reyka.jpgIt's Memorial Day and if you are are like us, your drink of choice is a little closer than usual this Monday afteroon. Seriously, Tuesday is eons from now. Our choice, vodka, has its usual detractors, including a cocktail connoisseur in New York magazine who recently called it "the grilled chicken breast" of liquors. But we like the versatility -- how else are we making our Bloody Marys? Not with Hendrick's, let us just say -- and being Eastern European, vodka is known to course through our veins anyway.

The newest vodkas to catch our eyes are night and day to our palate. The first, in the pleasingly hefty bottle pictured is Iceland's first and only vodka. We get the sense that Iceland, with it's capital's reputation as one of Europe's coolest party destinations, waited til they really had something to be proud of before it showed anyone. Reyka is the vodka that makes amazing martinis and awesome spicy Bloody Marys but is perfect straight, so smooth you can say your home is top-shelf only. This is the vodka that, in discussing, it becomes necessary to mention the distillation process (involving lava rock basketsand testing by master distillers) like anyone with a cask-aging fixation. We hasten to think of this as the chicken breast Jean-Georges might serve.

Less thrilling (especially the morning after) was our introduction to PINK vodka. The speciality liquor is laden with Guarana and caffeine, a tall bottle of what, to us, smacked of high-end Sparks, which we need like a high-end hole in the head. With Sparks, or its open-bar twin, Red Bull-and-vodka, the caffeine makes the alcohol hit your blood stream faster and get you drunker quicker (which works well for the proprietors offering only an hour of gratis alcohol and looking for good drunken party shots). PINK vodka has the same effect, we learned this week, only instead of the instant -- and disgusting -- aftertaste Sparks and Red Bull give the drinker, PINK gives you an instant "aftereffect" as our friend dubbed it. And one of the effects had another friend leaving so drunk and with such a headache she didn't know which was worse. Mixing something so surprisingly wrong with fresh tomato juice, horseradish, Worchestershire sauce, pepper and our daily serving of vegtables would just be offending the vegtables.

Reyka vodka and PINK vodka are available at fine liquor stores now.