It has been clear for the past several years that Absolut Elyx is not just a premium bottling but also a Brand, with its own color scheme, an online “boutique,” and lots of attendant gear. The spirit itself, a “Single Estate Copper Crafted Luxury Vodka,” is made from winter wheat grown in southern Sweden, distilled in a vintage column still from the 1920s. That’s where the rose-gold hue comes from.
And overall, the Elyx creative team has done one heck of a job. This is vodka-as-influencer, rising above the fog of the internet with some over-the-top swag.
I do believe, however, they have at times gone too far. I like, for instance, the classic mule mugs, and the copper unicorn cup, but I do not like the squirrel. There is disagreement in my home about what they are calling the Beelzebub Cup, a limited-edition collaboration “with world-renowned fashion activist B. Åkerlund… a Swedish born stylist, costume designer and artist.” They look like scary cats to me and I do not want them near my mouth.
But here’s the really good news. Absolute Elyx is a beautifully balanced spirit, a worthwhile addition to your home bar. On the nose come hints of yeast; on the palate, there’s a very pleasant vanillin creaminess. The spirit presents, for me, as just a touch sweet, a sensation quickly offset by the 42.3 percent ABV. There’s a boozy zing at the end that one really requires of vodka. Since I first tried it way back in the spring, it has had a welcome place in my freezer. I quite like it in a martini, but it has a bit of body to it that makes it a terrific mixer.
There’s an irony here, for those of us who have been around long enough; through the 80s, at least, Absolut already WAS the good stuff. Launched in 1979, the Swedish newcomer (so says the FAQ section of its website) “disrupted the vodka market.” It was classy. You could have it as a chilled shot without watery eyes. They made beautiful advertising that people actually collect: Who doesn’t recognize the all-caps, blue sans serif logo, even from afar? The stuff practically created the premium vodka category.
Still, this upgrade on what we always thought was pretty decent in the first place is welcome, and worth the $36 or so you can expect to spend. It possesses what I really look for in a vodka, which is not flavorlessness but subtlety—hard to achieve in any arena.
This time of year, even in this weird year, I have some weird ingredients sitting around. So this weekend, I’m putting them to work in a cocktail recommended by The Brand itself. It’s seasonal and well worth the effort. Skål!
3 parts Absolut Elyx
1 part Hazelnut Liqueur (in my house that has always meant Frangelico, but there are others)
1 part Lime Juice
2 part Coconut Cream
4 parts Ginger Beer
Toasted Coconut Flakes
Add first 4 ingredients to a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain over cracked ice into a Copper Mule Cup; top with ginger beer and give a slight stir, then garnish with toasted coconut flakes.