Sake comes from Japan, baijiu from China and…vodka from Mongolia? In the U.S., we're only just learning this, but apparently vodka has a long history in the Land of the Blue Skies. New to the U.S. is Soyombo, a grain-based vodka produced on the grounds of the last Mongolian Emperor's Winter Palace in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
According to the publicity materials, Soyombo (named after the first "letter" of a Mongolian written script from the late 1600s) is the number-one selling vodka in Mongolia with distilled spirits dating back in Mongolia to at least the 13th century.
Made using organic wheat from the Selenge Provice on the windswept Mongolian steppes and water from flowing from the Bogd Khan Mountain, the vodka is distilled six times and slow filtered over the course of five days.
On the nose, it is aromatic and sweet, with hints of mint and earth along with the alcohol. On the palate, it is surprisingly round and smooth, even neat and at room temperature. Chilled it's even more smooth with an engaging viscocity. The warmth is pleasant without burning. There are notes of banana, fresh tilled earth, hyssop and butterscotch. This is not your average vodka. While it works nicely with with tonic water or soda, it's got enough body and character (for a vodka) to stand up to more intriguing cocktails (see recipe below). Think ginger, cream liqueurs, amari and coffee. We place this in the category of "vodkas with flavor," such as Tito's, Karlsson and Maui Ocean.
Soyombo Yin Yang
(from Soyombo Vodka)
- 2 oz Soyombo Vodka
- 3 oz Coconut Water
- 3 oz Green Tea with Lemon, chilled
- 6 Mint Leaves
Mint Sprig and Lemon Peel for garnish
In a Highball glass, lightly muddle mint leaves. Add ice, then vodka, coconut water and green tea. Stir lightly (can top with club soda for sparkle). Garnish with an expressed lemon peel and mint sprig.
Soyombo Vodka has an ABV of 40% and an SRP of $30. It's available throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada. Please drink responsibly.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author's own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received a sample of Soyombo vodka for review, which only makes him want to watch "The Story of the Weeping Camel" again. It's been too long.