Brooklyn-Themed Vodka Does Flavored Right

Absolut Brooklyn: A Spike Lee Collaboration

Absolut Brooklyn: A Spike Lee Collaboration

I Paid: $23.79 for a 1-liter bottle (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

After popping a bottle of Absolut Brooklyn open for out-of-town guests, it was a struggle getting the damn thing closed again. There was a constant stream of requests for refills on Brooklyn tonics, which combine the crisp experience of sipping tonic and ice with the kick of this limited-edition vodka flavored with apple and ginger.

If it's trying to evoke filmmaker Spike Lee, Absolut Brooklyn gets it about half right: urbane and engaging, yes, but caustic and challenging, no. This Brooklyn has no real rough edges to it—the ginger is present, particularly as an aftertaste, but it is relatively mild, and the apple is neither oversweet nor artificial-tasting. Working with the ginger-apple flavor toolbox, this is a vodka that could easily have gone off the rails and turned into a ready-for-12th-grade sugar and candy fest—but it didn't.

Like the equally superb Absolut Boston (black tea and elderflower), Absolut Brooklyn is a showpiece for what flavored vodkas can be when they're formulated with discretion and thoughtfulness. Drinkable neat, Brooklyn is a lot of fun to mix with and should play well with a whole host of mixers and spirits. Beyond that, the bottle looks like a million bucks, Brooklyn style—i.e., a humble but tastefully welcoming brownstone. Overall, this is a borough worth sampling before it's gone. (That said, it would be fun to see what they would come up with for Absolut Staten Island …)

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.