America’s Favorite Cocktail
Vodka, America’s favorite spirit enjoyed by approximately 38% of the market, is composed mainly of water and ethanol, made by distilling fermented potatoes or grains. Like a bunch of mad chemists, distillers are also experimenting with a range of exotic bases like grapes, maple syrup and even soybeans.
Vodka should be odorless and tasteless—the closer it comes to that standard, the better. After distillation, the spirit is filtered through coal or other materials like diamond dust. Water is also a key factor in vodka’s taste. Park City’s Alpine Distilling facility’s water supply comes from a mountain aquifer and then goes through a carbon and reverse osmosis system to soften and balance natural electrolytes. The final product is traditionally drunk neat or often served chilled in vodka belt countries like Russia, Iceland and Sweden.
Because of its lack of taste, it’s a chameleon and blends seamlessly with just about anything. Distiller Chris Barlow of Beehive Distilling in Salt Lake City, producer of small batch organic Beehive Vodka, says, “Vodka is light, refreshing and lets you really be creative with mixers.” Steve Conlin, distiller of Ogden’s Own 5 Wives Vodka says, “Vodka is so versatile, plus at 64 calories per ounce, it has the lowest calories of any alcohol.” Rob Sergent, founder of Park City’s Alpine Distilling and maker of award-winning Persistent Vodka, agrees, “It blends with anything and everything, and our Persistent Vodka is also gluten free.”
Flavored vodkas have been around since the Middle Ages. Ogden’s Own Distillery’s “Sinful” cinnamon vodka pairs well with cranberry or added to Wasatch Pumpkin Ale. Their
“Heavenly” creamy vanilla Vodka is popular in an Espresso Heavenly Martini. While vodka is a good base for refreshing summer drinks, it also can warm you up on a cold winter’s night. In addition to popular classics like martinis or White Russians, bartenders are known for having fun with this adaptable liquor.
Try your hand at mixing up an Alpine Maple Buzz, created by Ryan at 350 Main, it’s a blend of Alpine Persistent Vodka, Espresso, Alpine Maple Syrup and Liquor 43 served on an ice ball.