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Taking a Shot in the Dark

April 04, 1999|CHRIS RUBIN

"Odorless, colorless and flavorless alcohol" paraphrases the definition of vodka. So what's this black stuff in my martini?

It's Blavod, a new triple-distilled and double-filtered black vodka that gets its color from an infusion of black catechu, a flavorless Burmese herb reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities, which makes for some pretty exotic-looking cocktails.

At Flints, a stylish new supper club in Santa Monica, bartender Matthew Goldberg, a veteran of New York's Asia de Cuba, has put Blavod to use in a variety of libations both classic and new. The Full Moon Martini features a glass of the dark liquor splashed with Vermouth and a pearl onion jutting out on a toothpick. The garnish looks like a full moon hovering over a black sea. And the Moonglow, essentially a Cape Cod, floats Blavod over cranberry juice and soda, creating a two-layered, mild-flavored cocktail that seems to glow from within. The Bumblebee is a martini with a large lemon curl, a Black Eye is a straight shot, and Black Ice is simply Blavod on the rocks.

"It's the next step in vodka," Goldberg says. "It's really different, mild and clean." He ranks it with Ketel One and Stoli, but below his favorite super-premiums, Belvedere, Chopin and Sundsvall (a new Swedish super-premium vodka made from a blend of wheat and barley). For Flints owner Dodd Harris, Blavod is a natural in the City of Angels.

"People wear black in this town--it's the color they use to project their power. Consequently, the black vodka fits their needs."

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