If you’re not a fan of vodka, there’s a chance you’ve never really thought about what it’s actually made of. In the simplest terms, vodka is a crystal-clear distilled spirit that’s more or less made up of water and ethanol. If that doesn’t sound appetizing, we totally get it. There’s a reason many drinkers believe that most vodka is flavorless and not particularly memorable.
While vodka can be made from different grains and fruits (like wheat, rye, corn, or even grapes), the potato has also become a common base for the spirit. Inevitably, centuries of vodka distillation have led to some gimmicky, over-the-top varieties like countless flavored vodkas and, most recently, Arby’s French Fry vodkas.
This Week, Frito-Lay dropped a vodka. You know, the makers of crispy, salty, iconic, wipe-your-greasy-hands-on-your-pants potato chips. While this might seem like just as much of a gimmick as the slew of flavored vodkas, it isn’t. The idea makes logical sense and even keeps with tradition.
Let’s get into what’s in the bottle.
Lay’s Potato Vodka
Average Price: $40 (currently sold out)
Lay’s partnered with Portland, Oregon’s Eastside Distilling to craft this limited-edition vodka produced with Lay’s proprietary potatoes — the same ones they use to make their own chips. To be clear, no, Lay’s and Eastside Distilling aren’t making vodka by emptying yellow bags of Lay’s chips into their fermenters. They’re simply using the company’s potatoes (and branding).
The nose was a lot sweeter than I expected. It reminded me of corn-based moonshine even though the ingredients are only potatoes, yeast, and water. There were notes of vanilla, caramel, and slight fruitiness that made me excited to take a sip (it should be noted that I don’t often get excited to sip vodka). While fairly muted, there were notes of vanilla beans, slight citrus, and just a hint of cracked black pepper. The finish was surprisingly mellow, sweet, and featured just a hint of warmth to remind you that you are actually drinking vodka.
As someone who doesn’t normally sip vodka neat, I’d definitely drink this one on the rocks or mixed with a little soda water and a twist of lime. Overall, a pretty decent vodka even with its gimmicky name and description.
85/100 — While not even close to the best vodka I’ve tasted, I was pleasantly surprised by the strong flavor profile and a smooth finish with little to no harshness.