42 Below isn’t a newcomer to the scene, we’ve seen it at the clubs and the bars and we know it’s got a bunch of fruit variations, but I doubt many have actually tasted it. We tend to stick to what we know when we’re out, or as a mixer – but since tasting this vodka hailing from
Middle-Earth New Zealand, I’d definitely say you should try anything at least once, and urge anyone to break out of their comfort zone for this one.
42 Below was conceived by a fun loving bunch down in New Zealand out of a garage (if their website is to be believed at least) – the name 42 Below specifically refers to the latitude which runs directly center of their country. The vodka shares more with it’s cousins from Scandinavia than it does with those from Russia or Poland, distilled and filtered throughout for purity, rather than for flavor. It’s a wheat based vodka, distilled twice initially and then “washed” with spring water, and then finally distilled a third time through charcoal to remove the last of the impurities. The water used to dilute it to a drinkable state is what really sets this one apart. Sourced from beneath the volcanic plateau in the centre of New Zealand’s northern island, The spring water is graded ‘Aa’ by W.H.O., making it one of the absolute purest sources of water on the planet.
All together it makes for quite an experience. Here’s our review.
42 Below comes in a standard clear bottle, with it’s logo displayed prominently in light grey, along with the other particulars. It’s a clean design, and the overall whiteness of the entire bottle does exclude a sense of purity and cold. It’s not the most creative thing in the world, but it gets the job done.
The first couple times you sip the vodka you start to feel that there’s a bit of a rustic background to it. Maybe that whole story about the garage distillery is true after all. There are notes of citruses, with a bit of a nuttiness mixed with a barely noticeable metallic taste in the finish. The burn is very mild, and reveals itself slowly on the tongue. It’s a great sipping vodka, and one that doesn’t require a chaser.
As it is straight, 42 Below works well as a mixing vodka. Even at rather strong 50/50 mixes, the vodka isn’t harsh at all, and you could chug it down if really needed. We find it works particularly well with fruit based cocktails, such as Cosmopolitans or Black Cats. The slight bitterness on the end of the vodka provides a great contrast with the general sweetness of the fruit mixers.
42 Below is a great vodka all around and one we definitely readily recommend for any particular occasion. It’s reasonably priced too, so if your looking for something a little different or something to spike the punch with, this is a great choice.