From Doughnut to Bacon: A Blind Taste Test of Flavored Vodkas

05/23/2014 at 04:58 PM ET

Flavored vodka taste test

Walk into a liquor store these days and you’ll find a dizzying array of novelty vodka flavors, from bacon to Cinnabon. (Yes, your favorite mall pastry can now get you drunk. Cheers.)

Naturally, this begs the question: Does Cinnabon vodka actually taste like Cinnabons? Does bacon vodka actually taste like bacon? More importantly, do any of these vodkas actually taste good?

We put our most happy-hour-loving staff through a blind taste test to see if they could match six flavored vodkas to their real food counterparts — and to get their opinion on whether they’d knock back another pour.

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy Pinnacle; Right; Courtesy Cinnabon

Flavor: Cinnabon
Blind Tester: Whitney Little, Associate Producer
Best Guess: Cake. “It tastes like buttercream and a really delicious birthday cake.”
Real Flavor Reveal: No huge shock here. “Cinnabon actually makes sense because the most overwhelming flavor was icing.”
The Last Word: “I want an entire bottle!”

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy Van Gogh; Right: Getty

Flavor: PB&J
Blind Tester: Alison Schwartz, Associate Editor
Best Guess: Chocolate bubblegum. (Ed. note: Chocolate bubblegum?! Actually, that’s no crazier than PB&J, never mind.)
Real Flavor Reveal: Schwartz agreed she could taste the nutty, buttery flavor. The jelly, not so much.
The Last Word: “I could kinda, maybe, sorta drink this straight. …But what would happen if I muddled this with berries? Impossible is nothing.”

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy Bakon Vodka; Right: Getty

Flavor: Bacon
Blind Tester: Ben Trivett, Photo Editor
Best Guess: Chili/pepper
Real Flavor Reveal: “Blasphemous! Alcohol should not be mixed with meat!”
The Last Word: When we added the savory spirit to a cocktail mix, Trivett was sold. “In a Bloody Mary, it was very delicious.” May the record also show that two other staffers could not stop raving about the bacon Bloody.

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy Smirnoff; Right: Getty

Flavor: Fluffed Marshmallow (Ed. note: Is there such a thing as an unfluffed marshmallow?)
Blind Tester: Katie Kauss, Visual Projects Editor
Best Guess: Cotton candy
Real Flavor Reveal: “Fluffed marshmallow should be on a s’more!”
The Last Word: You may not be able to toast this over an open flame, but maybe you should enjoy it in a warm beverage: “This would actually be great mixed in a hot chocolate.”

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy 360 Vodka; Right: Getty

Flavor: Glazed Donut
Blind Tester: Laura Franco, Assistant Producer
Best Guess: Birthday cake with vanilla ice cream. (When questioned on the specificity of her guess, Franco insisted the vodka smelled like an ice cream shop.)
Real Flavor Reveal: “DOUGHNUTS!! Totally didn’t see it coming!”
The Last Word: “Fantastic on its own!”

Flavored vodka taste test
Left: Courtesy Three Olives; Right: Getty

Flavor: Tropical fruit (Ed. note: Despite the “Loopy” name, rainbow coloring and suggestive logo of overlapping circles, there is no explicit reference to a popular breakfast cereal anywhere on this bottle or in its marketing.)
Blind Tester: Rachel Horner, Freelance Writer
Best Guess: Froot Loops/Fruity Pebbles
Real Flavor Reveal: Our unsurprised tester could even tell from the smell: “It was sweet but in a fruity way rather than overly sugary.”
The Last Word: “I would drink this by itself with no mixer, but think it would also taste delicious simply mixed with Sprite.”

—Karen J. Quan

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Anonymous on

I wouldn’t want to even try any of this fake flavored vodka! Sophisticated drinkers create our own “real” flavored vodka by soaking fresh fruit, etc.

These bottles are for people who drink wine out of boxes.

Diane on

Hmmm…sounds interesting. I would give them a try. I enjoy Crown Royal Maple which, when mixed with Diet Coke, tastes like french toast.
The bacon has me a little concerned, but I’ll try almost any alcohol once.

Maria on

I love Smirnoff Honey vodka – great mixed with seltzer!

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