Surely anything called Vampyre Vodka can’t be very good, right? Anything that preys on a pop culture joke like the undead, I mean, can’t be a serious spirit, can it? Vampyre Vodka even comes in a blood red edition — and if you need me to explain the gag to you, you are reading the wrong blog — it’s gotta be a big gimmick, doesn’t it?
Not so fast, Lestat. I put both versions of Vampyre to the test (hey, it is almost Halloween) and was frankly shocked by the quality of the spirits. Both vodkas are 80 proof, triple-distilled in England (from what I’m still checking — UPDATE: It’s wheat), and really quite smooth. With the so-called Vampyre Clear, there’s a hint of almond and medicinal fragrance at first, then a little kick of sweetness, then a very smooth finish. Amazing to sip, and it works well in all manner of cocktails.
Vampyre Red is really just a blood red version of the original. The taste is nearly identical, with just perhaps with a touch more sweetness in the red version, likely a by-product of all the artificial coloring used to make it so crimson. I even tried them blind to see if I could tell them apart: I could (at least, I guessed right), but again the difference was barely perceptible until you open your eyes. Note however that the red can be a real mess. Be careful if you’re mixing with it, because it will stain anything you get it on. Just like actual blood, I suppose.
Gimmick or no, these are both quite good spirits in their own rights. Plus, it should go without saying, Vampyre Red is a perfect mixer for your Halloween cocktailing needs.
P.S. Note that you’ll often find Vampyre Vodka listed as Vampire Vodka online — even on the company’s own website (though Vampire (with an I) is also the name of the parent company, confusing matters greatly). Either way you see it, you’re getting the same product.
Both: A- / $23 / vampirevodka.com