I have a friend, you'll be surprised to hear, who likes a drink.
We'll call him John (since that's his name) and the drink he specifically likes is vodka. After all, it's a great drink, versatile and refreshing, so who wouldn't like it?
However, where we differ is in our approach to flavoured vodkas. He tends to prefer his "Russian wine" to be served on the rocks or perhaps with a splash of fresh orange juice. He can't be doing with fancy-dan inventions like flavoured vodka.
I think it's fantastic, on the other hand. Sure there are some flavours that don't work; it will be a long time before anyone convinces me to try kiwifruit vodka again, for example, but there are some crackers available.
In general, I've found the fruit-flavoured vodkas work best, although 42 Below's manuka honey vodka is a thing of rare beauty.
Part of the attraction for me is that when it comes to unflavoured vodka, the purer it is the less it tastes of anything, so you wind up either drinking straight spirit or drowning it in some sugar-rich mixer.
With flavoured vodkas, you don't need anything other than some soda water to have a lovely refreshing drink, provided the flavouring has been done right in the first place.
And so John and I carry on with our friendly arguments over the merits of flavoured vodka. Mind you, he has been drinking vodka for a few more years than I have, so maybe I'll think like that when I grow up, too.
Absolut Berri Acai, RRP from $37.95. 700ml
A new entrant, flavoured with acai berries, blueberries and pomegranate. Works brilliantly, mouthwateringly more-ish, with a lovely crisp tang on the finish. Fantastic over ice with a splash of soda.
Finlandia Blackcurrant, Finlandia 1L RRP $45.99
Big Ribena-like nose, with a slight touch of liquorice underneath. The blackcurrant flavour is pure and clean, with a strong sweet element. A great all-rounder, equally good in cocktails or on the rocks for a refreshing cleanser.