Combine that with a decidedly vagabond culture, and it should come as no surprise that from Seattle to Spokane, people are making really, fascinating vodka. So with that in mind, here are some of the most exciting craft sips coming out of the Evergreen State.
Collecting wildflower honey from sources across the state, they first use it to create a high-alcohol mead wine, which they then triple distill and filter to taste. Belle Wood Honey crisp Vodka : As a state that’s known for its vast apple orchards, it should come as no surprise that a few of those delicious harvests might make their way into a distillery.
Double V Distillery Viscous Craft Vodka : Distilled from Washington grown corn & barley, Viscous is boldly clean with a distinctly sweet finish that mixes as well as it stands on its own. Sourcing corn and barely from farmers in Othello and Moses Lake, Washington, all the ingredients and the processes used as certified organic, from harvest to bottling.
The wheat variety is one that excels in the exceptionally rainy climate, and it lends just a whisper of marshmallow and toasted nuts to the finished spirit. Subtle earthy notes and elements of toasted cereal appear as the liquor warms on the palate, making this a great vodka for straight-sipping.
Letterpress Vodka : Made from 100% Washington -grown wheat and barley, Letterpress Vodka is distilled with two goals in mind: to be pure enough to make a great cocktail while showing off the subtle sweetness, vanilla, and spice that are natural parts of our local grains. Washington's state’s spirited landscape is changing rapidly, as both new and well-established distilleries introduce a wide array of intriguing imbibes.
This increased selection goes beyond staples such as vodka, gin and whiskey into a tasty range of fruit and herbal liqueurs as well as interesting international favorites, such as aquavit and shock. And Amy Sheehan, EvenS tar, released late last year, is created using a local barley base and a single distilling before a short stay in recycled oak wine barrels.
Because of this flavor, which has been available since the gin was released in the fall of 2011, use a steady hand when mixing it with ice and a twist of lemon, or into cocktails like the Aviation (gin, maraschino liqueur, crème DE Violetta and lemon juice), which appreciate a more wistful bouquet. But here’s a hint: When sipping it, cardamom mingles with mint and other forest tones, as well as a few brief flowery tinges.
It could substitute for Chartreuse in a Bijou cocktail, but I would suggest first sipping it accompanied by nothing more than a cube of ice, so it can work its enchantment without interference. Sidetrack Blueberry Liqueur$24.95 for 375-ml bottle lush berry taste of Sidetrack blueberry liqueur owes its vivid style to the use of homegrown fresh fruit from Kent’s Lazy River Farm, on which the distillery resides.
This makes the trip from blueberry patch to bottle quite short, and Larry and Linda Person’s dedication to freshness is evident when sipping the liqueur, as the berry taste pops brightly on the tongue, underlined by a mellow spiritless. While it could be mixed carefully into cocktails, such as the Rosalind Russell (aquavit, dry vermouth, a lemon twist), it might be finest when sipped straight as the sun begins to set.
Whether it’s a Douglas Fir-infused gin, a loganberry liqueur or a smoky single malt whiskey, folks in the Northwest are passionate about their hand-crafted libations. Fortunately, we have a large batch of talented distillers in the region who bring their passion and knowledge to the stills.
Inspired by the flavors and versatility of Caribbean spirits, Eastside Distilling creates tasty rums, bourbons, fruit whiskeys and a potato-based vodka. At Rolling River Spirits, distilling is a family affair, and the results are top-notch gin, vodkas and aquavit made with organic grains.
Central Oregon is well-known for its pristine waters, towering ponderosa pines, fragrant sagebrush, snow-covered Cascade Mountain peaks and flourishing craft beverage scene. They create the award-winning Crater Lake Spirits, including gin, rye whiskey and a half-dozen or so smooth sipping vodkas.
About twenty miles north of Bend in Sisters, newcomer Cascade Street Distillery uses local juniper berries, Ponderosa pine pods and desert sage to craft their small-batch gin. Located in a 19th century brick warehouse in the historic town of Snohomish, Skip Rock Distillers craft their creamy, full-flavored vodkas from Skagit Valley Yukon gold potatoes.
