October 4 is National Vodka Day. That’s right, National—not International.
Which means this is the perfect time to point out that despite vodka’s frosty reputation as a product of Russia, Sweden, and other Eastern European countries, plenty of top-notch vodkas are made right here in the United States. Here are a few to consider sipping as you celebrate National Vodka Day.
44 North (Rigby, ID) distills its vodkas from Idaho-grown Burbank and Russett potatoes. Craft bartenders have embraced the Rainier Cherry and Mountain Huckleberry flavors; an unflavored “Magic Valley Vodka” made with local winter wheat also is available.
Hangar One Mandarin Blossom (Alameda, CA) This artisan distiller makes soft, sophisticated vodkas distilled from viognier wine and wheat. In addition to other creative fresh-fruit infusions like Kaffir Lime and Citron “Buddha’s Hand,” their Mandarin Blossom infusion is one of the best around, with a honeyed-floral fragrance and a clean, brisk flavor.
Mazama Infused Pepper Vodka (Bend, OR) Made with six different hot and sweet peppers, and one of the few pepper vodkas that retains the vegetal sweetness of peppers, not just harsh capsicum burn. Bendistillery also makes the unflavored Crater Lake and Diamond 100 vodkas.
Skyy Infusions Natural Ginger (San Francisco, CA) Skyy makes a nationally-distributed line of vodkas recognized for value pricing and a winningly light touch with flavors (and of course, for the striking cobalt-blue bottle). The Natural Ginger flavor is one of their most recent innovations, featuring a true-ginger aroma and zing without liqueur sweetness.
Vermont Gold (St. Johnsbury, VT) While not a flavored vodka, this spirit, made from 100% maple sap, has a smooth, earthy, faintly butterscotch-like flavor and a clean finish. Vermont Spirits also makes Vermont White from milk sugar, another special vodka worth a try.