In the process of researching Dixie Black Pepper Vodka for this review, the term non-GMO appeared. I try to keep up with food terms and what they mean, but there are so many out there that it gets confusing. So let’s talk about GMO and what it means.
Dixie Black Pepper Vodka provided by brand representatives. All photos, comments and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.
Genetically modified organism (GMO) is the term used when the genetic makeup of a plant or animal has been artificially modified. The genes from DNA are spliced and then artificially meshed with the DNA of an unrelated plant. Plants or crops are often genetically modified to introduce a new characteristic to the plant that otherwise would not occur naturally. In some cases this makes the plant or crop more resistant to disease, gives it longer shelf life due to delayed ripening, or increases nutrient value.
Opinions are split regarding the safety of genetically modified food. Scientific evidence backs up the idea that GM food is safe, but each new genetically modified food must be thoroughly tested before it is introduced to the market. Opponents to this working theory say that long-term health risks have not been sufficiently studied. Some countries have banned GM food, while others allow them under specific guidelines.
In the United States, three government organizations (FDA, USDA and EPA) oversee the GMO process from chemical compounds within the seeds to field testing and monitoring crops to ensure environmental safety.
The debate of GM crops is a heated one steeped in controversy. To learn more about the pros and cons of genetically modified food, read the science behind the process. No matter which side of the debate you identify with, non-genetically modified products will keep you from guessing which side is right.
So let’s talk about non-GMO Dixie Black Pepper Vodka.
Dixie Black Pepper Vodka Review
80 proof / 40% alcohol by volume
$20 suggested retail price
Dixie is made from non-GMO American corn. It is naturally gluten-free. Take a look at their other flavors here. Get social by following @dixievodka and #dixievodka on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
First Impressions: At first glance the bottle is a bit ordinary. But don’t just glance. It has these beautiful indentions all around the curve of the bottle at the base of the neck. Small details like that stand out to me. The lid is wooden with synthetic cork. The black and white label has an appropriate southern feel to it. Turn the bottle around and you will find a photo on the back of the front label. It depicts the S.S. Southern Spirit with what appears to be people spanning from modern time to time past.
Aroma: There is a lot of raw alcohol smell on the nose with the first whiff. A tiny bit of sweetness appears with faint drying pepper. This is black pepper vodka, but it smells a bit like white pepper to me.
Tasted Neat: Oh, the burn! Not only is there burn from the alcohol itself, but the black pepper flavor is hot, hot, hot! The heat is similar to that of jalapeno pepper. It is intense, but the heat fades with time.
Tasted with Ice: There is definitely less burn and it feels a bit smoother, but seriously this packs a heated punch on the palate. A tiny bit of sweetness wafts over the tongue right before the black pepper settles in with boldness. It has good mouthfeel, but lacks full, rounded body. It is straight forward heat that kind of mimics Red Hots or Hot Tamales candies without the sweetness.
Overall Impressions: I am sure there are some who would sip this on the rocks, but I do not have that kind of strength. I highly suggest using this to make cocktails rather than as a stand-alone vodka. Bloody Mary comes to mind first, but something with chocolate, mango, pineapple or watermelon might be nice, too.
Bloody Hot Mary Cocktail
Bloody Mary is an obvious choice for this flavor. I chose to garnish this with pimento stuffed green olives, but garlic stuffed green olives would probably be even better. You can really garnish with anything you prefer like traditional celery, pickled okra, fresh mozzarella, or go wild with the works.
Bloody Hot Mary – recipe by Cheri Loughlin
1-1/2 ounce Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
4 ounces Clamato Juice
1/4 ounce Lime Juice
1 teaspoon Green Olive Brine
Dash Tabasco Chipotle
Pinch of each: onion powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, celery salt, table salt
Place liquids into a cocktail shaker. Sprinkle seasoning over the top and fill with ice. Shake to blend. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with olives.
Dixie Vodka shared the Crawdaddy Pincher shot with me. It would be great for tailgating or as a small brunch sip. Combine 2 ounces pepper vodka with 4 ounces Clamato juice, 4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce, and 1 dash Sriracha Sauce. Shake it up with ice and strain into salt rimmed shot glasses with a little lemon and crawfish tail.
Chocolate Pepper Martini
While a Bloody Mary was one of the first drinks that came to mind for this vodka, so did something with chocolate. The Chocolate Pepper Martini is sweetened with chocolate and coffee notes. The black pepper vodka is still apparent, but toned down. This recipe calls for half & half, but substitute that for heavy cream if you like your martini a little thicker.
Chocolate Pepper Martini – recipe by Cheri Loughlin
1 ounce Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
1 ounce DeKuyper Dark Crème de Cacoa
1/2 ounce Baileys Espresso Crème
1 ounce Half & Half
Place all liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle a few cacao nibs on top.
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Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind www.intoxicologist.net. Email Cheri with comments and questions at str8upcocktails at gmail.com.