Amish Island’s first and only micro-distillery, Golden Distillery, specializes in small-batch, single malt whiskeys and fruit brandies, perfect for sipping. With its green hills and clear lakes in the north to the rugged vistas and vibrant cities in the south, this geologically diverse state is famous for outdoor recreation.
Cardenas Restaurant Distillery, their spirits really shine in their yummy specialty cocktails, which are available at their eateries in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Eagle. For aromatic fruit brandies and potato vodkas made with traditional European methods, head to Koenig Distillery & Winery in Caldwell, about twenty miles east of the Oregon border.
Written by Colleen Graham Mark Loader/Getty Images Vodka is a relative newbie in the American cocktail scene, making its first big appearances in the middle of the last century. Though we were used to liquor and produced a fair share of the world's rums and whiskeys, this clear, tasteless spirit drew us in and its hold has never let go.
Russia, Poland, and other European countries have long been known for their exceptional vodkas, though the United States is quickly gaining ground. This craft market had a slow start, with just a handful of brands making great vodka.
Today there are countless vodkas produced throughout the country, each with their own style and many taking advantages of locally available resources. The Karakasevic family has a long tradition of making fabulous wines and spirits and the quality of their vodkas is unsurpassed.
The distillers take great pride in their craft and use only American corn that is GMO-free in their vodkas. The flavored vodkas are produced only once a year when the fruits have reached their peak and are ready for the natural extraction process that takes months to complete.
Produced by Charbray Winery & Distillery, Napa Valley, California 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof) Retails for around $36/750ml bottle Full flavor line includes: Blood Orange, Green Tea, Meyer Lemon, Pomegranate, Red Raspberry, Ruby Red Grapefruit It revolutionized what I thought organic could be while staying competitive on price with other premium vodkas.
This vodka is distilled from North Dakota rye and boasts a certified organic fermentation process, which is not an easy task. A great vodka that you can feel good about drinking, that is Square One, plain and simple.
Produced by Square One Organic Spirits, Novato, California 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof) Price: $30-35/750 mL bottle Full flavor line includes: Bergamot, Basil, Botanical, Cucumber It requires 10 pounds of raw sweet potatoes to create every bottle of Corbin Vodka and every spud is grown on the family estate.
The Souza's are farmers turned distillers who have created a fantastic farm-to-bottle vodka that is the first of its kind and a genuine experience. Small-batch vodka distilled from sweet potatoes in California's San Joaquin Valley.
Produced by Sweet Potato Spirits Retails for around $38/750 ml bottle 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof) 44 North Vodka is distilled from the famous Burbank and Russet potatoes of its home state of Idaho.
The clear potato vodka from this distillery is a wonder and I have tried the Mountain Huckleberry, which is a unique experience all its own. All the 44 North Vodkas should follow suit in quality and its ability to mix up a fine cocktail.
Produced by 44 North Vodka 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof) Retails for around $32/ 750ml bottle Full vodka line includes: Magic Valley Wheat and the flavors Mountain Huckleberry, Rainier Cherry, Sunny slope Nectarine The price is also reasonable, so feel free to mix this into your favorite vodka drinks.
It utilizes those clean waters from the Snake River Aquifer, and is filtered with Canadian birch charcoal. The price makes it ideal for creating quality vodka cocktails any day of the week.
Produced by Zodiac USA, LLC 40% alcohol/volume (80 proof) Retails for around $25/ 750ml bottle Full flavor line includes: Black Cherry Hailing from the great state of Maine, Cold River is another fine potato vodka.
The locally grown potatoes are distilled three times in small batches using a copper pot still. Each bottle is filled and numbered by hand in true independent distillery style.
The inspiration comes from the founder, Yulia Momontova-Calian's Eastern European roots in vodka making. Anastasia is produced in Oregon from American-grown corn and both the distillation and filtration are run five different times.
The result is an exceptionally smooth sipping vodka that also makes a fine cocktail. Distilled from locally-sourced winter wheat, this Washington State vodka is pure perfection in a glass.
Prairie is a Minnesota-made corn vodka that uses the grains grown by stake-holding farmers working close to the distillery.