Is Vodka Dead?

Eric Felten, the drinks columnist for the Wall Street Journal, seems to think so. He cites this year’s edition of Food & Wine’s annual cocktail compilation, Cocktails ’09, as proof of vodka’s demotion in the cocktail world.

This year’s book has only ten vodka-based drinks, Felten notes, whereas the 2005 edition had 60. He openly celebrates the decline of all kinds of -tinis in favor of drinks based on gin, brandy, and other intensely flavored spirits.

“As a way to inject unobtrusive alcoholic content into sugary drinks,” he writes of vodka, “the spirit is unsurpassed…But vodka's neutrality and uniformity would seem to be at odds with the slow-food crowd's embrace of robust flavors reflecting specific locales.” Is vodka on its way out? Or is it still a serious contender in the cocktail world?