Latest in the series of SLTN’s Trade Tastings saw attendees sampling Tito’s vodka.
The latest in the SLTN Trade Tastings series was hosted by Clayton Thomson, premium brand manager at C&C Group – the UK distributor of Tito’s – and featured four different Tito’s serves: neat, Tito’s and tonic, Tito’s and cola, cocktail the Tito-Rita and pickleback serve the Hickoryback.
The bar staff and owners in attendance were also taken through the history of the American brand, which was founded by native Texan Bert ‘Tito’ Beveridge in 1995 and has since grown to become a massive player in the US drinks market, laying claim to being the biggest-selling distilled spirit in the country in 2019. It continues to be distilled and bottled on the same site Beveridge founded in 1995.
Introducing the spirit, Thomson described the corn-based vodka as “so smooth you can drink it neat”, which led to attendees sampling the spirit on its own, before mixing it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic.
“Tito himself would tell you that his favourite Tito’s drink is a Tito’s and tonic,” said Thomson.
“Not only does he use lime, he also throws in grapefruit and orange and black pepper.
“He goes all out when he’s doing that.”
A premium vodka and cola serve was next, with Thomson leading a tasting of Tito’s with Fentimans Curiosity Cola.
The drink was topped with a sprig of fresh rosemary, which Thomson said is “very similar to mint, in that once you bash it and bruise it, you’ll wake up the aromas in the drink”.
The Tito-Rita was serve number four.
A twist on a traditional Margarita, the cocktail used Tito’s vodka in place of tequila, mixing the spirit with Cointreau and Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix.
Attendees were also encouraged to add their own salt and jalapenos.
Thomson described the cocktail as “a perfect alternative for people that love the sourness of a Margarita but don’t like the particular agave flavour of tequila”.
The session concluded with what Thomson described as “a bit more of an edgy serve”: the Hickoryback.
A twist on the traditional pickleback – which involves chasing a shot of spirit, usually bourbon, with a shot of pickle juice – the Hickoryback saw the chaser adopt a Texas-inspired barbecue flavour profile, combining pickle juice with hickory barbecue sauce and smoked paprika.
“This is a fantastic way to introduce people who don’t like shooting to shots if they’re scared of drinking neat spirits,” said Thomson.
“It’s also a way to push people’s adventurousness and curiosity a little bit further.
“The interesting thing about a pickleback is that I barely know a person that was keen to try it the first time.
“And then if they were happy to step off that ledge into the great unknown, I barely know a person who hated it.”