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Weekend Sip: Watermelon shots, anyone? A new flavored vodka hits the market

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The bottle

Absolut Watermelon, $25

The backstory

Americans kicking off the summer season this holiday weekend will likely be stocking up on all sorts of alcoholic thirst quenchers, from crisp white wines to hoppy beers.

But don’t discount vodka, which remains the best-selling booze category, accounting for 31% of the spirits market, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

And flavored varieties account for a solid chunk of the vodka that’s sold. What once seemed like a fad — we’ve seen everything from a bacon-flavored vodka to a cookie-dough one — has now become almost standard.

The Swedish vodka brand Absolut, part of the Pernod Ricard
PDRDF,
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spirits conglomerate, has long been a leader in flavor innovation, with 20 different current offerings. That includes such recent additions as Absolut Grapefruit and an Absolut Juice lineup that combines vodka and fruit juice.

Now the brand has launched Absolut Watermelon, pointing to a growing demand for all things watermelon, including cocktails. (And let’s not get into the bizarre trend of smoked watermelon, aka watermelon “ham.”)

The brand says it keeps it simple when it comes to flavoring its vodka, with nothing artificial added. (There’s no extra sugar, either.) The result is a watermelon sip “perfect for backyard parties or front-porch chilling alike,” Absolut says.

What we think about it 

The positive aspect of flavored vodkas is that they do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to making cocktails — that is, they automatically bring the flavor to the table.

The negative is that they never quite taste like the actual, well, flavor. Absolut Watermelon comes close to the mark — it has hints of that juicy, summer-y quality we associate with the fruit, though we hesitate to say it’s exactly like a ripe watermelon.

How to enjoy it

Our go-to cocktail with this vodka is an Absolut Watermelon and soda, a solid, two-ingredient summer refresher. Just garnish with a watermelon wedge for an extra boost of fruitiness.

See also: This packaged cocktail aims to mimic the experience at your favorite craft bar

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