I am a terrible fiend. A fiend for pickles, cured meats and smoked cuts. I’m insatiable. There’s no use hiding it and I am only moderately repentant. Salted, smoked, air-dried. I’m your man. I assume it’s something to do with multiple generations before me, preserving foods to indulge in during the lean winter months. It feels the natural thing to do. I blame my daughter for reintroducing ham toasted sandwiches into our previously well-balanced, positively plant-based diet. Ham is the gateway charcuterie, as we all know.
So Veganuary hasn’t quite taken hold for me. But, it’s not just the cured meats, gang. I’ve found a perfect partner for them. It’s vodka. I love it and my January thus far has been a happy balance of the two. No tick in the Dry January box of merit here either, then. But, I have been making wise choices to offset this, and you can too.
Specifically, I’ve been drinking Sapling vodka. They have re-introduced me to the brilliance of high-quality vodka and are using it as a platform to spread a positive message. I am a fan.
An ethos before it is a vodka; the longstanding mission of Sapling founders Ed and Ivo is to spread the message of environmental sustainability. They did it with music festivals, now they have attached the mission to a bottle! For every bottle of Sapling purchased, they plant a tree. Your tree can be tracked using the GPS code on the bottle’s cork. Over it’s lifetime your tree absorbs carbon from the atmosphere. So by reacquainting yourself with great vodka this January, you’re doing the planet some good. I suddenly feel quite virtuous! Check out the credentials in more detail here. They are the real deal.
Vodka is about purity and clarity and cleanliness. For me, it’s this lack of strong flavour and character that is it’s charm. Sipping on a high-quality vodka, you focus on the texture, the smoothness, the mouthfeel – these are all qualities I love and seek out in wine and vodka puts them front and centre. It helps me to appreciate these qualities when I return to my beloved wine.
Sapling’s vodka is distilled in London, from 100% British wheat and this wheat gives a little lick of sweetness on the finish. It is supremely smooth and well-balanced, very gently citrussy and herbaceous. It’s the perfect vodka to try neat. That said, throw it into a Bloody Mary or serve with tonic and it’s a phenomenal partner.
A chilled sip of vodka classically goes brilliantly with fresh shellfish and seafood, salty caviar and smoked salmon. As I say, I’ve also found it the perfect partner for smoked ham, cured meats and beef jerky too – what you’re looking for is a salty, smoky, high-protein bite to contrast the vodka’s clarity. The bright tang of pickled gherkins is the perfect third-wheel.
If you want to make up a little plate and try my new-found January routine, as a special treat for our Three Wine Men community, Sapling are offering an exclusive 10% off on their website. Enter the code THREEWINEMEN10 at checkout!