Some people like to go out and get drunk without ever feeling the burn of the alcohol; a strong drink is just fine as long as it doesn't taste like a strong drink. I can then wholeheartedly recommend that you enter the world of Three Olives Cherry Vodka. The cherry-infused liquor may not be their best, but it does make for a very solid mixed drink.
I wouldn't suggest drinking the 70 proof vodka straight, either neat or on the rocks. If one does they will note the flavor is more of a tart cherry (like a real maraschino) than anything else. The cherry flavor hits almost instantly and slowly dissipates rather than having a strong cherry aftertaste. While the vodka may smell overly sweet upon opening the bottle, it happily is nowhere near as sweet as one might first suspect. Even so, drinking it straight isn't the most enjoyable of experiences. The taste is definitely cherry-like, but the tartness makes it less than enjoyable by itself.
I still can, quite happily, recommend the vodka as one to be mixed in other drinks. At that task it excels. Substituting this vodka in cocktails in which one would normally place an unflavored variety usually has excellent results.
The best of the cocktails I tried with the vodka was a Vodka Cranberry (I like mine with a splash of orange juice). Rather than having the usual sort of vodka cranberry taste, the effect was much more like a fruit punch, akin to – but not wholly like – Minute Maid Fruit Punch.
Another favorite of the people I tried it amongst was a traditional screwdriver. Apparently using the cherry vodka in any drink that contains orange juice is a winner.
The one disappointment I had in the mixed drink category with the vodka was a simple Vodka Tonic. Something slightly sweet may be necessary to counteract the tartness in the liquor itself.
In the end, given the choice, while I enjoy the Three Olives Cherry Flavor vodka, I would still choose Three Olive's Triple Shot Espresso in its stead. It is certainly true that one generally wouldn't use the same mixers with the Cherry one as they would with the Triple Shot Espresso one, but the fact that the Triple Shot Espresso can be used straight or in a cocktail gives it a leg up.
It is also true that James Bond still wouldn't be caught drinking any of these flavors, even if one can make a Cherry-Tini with the cherry vodka.
As a side note, Three Olives is currently running a contest asking drinkers, "What's your O-Face?" The website calls for drinkers to enter by uploading photographs of themselves with "the look of surprise one has after tasting a shockingly delicious Three-O Vodka drink." Submissions are being accepted until May 31, 2009, after which five finalists will be flown to New York for a photo shoot, following which a single winner will receive $10,000 and be featured in an advertising campaign for the drink. One only need visit the Three Olives website to enter.
The website also contains a downloadable PDF featuring cocktails that can be made with a variety of flavored vodka. It's the sort of thing that is terribly useful in the case of the cherry vodka should one decide that alcoholic fruit punch isn't quite their thing.