The state of Washington has long been a ‘horn of plenty’ in the Pacific Northwest. From the rain-forests of the coast, to vast agricultural inland stretches, there’s never been a shortage of ingredients to create with. Combine that with a decidedly vagabond culture and it should come as no surprise that from Seattle to Spokane, people are making really, really interesting vodka. So with that in mind, here are some of the most exciting craft sips coming out of the Evergreen State.
1. Bainbridge Distillers Legacy Vodka: The motto of this distiller is simply, “From Grain to Glass”, and they mean it when they say it. This is a full-flavored vodka four-times-distilled from organic soft white wheat and evocative of the grain vodkas distilled in Eastern Europe during the late 19th century. Like all good grain vodkas, its depth of flavor is surprising: with a hint of sweetness derived from the wheat, followed by both citrus and berry notes, and finishing with the aroma of grain and vanilla.
2. Wishkah River Honey Vodka: The first and most notable thing about this vodka is that, despite the name, it is not ‘flavored with’ honey, but ‘distilled from’ it. 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. The result is a truly unique vodka that’s truly different from batch-to-batch and season-to-season, depending on where the bees locate their nectar.
3. BelleWood Honeycrisp 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. This apple vodka uses only organically grown NW Washington apples for a spirit that’s exceptionally clean, clear, and with a subtle sweetness on the finish.
4. Double V Distillery Viscova Craft Vodka: Distilled from Washington grown corn & barley, Viscova 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 proccesses used as certified organic, from harvest to bottling.
5. Freemont Mischief Worker’s No. 9 Vodka: The grain used to make Mischief Vodka is sustainably grown in the Cascadia bioclimate, west of the Cascade Mountains. 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. In a step deemed too costly of ‘unnecessary’ by larger distillers, the vodka is “rested” at least 3 months and more often 9 months or more before bottling. The result is a vodka that makes its way to you at the peak of flavor and smoothness.
6. Elk Rider Wheat Vodka: Distilled from local wheat, this vodka is four-times filtered to create an exceptionally clean tasting 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.
7. 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.
8. Ebb + Flow Vodka: A single malt vodka made from 100% Palouse Malted Barley that has notes of vanilla and just a hint of natural sweetness. Like so many of the craft distillers on their list, they pride themselves on overseeing every step of the production process: from mash, fermentation, and distillation. From grain to bottle.