I remember back in the days when I just started at college, I used to enjoy vodka. It was the in thing and I never really knew (nor cared) about the other types of liquor. It was vodka or nothing. And since it was the one spirit my peers were consuming, I was undeniably influenced by the people around me at that time.
Being students on a budget, we found a way to make it last. All we needed was to contribute money to get two bottles of vodka and some cranberry juice. That was all we needed. Now when I reflect back to those days there is really nothing I enjoyed in vodka- it was just a matter of enjoyment and getting intoxicated.
You see with vodka, I couldn’t drink it raw or have it on the rocks; it was a very strong spirit for me. It soon became too expensive because the cranberry juice just kept getting pricier and we all knew to never have vodka neat. We didn't have problems that would warrant us to do that. We still wanted to live, thank you very much!
Weirdly enough, vodka reminds me of “high school, bad decisions, and sadness”. Many of my friends, especially girls, started saying vodka just does not do it for them anymore and I agreed. And so started the search of something more mature and refined that we would all enjoy and feel like a grown up when drinking it.
It was trial and error, really. We started with wine and while there we enjoyed it, they just weren't going to replace vodka in our life. It was only when we had our taste of whisky that we found our spirit of choice. If I have to take a shot of something, it’s definitely going to be whisky because it tastes good on its own.
I have since grown in my taste for fine liqour and have been exposed to other spirits like gin, which while I don't enjoy as much as I enjoy whisky, is still more palateable than vodka.
It's so interesting how even more people are now drinking gin than before. What was once the drink of choice for the older generation, now sees more millennials enjoying gin. The youth are such huge fans of gin, that they share recipes on social media and even have highly emotional arguments on which gin brand is the best.
Thanks to the popularity of gin, we have seen more South African brands also crop up in their numbers, with more locals enjoying what their compatriots have produced.
When I told my friends who have more experience with liqour types and who also enjoy vodka, that I’m never having vodka again, they told me there are good and bad vodkas- it wasll about what you have exposed yourself to. While that may be true, it's rare for me to see young people ordering vodka when I'm out at restaurants, bars and the club. It's only whisky and gin.