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Kenny's Wood-Fired Grill Likes its Chilly Vodka, But How Cold Is Too Cold?

Kenny's Wood-Fired Grill customers are vodka drinkers.

They drink vodka shots, vodka martinis and vodka dessert drinks made with butterscotch schnapps. That's why the restaurant has installed two frozen Grey Goose taps, and why there'll be another Grey Goose tap in the bar at Kenny's Italian Kitchen, opening next month.

"It's an eye-catcher," says Eric Callaway, manager of Kenny's Burger Joint, a casual offshoot of the Kenny's concept.

There's one Grey Goose tap at Kenny's Burger Joint and -- like the other taps in the system -- it's always set to 29 degrees, a temperature Callaway describes as "tongue-chilling."

"Even though we shake our martinis, it's nice to keep the vodka cold," Callaway says.

But 29-degrees cold? That's nearly 10 degrees colder than the recommended serving temperature for Coke, a drink that was sold as "ice-cold sunshine" as far back as 1932. Just how cold should vodka go?

Drinkers in Poland, who presumably have had their fill of the cold, commonly drink their vodkas at room temperature. Connoisseurs elsewhere are more accepting of chilled vodka, but warn the cold could stifle the spirit's aromas. Cold disguises the flavor of alcohol, but it also masks complexities that make liquor worth drinking. Many experts believe spirits -- like beer and white wine -- are served too cold; Grey Goose's own head mixologist is among them.

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"I am not a fan of 'frozen' vodka," writes Nick Mautone. "Many people put vodka in the freezer and it gets as low as 30 degrees. I feel that the bitterness of the spirit is highlighted instead of the elegant mouthfeel, buttery texture and citrus notes."

Mautone likes his martinis "very, very cold" which he defines as "around 40 degrees or under once it has been stirred and strained."

Mautone claims the "correct answer is to serve Grey Goose at the temperature you enjoy best," but he acknowledges that's a hedge.

"If I had to give an exact answer," he e-mails, "I would say 40-45 degrees would be just about right!"

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