Foodable Labs Ranks Top Vodka Brands

Foodable Labs Ranks Top Vodka Brands

Did you know the name "vodka" derives from the Slavic word "voda"— meaning water?

The best selling vodka brand in the U.S. is Tito's Handmade Vodka, which is valued at $2.5 billion based on 2016 sales.

In October, self-made entrepreneur and founder of the brand, Bert "Tito" Beveridge, broke into Forbes’ 400 list of billionaires for the very first time at No. 324.

This inspired our sister data company, Foodable Labs, to further look into the vodka spirit segment to determine the best rated companies overall.

We looked at scores in the following categories: brand, flavor profile, and value. Let’s take a look at some of the top vodka spirits on our list.

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Global Wine Prices May Increase Due to Extreme Weather Occurrences

Global Wine Prices May Increase Due to Extreme Weather Occurrences

minds when it comes to ensuring quality and quantity of their grapes come harvest time. Extreme weather events always take a toll on a vineyard if exposed for too long to extreme temperatures— high or low.

This year’s weather occurrences around the world have been especially rough to the top wine regions causing grapes to either dehydrate, shrivel, become tainted with smoke, ripe ahead of schedule or decrease in quality, not to mention shrink the quantity of grapes worth harvesting.

“In Napa and Sonoma, the excessive heat didn’t affect grapes for sparkling wines or whites harvested earlier in August. But cabernet is in the crosshairs,” reported “Bloomberg.”

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Milk Shortage in Europe Has Long Reaching Consequences

milk

Europe could be on the brink of a shortage of one of its most prized exports— milk.

Yes, that versatile ingredient which is so ubiquitous in domestic and foreign kitchens all over.  It may not seem like it, but this is a BIG DEAL.  

Why, you ask?  

Because we’re not actually talking about just milk here... we’re talking heavy cream, light cream, half and half, condensed milk, evaporated milk, whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, skim milk, butter, etc.  These foundational ingredients are essential to other foundational ingredients like cheese, ghee, cream sauces, roux, pastries, ice cream… you get the point!  

Make no mistake about it, milk is a highly impactful commodity that has long reaching consequences.  I am willing to bet that it is so widely used in your daily diet, that you won’t even realize how much you consume until you notice something “just doesn’t taste right.”

It may already be that you are feeling the pinch in your wallet when grabbing that bar of Kerrygold butter at Whole Foods (or is it Amazon?).  The reality is that milk, cream, and butter prices are already up 20 to 30 percent over the last few months.

Fall is unofficially here. #PSL ✨🍂🎃

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on

Unfortunately, the prices may still climb as the holiday season, one of the most popular times to use these ingredients, approaches. Think of the heartier, richer diets everyone adapts to in the colder months. More cakes, more hot coffee, more hot chocolate, and more pumpkin spice lattes with a twist at your local Starbucks.  

With consumption going up and supply dwindling, this means ‘alternative butters’ (I’m looking at you Fabio), butter from other countries (hello New Zealand), or cutting back on a small yet important part of the holiday season diet.  

With all this doom and gloom, it is a natural first question to ask…how could this even happen? And the truth is, there are a lot of factors contributing to the shortage.

To clarify, when I talk about the European Union (EU), I am referring to the main producers of the highly prized European milk, which are France, Germany and some in the United Kingdom.  

A couple years ago the market actually had more of a supply than it knew what to do with.  Imagine one person trying to drink a gallon sized glass of milk in an hour, what happens is…well, we all know how that story goes! This was the case in 2015, when the co-ops that run the European dairy shares realized that they needed to cut back production in order to stabilize falling prices.  

This kicked off the perfect storm of how we got to where we are now.

Just as production subsided, demand shot up, and not just domestically.  Parisians seemed to be consuming more pastries than ever before, clotted cream was becoming more common in middle class households in London, and Germans were devouring more Butterkuchen than in previous decades.  

The real boost to demand though, actually came from the Chinese.  

Lady Drinking Latte at Chinese Market

The EU’s demand, coupled with a new outlook of the Western diet in the Far East, proved to be an insatiable appetite of dairy products. The first warning was that New Zealand, Russia and Turkey had been supplying the Chinese with their butter needs for a little while and the sheer size of China could not be satisfied by the exports of all three countries.

As demand for quality branded products from the EU grew, so went the reserves of supply without proper replenishment.  Thus, leaving a massive hole to fill in the global trading market of the EU.

The silver lining is that there’s not a crisis quite yet, but there is definitely a storm brewing.  Peder Tuborg, CEO of one of the largest dairy producers in the EU, Arla Foods, has been quoted saying that the largest price hikes have already happened, there may be a few aftershocks, but after the market recovers, prices should go back to where they should be.  

This may still take months, though.

cronut

For all of the pros of globalization, the average consumer will never be able to have their cake and eat it too.  As markets open up to other markets, there will always be friction, there will always be a dip in quality once the production scale increases, and there will always be the ‘hindsight strategist’ saying, “this could have been prevented...” These ups and downs happen because humans are fickle, trends go up and down and policy shapes perspective.  

So, this Christmas, when I am savoring my $15 cronut, Santa may have to wash his vegan chocolate chip cookies down with almond milk.  

Cook with a Local: Four Destinations For Culinary Inspiration

Cook with a Local: Four Destinations For Culinary Inspiration

By Krystal Hauserman, Foodable Contributor

Travel is a surefire way to reignite your passion for food, discover new ingredients and techniques, and find inspiration for new products, menu items and concepts.  Connecting with a local chef and spending a few hours with them perusing a local market -- and if you are lucky, cooking with them in their home or restaurant -- is a great way to dive in to the culture and cuisine of a new place. Below are four local cooks that will inspire you with the classic flavors of lemon and herbs in Tuscany and Provence, fiery chiles in Mexico, and exotic galangal in Indonesia.     

Mexico City, Mexico

Beto and Jorge, Casa Jacaranda

The stunning home of Beto and Jorge in the quaint Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City is ground zero for inspired, “back-to-basics” Mexican cuisine.  Although Beto and Jorge are quick to reject being labeled “chefs,” they are undeniably extremely talented cooks. After an enlivening tour of  Mercado Medellin, with stops to sample specialties like Oaxaca cheese, dried chiles and smoked habanero salsa, Beto and Jorge will guide you on a short walk to their lovingly restored early 19th Century home, Casa Jacaranda (named for the towering Jacaranda tree that delights with beautiful purple blooms in the spring).

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