Tried and tested: Here’s our verdict on L’ORBE – the world’s first caviar infused vodka

  • Thu,14 Mar 2019 04:23:18 AM

Vodka and caviar are inextricably linked. They’re the yin and yang of a foodie’s high life. Nothing beats the sensation of chasing down those tiny black salty pearls with the smooth, palate cleansing freshness of an expensive vodka.

But wait for it. What happens when this dazzling duo become one? The finest spirit infused with the rarest of delicacies?

L'Orbe with L'Orbe Gourmet House Caviar (L'Orbe/PA)
L’ORBE with L’ORBE Gourmet House Caviar (L’ORBE/PA)

To find out for myself, I hotfooted it down to chef Jackson Boxer’s new restaurant, Orasay in Notting Hill, London, to see what was on the plate, but most importantly, in my glass.

In celebration of this ‘new and rare’ elixir, Boxer (cited as London’s hottest chef and brains behind St Leonards, Shoreditch) created a seafood menu  to complement L’ORBE vodka x caviar, served in a variety of ways…

Orasay private dinner menu (SWH/PA)
Orasay private dinner menu (SWH/PA)

So what is it?

A premium Swedish vodka infused with sturgeon caviar from south-west France. The treated caviar pearls are held in a delicate tube down the middle of a glass bottle, which has tiny holes in it, allowing the caviar flavour to infuse into the vodka over time – and maximise the individual characters of both ingredients.

 
 
 
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Taste sensation… luxe L’ORBE caviar infused vodka cocktail premiere @orasay.london @jackson_boxer @lorbe_official @perrierjouet

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What does the vodka taste like?

Impressively smooth with soft, creamy buttery notes, a definite salty tang and a sense of sea spray on the finish.

What’s it like in cocktails?

L'Orbe 75 cocktails
L’ORBE 75 cocktail (SWH/PA)

We had a choice of two: L’ORBE 75, a twist on a French 75 with vodka replacing gin, topped with fresh lemon juice and Perrier-Jouet champagne. It tasted deliciously lemony and savoury, with a zesty, refreshing tang on the tail.

The second was a Ginger Switchel, with L’ORBE served over a cube of ice with a slice of ginger. Again, very fresh with an enticing salty note.

What does it go with?

L'Orbe Gourmet House Caviar with smoked sturgeon (SWH/PA)
L’ORBE Gourmet House Caviar with smoked sturgeon (SWH/PA)

First and foremost, caviar! It tasted terrific with L’ORBE’s House Caviar served with smoked sturgeon and sorrel, and really complemented the tangy beetroot.

Grilled scallops (SWH/PA)
Grilled scallops (SWH/PA)

The vodka also paired beautifully with grilled scallops. The flavours of the soft, fleshy seafood were heightened by the vodka, but it didn’t overpower the dish.

What else did we taste it with?

Beef & Tuna Tartare (SWH/PA)
Beef and tuna tartare (SWH/PA)

When it came to the beef and tuna tartare, I have to confess I tried the vodka but gave my allegiance to a glass of pinot noir, which seemed to work better with red meat – even though the tartare was artfully and generously crowned with caviar.

Our verdict: This is an enticing, refreshingly different vodka with a very refined taste of caviar that doesn’t really need dressing up in cocktails.

Ginger Switchel (SWH/PA)
Ginger Switchel (SWH/PA)

But if you do, it will bring a savoury twist to a vodka martini. Otherwise, L’ORBE can be topped with soda, but never tonic, which will kill the flavour.

During dessert, a fellow taster said: “I can’t taste the salty element so much and think it might work surprisingly well with naturally sweet, creamy flavours, such as white chocolate or banana.”

Need to know: This was a preview for L’ORBE and the spirit will officially launch in the summer with a new look bottle. Once opened, it should be enjoyed within six months.

L’ORBE Caviar Infused Vodka is priced at £49.50 (20cl), available now from Soho Wine.

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