Occasionally, I like a little bit of spicy heat in my food, but I’ve never been one to like heat in my vodka. I was a little taken aback to see a sizable chili lurking in the depths of this almost tequila-yellow vodka. I can almost see a tint of red in the brew, suggesting that drinking this vodka was going to be an experience.
National Pepparo is quite a shock when taken straight. Like National Citrus, the “flavored” aspect is minimal. That is, there’s only the slight hint of a flavor outside of the vodka, which is good for the same reasons. It’s what comes after the swallow that makes this vodka impressive: heat. My mouth, especially my tongue, and the top part of my throat come alive with the perfect amount of heat. Drinking this vodka is, plain and simple, a fun experience. Be careful, though! I’m sipping more than shooting, and I think a big shot of this might actually hurt. Sipping, though, National Pepparo is great, and I think it’d be especially great if you enjoy spicy food.
The Mixed Drink
We recently made our first bloody mary with National Horseradish (we’re still working on the review at the time this was published). After having read a little bit more about mixing a top-notch bloody mary, I figured Pepparo would make a great addition to a bloody mary. So, I mixed up a horseradish bloody mary and a regular bloody mary. On top of the normal recipe, I added 3 parts Pepparo. In both versions of my bloody mary, the Pepparo adds a nice spicy kick to what is already a drink that is already noticeably spicy (especially in the horseradish bloody mary). If my understanding is correct, this seems to me to be the perfect way to have a bloody mary, and it doesn’t get much better than perfect.
National Pepparo is a good vodka by itself, if you like a bit of spice. Ideally, I’d want to be taking shots of this over a bowl of gumbo and plate of red beans and rice with andouille sausage. In a bloody mary, it’s brilliant. If you’re looking for a little hair of the dog today, it’d be hard to beat a Pepparo bloody mary.
Update: Since I’m not a bloody mary drinker, I had my friend JJ write up his review of National Pepparo and National Horseradish in a bloody mary.