Community Calendar

E-Reader Help
10 a.m. - Noon Charlestown

Community Artists Program
10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Charlestown

Music with Mr. Mike
10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. Charlestown

3-5 Year Old Storytime
10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Westerly

Simple Suppers
Noon - 2 p.m. Charlestown

Drop-in Knitting Club
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Charlestown

The Supper Table
4:30 p.m. - 6 p.m. Westerly

Mad Science - Expedition Energy
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Westerly

The New Patenting Paradigm
6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Charlestown

Wonderful Westerly Toastmasters club
6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Westerly

... View all of today's events


Stay Connected




Fair Quinoa, Tito's Handmade and Reyka vodka. | AP Photo/Matthew Mead.
Fair Quinoa, Tito's Handmade and Reyka vodka. | AP Photo/Matthew Mead.

New vodka brands tap desire for pure spirits


We’ve had cream-flavored vodka, candy-flavored vodka, even breakfast cereal-flavored vodka. Now, producers are betting on something different, vodka that tastes like... vodka.

From an Icelandic vodka made from glacier spring water to a Colorado potato vodka made from freshly picked home-grown spuds, the latest vogue in vodka is more craft than kitsch.

“Vodka distilleries are saying, ‘Listen, let’s get back to our basics. Let’s make these products and represent ourselves in a way that holds true to mixing a very clean cocktail,” says Jeff Leanheart, beverage director of The Smith Lincoln Center in New York City.

Flavored vodkas have been huge in recent years — bubble-gum flavored martini, anyone? — and Leanheart doesn’t expect them to disappear.

“There’s obviously a niche to any item.” But there’s a serious spirit emerging in new premium vodkas that mirrors the food world emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal products.

Reyka, a new vodka from Iceland, is being made with glacier water that is filtered over Icelandic lava rocks.

The result is a spirit with “a beautiful mouth feel that shows beautifully in simple drinks. It can be drunk almost naked, if you will,” says Charlotte Voisey, well-known mixologist and global ambassador for William Grant & Sons, the distillery that makes Reyka. (Other popular Grant brands include Hendrick’s gin and Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey.)

Water is a key part of making vodka since the point is to produce a pure spirit, says Leanheart.

How many times the spirit is distilled depends on the producer’s philosophy. Karlsson’s Gold is distilled just once and is also unfiltered to preserve the taste of the potatoes it’s made with, while Purity clocks in at 34 distillations.

Many vodkas are distilled from wheat, but by no means all. The popular Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which hails from Texas, is made from corn; there are vodkas made from grapes such as Ciroc, as well as vodkas that spring from a host of other ingredients, including Fair Quinoa vodka, which also is fair trade certified.

In Basalt, Colo., Woody Creek Distillers puts a modern twist on tradition.

The distillery, started by former defense industry engineers Pat Scanlan and Mark Kleckner, uses potatoes grown from the 30-acre farm Scanlan and his wife own near Aspen. The potatoes aren’t left to sit in cellars for months at a time. Scanlan and Kleckner say they take them right from the ground to the distillers on the same day.

It’s backbreaking work, but they say it’s well worth it.

“Being able to control every aspect of the production is how we’re able to control and ensure the highest quality,” Kleckner said. “We’re not second in line waiting on potatoes. We’re doing that farming to make sure we have absolutely the freshest potatoes for the production of the vodka. The buck all stops with us and we make sure everything is just right.”



Back to Food
Top Stories of the Week

Hopkinton police: Intoxicated man took neighbor’s truck, crashed into ditch …
HOPKINTON — An Ashaway man is facing charges including attempted larceny, assault and driving under the influence after police said he and a juvenile relative … more ...

Storm takes a bite out of the beach …
A section of beach near the Atlantic Beach Amusement Park in Misquamicut is eaten away as large waves have pounded the beaches and caused significant … more ...

Up to 8 inches of snow likely; and a little …
Today’s snowfall is simply a prelude to another snowfall Tuesday, according to the national Weather Service. The forecast calls for snow showers Tuesday with up … more ...

Stonington native sells software company for $26 million …
STONINGTON — Mike Rustici, a Stonington High School alumnus who made his business debut selling soda out of a cart at Elmridge Golf Course, recently … more ...

Rhode Island lawmakers to propose legalizing marijuana …
PROVIDENCE (AP) — A bill to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in Rhode Island is returning to the state’s General Assembly after failing to pass … more ...

Comments