March 2012

Afternoon Delight

by Lana Bortolot / photos by Doug Young
Claire Smith, Head of Spirit Creation & Mixology for Belvedere Vodka, at the Lemon Tea tasting event at The Crosby Steet Hotel in NYC.

It’s summer and you need a new adult thirst quencher. Last year’s Mojito just isn’t going to cut the ice. Enter Belvedere Vodka’s new maceration, Belvedere Lemon Tea. There’s only one question: Is it a new way to drink lemonade or iced tea?

Both, says Belvedere President Charles Gibb, depending on what’s your pleasure. “It’s a classic summer drink modeled after the Arnold Palmer (half lemonade and half iced tea), and we think it will become an afternoon delight during the summer season,” he says.

With its deep experience in natural macerations—Lemon Tea joins a portfolio four other fruit infusions, plus the Bloody Mary–dedicated vodka introduced last year—it was only a matter of time that Belvedere took on the classic concoction.

“I think people have tried things with tea in the past, but other tea-infused vodkas tend to be sweeter and don’t have our proprietary fusion process.” Gibb notes. The infusion uses eight ingredients, including black and green teas, ginger, chamomile, lemongrass, honey and lemon.

Claire Smith, longtime Head of Spirit Creation & Mixology for Belvedere, an ex-pat Brit who knows a thing or two about tea, introduced the spirit at a trade event in New York City last fall. It’s been under wraps until the March 1 launch. Smith says the vodka is not only a new take on an established classic, but also “enables bartenders to get creative, and also provides an excellent base for long drinks and pitcher recipes, which makes it the perfect vodka for enjoying at home.”

Gibb says it’s very much an occasion-defined drink that hits a “needs statement’” of refreshment. “We wanted to go for the afternoon occasion when people are coming off the beach or in from sailing and they don’t want a Martini yet. So we were looking for something that embodied that—summer in a bottle,” he says.

“Would I see this in a nightclub? Absolutely no way, ever. At brunch? Difficult. In the afternoon chilling by the pool or after the golf game? Everyone. It’s the occasion we’re targeting much more than a specific consumer profile. It’s a true-multi-generational drink for a number of different occasions—all happening around two to six in the afternoon.”

Along with its well-developed personality, the vodka will enjoy smart marketing from Belvedere. The brand will be supported by consumer and trade activations and viral marketing to Belvedere’s nearly 817,000 Facebook fans and 10,000 Twitter followers.

The spirit is the first super premium, tea-inspired vodka using 100 percent natural and fresh ingredients. SRP $29.99.

Belvedere Lemon Tea Classic Half & Half Punch

◗    1.5 liters (50 oz.) Belvedere Lemon Tea
◗    20 oz. lemonade
◗    20 oz. pre-made iced tea
◗    10 oz. simple syrup
◗    15 oz. lemon juice
◗    Zests of 2 lemons

◗    Add all ingredients and chill. Decant into small tea pots and serve over cubed ice into traditional tea cups or glasses. Garnish with lemon slices and mint.

Belvedere Lemon Tea used in a Classic Half & Half Punch, served in a teacup.

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