Before my exhilarating ride in the Hangar One Blimp, I had the opportunity to sample all seven flavors first-hand. I can vouch that each flavor is extremely smooth and easy on the taste buds, which is good news for those of you who experience a gag reflex from certain other flavored vodkas. The Spiced Pear and Chipotle are unique because those flavors are trademark to Hangar One. I gravitated towards Chipotle, which is distilled from actual chipotle peppers. Spiced Pear was also delicious, and would be excellent in a Christmastime cocktail.
Tampa's highlight of the Hangar One Blimp Tour was the bartender contest, held at Downtown Tampa's Fly Bar and Restaurant
. Several local bartenders competed to determine who could create the best original cocktail, with Hangar One vodka being the star player.
Each bartender chose the vodka flavor(s) of their choice, and mixed up their creations live for the camera. The contestants were Bob Wagner (Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club), Daniel Guess (Fly Bar), Dean Hurst (SideBern's Restaurant), Ryan Pines (Bernini of Ybor), Kamran Mir (Czar), Lisa Hare (Fly Bar) and Geoff Crain (Fly Bar). Each bartenders' video is featured on Hangar One's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/hangaronevodka). The contest winner is determined by the number of 'Facebook Likes', so check out the videos and cast your vote today!
Fly Bar is the largest Hangar One vodka carrier in Tampa Bay, so it was an appropriate setting for the bartender contest. It is one of the classier cocktail bars (as well as a restaurant) in Tampa, featuring a selection of high-end liquors and handcrafted drinks. The paintings on their walls are creations of Tampa Bay area artist Sean Spoto, which adds an element of local charm.
Hangar One Vodka is available at most local liquor stores and served at select area bars. For further information on Hangar One, drink recipes and to find locations nearest you, visit www.hangarone.com.
Hangar One Bloody Mary
If you do not have all of these ingredients on hand, this drink is delicious with just Chipotle vodka and tomato juice — a simplified Bloody Mary, if you will.
1 1/2 ounces Hangar One Chipotle vodka
3 ounces tomato juice
4 1/4-inch slices of cucumber
3 fresh basil leaves
Dash lemon juice
Dash lime juice
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Pinch of salt
Black pepper to taste
Muddle cucumber, basil leaves, lemon juice and lime juice to a pulp in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice, and shake. Strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with a leafy celery stalk.