Review: Three Olives Tomato Vodka

In theory a tomato infused vodka makes perfect sense.  For months I have had various infusions in my freezer to hammer down that perfect Bloody Mary drink sensation.  These infusion experiments have worked out rather well with peppercorns, fresh garlic, jalapeño pepper and various other spices.  But clearly it would always be nice to be able to grab a readymade vodka infusion off the liquor store shelf rather than make my own.

When word came around that Three Olives had Tomato Vodka on the way, my liquor friends in the business and I were already throwing around ideas of what would be great in it…fresh fennel, coriander seed and pink sea salt maybe.  It would possibly be great in a straight up dirty martini.  Then there is the thought of a drop of Absinthe in a tomato cocktail or Chartreuse.  Pimm’s might even be great.  What about fresh chive as a garnish?  How about fresh thyme or even dill?  The possibilities could be endless.

The Three Olives website touts:

“Mary, Mary, Mary.  The greatest drink in the world?  The “Bloody Mary” – no one knows who thought of the name but who cares?  All we know is we just love the taste of fresh tomatoes, pepper, horseradish and spices infused into Three Olives Vodka to create our very own essence of “Bloody Mary.”  Drink on the rocks, as a shot or in your favorite martini.”

Tomato Vodka Straight Up - photo copyright Cheri LoughlinAs a shot this super premium vodka is all tomato.  This is a not a roll around on the tongue to savor the flavor type of vodka.  The typical vodka drinker will not want to savor the taste, texture and feel of the Three Olives Tomato Vodka unless of course they are a huge tomato fan.  While it definitely has the aroma and essence of tomato, it lacked a certain depth in my opinion.  Possibly I would refer to it as thin, because the tomato lacked proper support from the other infused flavors.  The pepper, horseradish and spices that are infused in with the tomato vodka are nearly indistinguishable.

Recipes for this vodka were not the inventive, distinctive cocktails my fellow enthusiasts and I were hoping for.  There were of course the traditional Bloody Mary types and two others that were a bit odd to say the least.  The recipes seemed to be lacking in distinctiveness and zest.

Bloody Martini

Bloody Martini photo copyright Cheri Loughlin2 measures Three Olives Tomato Vodka

3-4 drops Hot Sauce

Dash of Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass with creole spice rim.  Garnish with grape tomatoes and mozzarella ball (speared).  Chili pepper flakes optional.

The Bloody Martini fell flat. If it were not for the Stirrings Bloody Mary Rimmer this cocktail would have no flavor at all.  The cocktail is bland.  It calls for a “dash” of spicy Bloody Mary Mix.  This is a difficult measurement for the average bartender, let alone a home bartender looking up the recipe online.  Does one know what a “dash” of this or that is?  Doubtful.  Typically there are 36 dashes in an ounce.  A dash is a general term for minuscule quantities.  A person is seasoning to taste.  I put more hot sauce than the 3-4 drops and an entire half ounce (approx. 18 dashes) of spicy Bloody Mary mix into the Bloody Martini.  Neither helped add enough flavor to this cocktail.  However, Three Olives stepped up their game with a highly inventive garnish.  Too many times cocktails rely on the tried and true lime wheel, olive, or in the case of the Bloody Mary; a celery stalk for garnish.  The Bloody Martini has a clever, out of the ordinary speared grape tomato and mozzarella ball garnish.  The garnish is what makes this cocktail memorable.

Diablo Rojo

Diablo Rojo photo copyright Cheri Loughlin2 measures Tomato Vodka

Top with Bloody Mary Mix

Add a Few Dashes of Hot Sauce and Sliced Jalapeños

Mix in a glass filled with ice and garnish with speared peppers.

The Diablo Rojo appears to be Three Olives version of the classic Bloody Mary. Going heavy on the dashes of hot sauce in this cocktail did not do enough to give this drink enough flavor. Any number of spices needed for a Bloody Mary may be found in the refrigerator or spice cabinet.  Instead of relying on a Bloody Mary mix keep Clamato or Tomato juice handy.  Then a few items from your pantry and a fresh lime for added flavor are all you need to mix your own Bloody Mary. 

Morning Sunshine

Morning Sunshine photo copyright Cheri Loughlin1-1/4 measure Tomato Vodka

1/4 measure Basil Infused Syrup

1/2 measure Orange Juice

Shake over ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with cherry tomato, orange wedge flag and sprig of basil.

Morning Sunshine calls for specialty syrup.  The first scent of Morning Sunshine is the overwhelming tomato.  But then the sweet hits you in the taste.  The cocktail is not too sweet; however the taste is rather odd.  It is not the basil syrup by itself or the orange juice by itself or even the Tomato Vodka alone.  It is the combination as a whole.  They do not seem to mingle as one.  Again, Three Olives came through with a unique and interesting garnish.  Morning Sunshine uses a cherry tomato, orange wedge flag garnish with sprig of basil.  This garnish is a nice diversion from the ordinary.

Tomajito

Tomajito photo copyright Cheri LoughlinMuddle 2 lime wedges, cherry tomato and basil infused syrup

Add 2 measures Tomato Vodka

Shake over ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Top with soda.  Garnish with a lime and cherry tomato flag.

There are a lot of varieties of Mojitos on the cocktail scene.  Honestly, I never thought I would see a Tomajito.  If you are a tomato lover, you will definitely love this one.  I think.  There is a lot of soda taste, not too sweet and most unquestionably the tomato is there.  I for one cannot get past the tomato flavor.  This garnish too added personality and color to this cocktail with the vibrant green lime and cherry tomato flag. 

Three Olives Tomato Vodka in my opinion may not be a shot or on the rocks type vodka, but it has tremendous potential for a Bloody Mary.  After all, vodka and tomato are two important ingredients in a Bloody Mary cocktail are they not?  But, find a Bloody Mary recipe that suits your palate.  Give Three Olives Tomato Vodka a try.  Neither my review nor anyone else’s review can taste it for you.  Only you can do that for yourself.  If you are a serious Bloody Mary drinker, Three Olives Tomato Vodka is definitely one you should sample.

Cheri Loughlin is a leading cocktail and photography resource for beverage companies, event planners, businesses and individuals. High resolution cocktail and beverage stock photography images are available in downloadable digital format in the newly redesigned Stock Photography Gallery at www.cheriloughlin.com.

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