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The Ultimat(e) Debate: Shaken or Stirred? Join the "Poles" and Celebrate National Vodka Day


October 4, 2012 - NEW YORK, NY

With the first U.S. Presidential Debate behind us and the Election looming, topical discussions among friends, family and around the water cooler are heating up. For those seeking a more "spirited" tone, there's a new party on the scene sparking a debate of its own: today marks National Vodka Day and Ultimat (www.ultimatvodka.com), the ultra-premium vodka brand, is inviting Americans to cast their vote inspired by a different type of "Pole" (Poland, the birthplace of the vodka category and where Ultimat is imported from): Shaken or Stirred -- how do you drink your martini? Citizens of legal drinking age can join the debate by going to the Ultimat Vodka Facebook Page today.

With growth of 5.5% last year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the vodka category remains not only the largest spirits segment in the U.S., but arguably the hottest. Ultimat is the only member of the party that can boast about blending with three of Poland's key agricultural resources -- wheat, rye and potato -- distinguishing it as the most balanced candidate on the ballot. The blend captures the finest qualities of each: the richness of potato, the silkiness of wheat, and the clarity and complexity of rye. The result is one of the most versatile spirits available.

The Ultimat(e) debate on the table -- Shaken or Stirred? Double 007 prefers his Shaken. Now America can voice their opinion too. Beyond the martini, here are bartending tips to ensure the perfect cocktail:

  • STIR: Generally speaking, all cocktails that contain only distilled spirits should be stirred with very cold and large ice cubes. Large ice cubes melt slowly, so the cocktail will be chilled without being diluted. Shaking tends to dilute cocktails, and bruises the spirit. Stirred vodka also makes an impressive presentation -- looking picture perfect in a martini glass.
  • SHAKE: Cocktails that contain muddled fruits, juices, dairy products and eggs should be shaken. Shaking adds air to a cocktail and helps blend the spirit with other flavors. It helps presentation too by creating texture and a fresh look.

Regardless of philosophy -- enjoying vodka as the native Poles do is always a winning choice. Founder of ALCHEMIQ Mixology, Igor Zukowiec who was born in a quaint Polish village named Ruciane-Nida, shares some of his favorite traditions:

1. Toast with Pride - Before sipping a new cocktail, cheer na zdrowie (pronounced 'naz-dro-v-yeh'), meaning "To Health"

2. Stay Nourished - Sip water between cocktails and feed the soul with home-made Polish fare -- such as pickles, pierogi or kielbasa

3. Straight Up - Don't be afraid to reach for a shot glass when drinking Ultimat -- try it neat or chilled (but without ice) to bring out the flavors

TAKE THE ULTIMAT(E) POLE: SHAKEN OR STIRRED?

The Ultimat Martini
4 oz. Ultimat Vodka
Slight hint of dry vermouth, if desired
Stir or shake and serve in a martini glass
Garnish with an olive

Original cocktail recipes created by Igor Zukowiec, Alchemiq, New York City

The Midnight -- Method: Stir
2 1/2 oz. Ultimat Vodka
10 capers
Thin & wide lemon peel
Bar spoon of caper brine
Bar spoon of olive brine
Dash of sea salt
1/2 oz. dry vermouth

Method:
Muddle capers with lemon peel. Add remaining ingredients & stir with ice for about 30 seconds.
Double strain into chilled martini glass.

Garnish: Place a salmon roe in strainer and wash with cold running water for about 5 seconds. Drop caviar into martini glass.

Midnight brings the Dirty Martini to a completely different level. It starts with a lemony & slightly herbal nose. Provides light saltiness with caper notes. Salmon caviar brings up complexity & sophistication.

The Ultimat B&V (as in Bacon & Vodka) -- Method: Shake
1 1/2 oz. Ultimat Vodka
2 oz. Beets & Bacon essence*
3/4 oz. full-bodied red wine such as Malbec
2 bar spoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 bar spoon balsamic vinegar
5 black peppercorns
Whole Allspice
5 fresh basil leaves (+5 for a garnish)

Method
In a mixing cup muddle peppercorns & Allspice. Add remaining ingredients and shake with ice.
Double strain into highball glass filled with ice & basil leaves.

*Beets & Bacon Essence: Slowly boil 1 lb. of peeled & sliced red beets and 1/2 lb. of sliced naturally smoked bacon in 4 pt. of water until water evaporates to 1 1/2 - 2 pt. and the beets are soft. Remove & muddle beets. Mix with the essence again. Strain through a fine strainer.

Makes 12 - 16 cocktails

Inspired by a Polish tradition of mixing beets & bacon. The result is a surprising brunch-style cocktail with a sweet & herbal nose. The pallet is rich and a little earthy. Slightly spicy finish.

Ultimat is available in 750ml and 375ml bottles, and retails for approximately $40 (for 750ml).

ABOUT ULTIMAT VODKA
Ultimat Vodka is one of the world's most distinctive vodkas. Created in the birthplace of vodka -- Poland -- it is the only vodka distilled from both grains (wheat and rye) and potato, a break from the traditional process of using just one or the other. The result is a subtle taste, smooth texture, and rich complexity uncommon in most vodkas. Ultimat vodka is bottled in a striking cobalt blue crystal decanter. For more information about Ultimat vodka, visit www.ultimatvodka.com.

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