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Americans are Spending More on Vodka than Ever Before

CHICAGO — Roberto Cavalli, the Italian fashion designer, knows a thing or two about catching someone’s eye, and his new vodka was making an impression on a recent Friday night at the glitzy Y Bar here.

The bottle, which sells for $60 in stores and around $300 in the V.I.P. lounges of clubs like Y Bar, glowed on its own light stand, lending a green hue to its slender shape. April Sargent, a customer, leaned forward from her couch, and ran a finger along the bottle’s embossed serpent coiled around its middle and its silver snakehead spout. “I like it,” she said.

If it sounds a bit like Ms. Sargent, 30, was checking out a fragrance at a cosmetics counter, that is precisely the point. The liquor industry looks a lot like the perfume business these days, with dramatic packaging and rich price tags that often have little direct connection to the liquid inside…

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