Clichés and vodkas naturally go together. When I think of vodka I imagine stern Russians, standing in front of snow-capped mountains in a tall furry hats, with the music to The Apprentice serenading them. If you, like me, have always thought of vodka sitting firmly in the Russian domain, you might find this next article interesting.
Surprisingly enough there are plenty of great quality vodkas being produced in America. This could be because the US is one of the largest consumers of vodka, indeed, Smirnoff have actually set up their manufacturing warehouses in America because of that reason.
But we are not talking about the big branded vodkas you are used to seeing on supermarket shelves. We are interested in the smaller distilleries around the US that have made a name for themselves.
Here are our favourites:
We love the history of this distillery as much as we love the vodka. Set at the foot of the infamous Smugglers’ Notch, where many a bootlegger made their way through the rugged Vermont pass, this distillery is a father and son affair founded in 2006. Using the purest waters from Vermont and distilled using grain from Idaho you get the smoothest vodka that finishes with a hint of sweetness on the palate.
- Charbay Vodka – $33.99
Considered to be pioneers in the artisan distillery movement, the founders of Charbay have been named ‘Vodka Visionaries’ and for good reason. This family come from a long line of distillers dating back to the 1750’s and they are now in their 13th generation of producing vodka. All their vodkas are made using corn and rye and filtered just the once for a clean and crisp finish.
This vodka uses grapes and grains which produces a slightly floral note that lingers alongside hints of Asian pears. There are several different varieties of vodkas from the Hangar One brand, including citron, mandarin blossom, lime and Fog’s Point, which captures Californian fog and turns it into water, ready for distilling.
This vodka has its main ingredient at the core of the spirit, namely Colorado spring water owned by the father of one of the founders. This, alongside the three grains gives the vodka a unique crispness and a sweet vanilla that deliver a real punch.
Ballast Point makes several products, including this vodka, named after the deadly puffer fish. It is distilled 15 times using specially created in-house filtration systems, after this is passes through a diamond blending vortex that creates the perfect blending of pure ethanol and reverse osmosis water which delivers a crisp and clean vodka.
Working alongside local farmers has enabled beekeeper and naturist Todd Hardie to establish his distillery on the banks of the Lamoille River in Hardwick, Vermont. He uses their grains and fruits to make handcrafted vodka in small batches using raw honey from his own bees that manages to keep its sweetness and delicate floral flavour throughout the distilling process. This vodka is earthy and subtle yet has depth and packs a real punch.
An award-winning vodka crafted in Ohio that changes the way you feel about the spirit. A unique product that is bright, with crisp aromas and a silky body that clears the palate alongside a hint of vanilla-honey and a delicate spicy finish. Critics say it is ‘impressively flavorful and balanced’.