Before my instruction in the art of vodka tasting, I’d always assumed it all tasted more or less the same.
Not so – there’s actually a huge difference in terms of flavour, viscosity, aroma and characteristics, depending on which brand you go for.
One of the secrets to Finlandia’s success, I found out, is in the water – the pure glacial spring water that’s used to make the vodka.
Instead of mucking about with it, it’s kept as pure as it was thousands of years ago.
The Finlandia cabin, where we had our tasting, was perched high on a snowy hill near the ski resort of Levi, in Kittila, Finnish Lapland.
Here, snowmobiling is the best way to get around, and a day’s jaunt with Lapland Safaris (www.laplandsafaris.com) was the perfect way to work up an appetite for a traditional Lappish feast later that evening. Oh, and a karaoke session I’d rather not go into detail about – blame the vodka!
The day was crammed with activities, including ice fishing on a frozen lake, a trip in a reindeer sled (go Rudolph!), husky sledging through snowy forests and a stop for a warm berry juice in an authentic tepee.
Finishing the afternoon off with a sauna in the cabin and we were good to go for the evening meal and vodka tasting.
In Levi, you can also go skiing, cross-country skiing, get lessons in a ski school or go snowboarding – there’s always snow here, so you don’t need to worry about the white stuff!
And if you’re lucky, you may be treated to your very own sky show, if the Northern Lights should make an appearance.
I didn’t go home empty handed either – never mind the souvenirs I bought in the shops in downtown Levi, I also picked up some delish Finlandia cocktail recipes too.
Click through to find them and create your own tasty Finlandia vodka cocktails – and don’t forget the ice, ice baby!