Move over, please, Whispering Angel — the latest blush tipple aimed at igniting ladies’ lunches this summer is rosé vodka. And hard drinking has never looked so photogenic.
As if downing rosé wine with the girls isn’t dangerous enough, now there’s a range of stiff pink drinks, with roughly three times the alcohol content (some just shy of 40 per cent proof).
Rosé wine has become a cult summer hit due in part to its celebrity endorsement — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s vineyard is behind the popular Miraval label — and its happy associations with hot Provencal summers and luxury beach bars.
Drinks brands hope pink spirits will enjoy the same surge in popularity. Enter the classiest of these new contenders: Comte De Grasse’s 06 Vodka Rosé. Made from mixing rosé wine with vodka, the spirit was launched this week in Harvey Nichols, where you can pick up a bottle for £49.
Katie says the latest blush tipple aimed at igniting ladies’ lunches this summer is rosé vodka (stock image)
And there is an array of pink vodkas packaged to look more like perfume than tipples.
The drinks themselves? Some are as glittery and thick as children’s shampoo, with a nose ranging from pleasantly fruity to obnoxiously sweet.
You can drink them on ice (for the brave), with soda, or as a cocktail. I tried them with friends and we found nearly all of them undrinkable neat because of that 30-plus per cent alcohol content.
Having said that, my female testers drank more than usual. But we felt these bubble-gum spirits were patronising — do companies think tinting spirits pink is the way to get women to buy them? Men aren’t sold alcohol like this.
I’d rather marketers were honest. As an advertising copywriter, Fay Weldon coined the slogan: ‘Vodka gets you drunker quicker.’ Now that — rather than patronising pink — is a marketing angle I can get on board with.
PALE PEACH CROWD-PLEASER
Comte de Grasse 06 Vodka Rosé, 70cl, £49, harveynichols.com
Comte de Grasse 06 Vodka Rosé, 70cl, £49, harveynichols.com is a drink Katie could have straight on ice
WHAT IS IT: An elegant bottle you could proudly plonk on a garden party table. The marketing spiel invokes the French Riviera, though I can’t see the wine-snob ladies of Provence downing pink vodka shots.
PINK POWER: The winner on taste. Although it opens with the throat-burning kick of vodka, it mellows to a fruity aftertaste. There’s a whiff of sweet wine and strawberry, but don’t be fooled — it’s still 37.5 per cent. Perhaps dangerously, it’s so tasty you could drink it straight on ice. 5/5
COASTING ON RURAL CHARM
Aval Dor Cornish Rose & Hibiscus Vodka, 70cl, £42, colwithfarmdistillery.co.uk
Aval Dor Cornish Rose & Hibiscus Vodka, 70cl, £42, colwithfarmdistillery.co.uk did not live up to Katie’s expectations
WHAT IS IT: Created near Cornwall’s south coast on Colwith Farm. The spirit is made from the farm’s potatoes.
PINK POWER: Sadly, perhaps spoilt by too many pink spirits, this didn’t live up to expectations. My testers said it smelt like grass and tasted smoked. We finished it with lemonade, but only just. 2.5/5
ROYAL FLUSH WITH HISTORY
Lanique Spirit of Rose, 70cl, £22, waitrose.com
Lanique Spirit of Rose, 70cl, £22, waitrose.com is surprisingly delicious and dangerously moreish according to Katie
WHAT IS IT: Enjoyed by royalty for more than 200 years, this is made by steam-distilling rose petals. Beautifully bottled but it smells like granny’s favourite soap.
PINK POWER: A dead ringer for Turkish Delight — yet this is surprisingly delicious and dangerously moreish. A little syrupy, you can drink it straight, but it’s better suited to a splash of tonic or champagne.5/5
Ghost Vodka Rose Gold Edition, 70cl, £28.95, masterofmalt.com
Ghost Vodka Rose Gold Edition, 70cl, £28.95, masterofmalt.com was a spirit that Katie said was all bottle and no substance
WHAT IS IT: A vodka with a distinctive blush colour thanks to sugar beets, this looks more like a biker’s choice of booze. But it might appeal to women who favour a little rock ‘n’ roll in their cocktail cabinet.
PINK POWER: Like a straight vodka, this one has little smell, and little taste too, although — as one of my testers said — ‘a little like licking a nettle’. All bottle, no substance.1/5
Riverside Rose Shimmer Vodka Liqueur, 70cl, £24.95, masterofmalt.com
Riverside Rose Shimmer Vodka Liqueur, 70cl, £24.95, masterofmalt.com smelt like anti-bacterial soap according to Katie
WHAT IS IT: Never has a drink offered so much and delivered so little. Everything about this is overkill. The liquid is pearlescent and reminiscent of shampoo. It’s Calpol-like in viscosity, giving it a strange, lumpy body that is off-putting.
PINK POWER: The nose gives a whiff of cheap anti-bacterial soap — the kind in festival Portaloos. My testers found it ‘sickly’ and ‘horrible’ but awarded some points for novelty. At 20 per cent alcohol content, it’s the least potent drink tested. 2/5
TIPPLE FOR BARBIE’S BIRTHDAY
JJ Whitley Rose Vodka, 70cl, £14, asda.com
JJ Whitley Rose Vodka, 70cl, £14, asda.com is lurid and has a smell suggestive of Appletiser, according to Katie
WHAT IS IT: The bubble-gum pink bottle is more Barbie’s birthday than sophisticated get-together. A mixed tipple of award-winning vodka with strawberries and raspberries, it’s squarely aimed at women. And yet, at 38 per cent, it’s the opposite of a relaxed bottle of rosé wine.
PINK POWER: Alas, the bottle’s content is equally lurid, set off by a slight sparkle and a smell suggestive of Appletiser, which is the nicest thing you can say. The serving suggestion recommends topping it with soda, mint and strawberries, but I’d encourage you to chuck anything into the glass that will mask the taste.2/5
FRUITY BUT TOO SWEET
Zubrowka Rosé Vodka, 70cl, £20.50, sainsburys.co.uk
Zubrowka Rosé Vodka, 70cl, £20.50, sainsburys.co.uk was too sweet for Katie and her friends to enjoy
WHAT IS IT: This is a fruity alternative to pink gin. Infused with bison grass grown in the Bialowieza forest in Poland, its taste comes from wild forest raspberries and cranberries, not grapes. So not technically a rosé but still blush in colour. And the alcohol content is 32 per cent.
PINK POWER: It smells pleasantly sweet, like straw-berry Ribena — if only it tasted so good. This one is sickly in the extreme. So much so it’s hard to believe it has alcohol in it. My friends and I could only force a shot down by drenching it in lemonade and ice, although prosecco would’ve been nicer.3/5