Edit ModuleShow Tags

Is Absolut Elyx Leading a Vodka Renaissance?

Level2’s Craft at the Cove brings in Lindsay Nader to show what the spirit can do


Lindsay Nader mixes up an Elyx cocktail at Level2. | Photo by Kelly Davis

When Noble Experiment opened six years ago, igniting San Diego’s craft-cocktail scene, the bar pledged never to serve vodka drinks. Vodka didn’t show up in the U.S. until the 1950s, long after the golden age of cocktails, and it’s generally considered not much of a challenge to work with compared to other spirits.

But vodka remains popular. It’s in the omnipresent Moscow Mule, White Russians, Bloody Marys. 

And it’s in a fancy dirty martini on Noble Experiment’s latest menu.

Wait. What?

When I talked to Noble Experiment general manager Adele Stratton last month, she said they’d made an exception for Absolut Elyx vodka (yes, that Absolut). “It was the first vodka we thought had a strong enough base to work in a cocktail,” Stratton told me.

There are plenty of good vodkas out there, but Elyx is something special. The flavors are subtle—there's just a little hint of sweetness. Rather, with Elyx, it’s more about the texture. It’s velvety. Even though I was drinking it chilled, I jotted down the words “warm” and “comfort booze.” It’s the smoothest vodka I’ve tried. And it makes an amazing martini that’ll have gin martini fans rethinking their drink. (If you’re interested in the distilling process, here’s a good description.)

Elyx isn’t brand new—it’s been around for a few years—but it’s just now starting to show up on bar shelves: in San Diego you can find it in cocktails at Noble Experiment, George’s at the Cove, Sycamore Den, Herb & Wood, Miss B’s Coconut Club (a new Mission Beach spot), Bang Bang, Cowboy Star, and Park & Rec. If you’re looking for a bottle, hit up Central Liquor in Coronado.

Elyx also has a charitable component. Absolut’s partnered with the nonprofit Water for People, which provides safe drinking water to impoverished countries. Every bottle of Elyx sold provides a week’s supply of water.

Helping Elyx gain a foothold is brand ambassador Lindsay Nader. Nader could sell ice to Eskimos, but she’s also got solid bartending cred: she’s worked at Noble Experiment and, in 2014, helped open East Village juice bar Juice Saves. Before that, she was at acclaimed spots like L.A.’s Harvard & Stone and New York’s PDT.

This past Monday, Nader was at Level2 at George’s at the Cove, mixing up Elyx cocktails for the La Jolla bar’s monthly Craft at the Cove series. The menu featured five cocktails: a classic martini; the Copper Cup #1 (Nader’s creation made with Elyx, Fino sherry, and raspberry cordial, topped with champagne); the Fluffy Bunny (Elyx, Aperol, Giffard grapefruit liqueur, and whipped OJ); and an Animal Cracker milk punch (Nader’s creation) spiked with Elyx.

Most popular was the Orchard, served in one of Elyx’s copper pineapples and garnished with a dried lemon that Nader perched on a small stick of pear-vanilla incense. Just before serving, she’d light the incense stick and put the top on the pineapple so that the cocktail got a quick infusion from the incense. It was lovely. Grab yourself a copper pineapple (available for purchase on the Elyx website) and some pear incense and try it at home:

Orchard Cocktail | Photo: absolutelyx.com


2 oz. Absolut Elyx
1/2 oz. Calvados
2 1/2 oz. Pear Juice
2 1/2 oz. Lapsang Souchong tea
1oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup

Shake and strain into copper pineapple over cubed ice. Top with crushed ice and garnish with a dried lemon slice.

In between making cocktails, Nader chatted about how she’s won over bartenders wary of vodka or large brands. First comes a blind tasting. “And then they learn Elyx is hand-made, that it comes from one farm and it follows these craft sensibilities that bartenders have kind of been taught to look for—so it makes sense to them.

“Some of the big brands aren’t bad,” she added. “They’re big because they know how to do it right.”

Got suggestions for a future column? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Mother Earth Brew Co. Adds Wine and Food to Its Portfolio

The newly opened Mother’s Provisions brings wine, cheese, and charcuterie to downtown Vista

Where to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Whiskey

Aero Bar’s Sean O’Connell offers his picks, plus our roundup of holiday cocktails

Big Things Are Happening at Prohibition

The speakeasy-style bar launches a supper club, new menu, and a March 13 ‘fire sale’
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle

Buy a Raffle Ticket, Win This Rare Sports Car

Donate to a good cause to seriously upgrade your ride
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. 15 Coolest Jobs in San Diego and How to Get Them
    We asked 15 San Diego professionals with the coolest jobs in town how they landed their gigs—and how we could steal them
  3. First Look: Cloak & Petal
    The owners of Tajima bring Japanese small plates to Little Italy with Cloak & Petal
  4. 31 Best Places to Live in San Diego
    Five local homeowners share their advice, tips, and tricks on how they sealed the deal
  5. Green Rush: Inside San Diego's Emerging Cannabis Industry
    Marijuana's legal. How did it go from evil death drug to medical miracle and billion-dollar industry?
  6. First Look: Bivouac Ciderworks
    A new craft cidery opens in North Park, designed for the outdoors person in all of us
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module