Although considered a bit of a black sheep in the craft cocktail world, Vodka happens to have several redeeming qualities, at least if you ask me. Besides the conveniently low calorie content, Vodka has a mellow flavor profile and is therefore an ideal neutral base for at home cocktails. Notice I did not say odorless or flavorless. In my opinion, any Vodka worth drinking should have both a subtle aroma and a nuanced flavor profile when tasted straight. Here are five of my craft Vodka favorites that fit that bill.
- Silver Tree Vodka | Leopold Bros. Distillery | Denver, CO
Arguably one of – if not THE – finest American-made vodkas actually being made from scratch these days. Head Distiller Todd Leopold uses a blend of wheat, potatoes and malted barley to get a final product that goes down almost too easily.
- George Spirits All Purpose | St. George Spirits | Alameda, CA
St. George originally made Hangar 1 Vodka (next up on the list) but have since sold the product line to Proximo and recently completed their contract to keep producing it for them. Now they’ve launched a new and equally delectable line of their own. The current lineup includes a straight “All Purpose” version they make from a corn-based spirit and pear Eau de Vie, as well as Green Chile and California Citrus options.
- Hangar 1 Straight | Hangar 1 Vodka | Alameda, CA
Now made by one of the few female Head Distillers in the country – Caley Maker – from a blend of a wheat-based neutral grain spirit and a grape Eau de Vie that softens the heat perfectly. One of my all-time favorites.
- Spring 44 Vodka | Spring 44 Distilling | Loveland, CO
Spring 44’s claim to fame is where they get their water. It’s supposedly collected from a Rocky Mountain artesian mineral spring in Colorado’s Buckhorn Canyon. Personally, I take slight issue with using water as a marketing ploy, seeing as it really only comes into play in the final proofing stages of distilling, but you simply can’t argue with the smoothness of Spring 44. Also not to be missed is their Honey Vodka made with Colorado honey straight from the comb.
- Prairie Organic | Prairie Organic Spirits
Heads up, I’m throwing in something a little more commercial. The jury’s out on the actual “craft-ness” of this so-called craft vodka, seeing as there’s seemingly no physical distillery location to speak of. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed that if a a bar manager isn’t a fan of vodka but still has to stock it, this is the one they most often choose to have on hand. It also happens to be pretty damn good and easy to find nationwide.
Honorable Mention: Woody Creek. This 100% potato vodka received double gold at this year’s World Spirits Competition in San Fransisco a.k.a. like, the Oscars of distilling.
Are you a Vodka drinker? Have you tried any of these? If so, let me know your favorites in the comments below!