When we think back on foods that define childhood and have the capacity to bring on a rush of nostalgia, there’s just nothing like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And in the I-never-expected-to-see-that-flavor-of-vodka file, peanut butter and jelly also comes to mind.
And, yet, here we are, February 12th, National PB&J Day (at least according to some sources, others say it’s actually April 2nd, but as there is no actual Congressional mandate, it’s anybody’s guess who’s right or wrong), and I’ve had the pleasure of trying out Van Gogh PB&J Vodka. And, early misgivings aside, it really was a pleasure.
PB&J, the sandwich, wasn’t really a “thing” until the soldiers came back from WWII–it existed, but it wasn’t yet a staple of the American diet. And while these sandwiches appeal to the kid in all of us, I’ve often thought that one of the perks of achieving adulthood was the option to revisit those parts of our childhood we most enjoyed.
But PB&J Vodka? Upon first opening the bottle I noticed a definite aroma of peanuts–good start. The jelly part comes in the form of raspberries, which I was a bit worried about as many raspberry liqueurs can be overpowering and sticky-sweet. Van Gogh’s PB&J Vodka, however, takes a lighter hand with the raspberry flavor, but it’s still the prominent flavor of the two. Rolling the liquor around in the mouth does bring out the peanut butter notes on the back of the tongue and the effect is all-around pleasant.
It’s still vodka, though, and a bit bracing at that! So, we mix it.
Van Gogh was kind enough to send along some recipes for me to share. Here are the two I tried.
Nuts & Berries cocktail
Nuts & Berries
1 Â½ oz of Van Gogh PB&J Vodka
Â¾ oz of Berry Liqueur
Â¾ oz of milk or cream
Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a raspberry.
This was like a light milk-punch and the milk really did bring out a bit more of the peanut butter flavor. Made with milk it’s a bit on the thin side, but if you went with the cream option it might be a bit more satisfying.
Created by Cooking Channelâ€™s Nadia G, Star of â€œNadia Gâ€™s Bitchinâ€™ Kitchenâ€
Â½ oz Van Gogh PB&J Vodka
1 cup of milk
Â½ cup of your favorite vanilla ice cream
1 heaping tbsp. of smooth peanut butter
1 heaping tbsp. of raspberry jam/or fresh strawberries
Blend. Serve in a tall glass with a banana slice or raspberry garnish.
This frappe, on the other hand, I wanted just wallow in. It was so rich and creamy (I’ll thank the Breyer’s Lactose Free Vanilla ice cream for that) and the flavors worked so well together. I had a bag of frozen strawberries in the freezer so grabbed a couple of those for the fruit. Even though the PB&J vodka takes up a very small amount of the total recipe, the rest of the ingredients enhance the vodka’s flavors. On the other hand, this cocktail saves you from the most dangerous part of frozen bevvies: the masking of how much alcohol you’re really consuming!
I would not hesitate to serve these as dessert for an Inner Child party or any other time you’re craving something that combines the best that childhood and adulthood has to offer.
Whether you prefer your PB&J toasted or frappe, enjoy responsibly.
I was provided a sample of Van Gogh PB&J Vodka for purposes of review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.