of caramel, so it could be dangerous because you may keep drinking and not realize how much alcohol you're having. Still darned tasty.
Made with Kissed Caramel, apple juice, and cranberry juice. This drink is a shot so it's a bit stronger since it's supposed to be taken in one slog. I felt like this was a bit more alcoholic than the Appletini but Melissa, Ric, and Lesley thought the Appletini had a bit more alcohol taste to it. This may have been because the Appletini was the first we tried and after a couple breaks we were dulled by the taste of alcohol. The cranberry added some tartness to it, but either way it was a nice, smooth shot.
Detour into trying the Kissed Caramel Mule. We didn't have angostura bitters, so it was just ginger ale and Kissed Caramel. And, I learned an important lesson: Never shake carbonated drinks in a cocktail mixer or it will explode. It wasn't until I took a second stab at the drink that Melissa and Ric realized that this was the issue and by that time ginger ale and Smirnoff were on my floor, after exploding on my counter. Lesson learned. This drink, sans bitters, wasn't too intriguing, so we'll see if perhaps the bitters may have added that needed element to make the drink stand out in another try in the future.
Caramel Apple Pie
The drink I tasted at Pie Party GE. Even making it at home I LOVED it. It's made with Kissed Caramel (1.5 oz), apple cider (4 oz.), lemon juice (.25 oz), and a pinch of sea salt. Because the cider outweighs the Smirnoff this drink tastes very much like a pie in drink form. Ric and Melissa liked it (by this time Lesley had bowed out) but didn't think it stood out enough for them in the range of the drinks. I think they enjoyed some items that had that alcoholic element.
Creamy Caramel Martini (revised)
Ric was unable to find butterscotch liquor at the store near me so he got a (dark) chocolate liqueur since it seemed that may go with caramel well. This drink was strong. You pair 17% alcohol (chocolate) and 30% alcohol with the vodka and nothing to pare it down a bit and you have some serious stuff. I couldn't finish it because it was so intense, but the flavors did meld well together. It's a beverage you'd have to sip for awhile rather than drink.
In the end the Appletini and Spiced Tea were the faves. The Tea was loved by Ric and Melissa because they are fans of chai and the caramel added a nice boost for them in terms of the overall flavor. It was milky and sweet! Lesley was all for the Appletini because it tasted like liquified candy. And my favorite remains the Caramel Apple Pie.
I would highly recommend Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka and try the drinks we did. There's a good alternate for those who enjoy their alcohol sweet (Appletini or Caramel Apple Pie) or smooth and not too heavy (Caramel Spiced Tea) or strong (Creamy Caramel Martini).