“Betcha you can’t just eat one,” is a slogan that’s been associated with Lays Potato Chips since 1963. However, I’m willing to take that bet with flavors such as ham and cheese, knuckle of pork, crab, grilled meat and red caviar. These are just a few examples of the stomach churning chips available in Russia and Poland. It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that vodka could have been invented to wash the taste of knuckle of pork potato chips from your mouth. If only it were that easy since vodka pre-dates potato chips by centuries. The invention of Vodka has a long and sorted history originally used as an elixir for almost everything.
Vodka doesn’t freeze in cold temperatures, which made it an excellent anesthetic and disinfectant back in the day for northern Europe. It was used for treating foot odor, toothaches, colic, infertility and the plague. None of these afflictions affect you? Then use it as an aftershave, insect repellant or to get stubborn vomit stains out of your oversized Russian fur hat. To simplify the entire history, it wasn’t until someone decided to swallow it that its true potential as a spirit was realized. The Vermont Spirits Distilling Company from Quechee Vermont had its own “eureka” moment but this time it had nothing to do with a cure-all. Inspiration came from what comes naturally out of a maple tree every spring.
Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States. Every spring, sugarhouses across the State collect sap from maple trees and boil it down into sticky sweet syrup. Vermont Spirits asked the question, instead of boiling down this sap, what would happen if we distilled it into non-grain vodka? The result is Vermont Gold Vodka.
The distillery has developed a method for bringing together artisan distilling techniques with high-tech scientific know how and applying it to Mother Nature’s liquid gold. This handcrafted American vodka starts as maple sap and local distilled spring water – free of additives and preservatives. Natural nutrients are added to sweet-talk the sugars out of the sap so it can be fermented. After these ingredients are slowly fermented, they go through a batch-distilling process where the liquid is triple-distilled in a fractional column still with light charcoal filtering between each distillation. This step ensures that impurities are taken out of the vodka without pulling away delicate maple characters. It’s these slight maple characters that makes this premium vodka sit in a class all its own.
The distillery explains, “That quality combines a fragrant nose with smoothness in the mouth and a slight warmth that delights the true lover of vodka.” The spirit is medium bodied with a crystal clear color. It’s clean and smooth with just a hint of maple in the background but not sweet. When the vodka spends a bit of time in your mouth, the maple characters develop but never over power. Like single malt scotch, Vermont Gold shines when it’s sipped straight.
It seems like you can’t cross the street today without hitting flavored vodkas. Saturation of novelty flavors is at an all time high, most of them tasting like candy. This isn’t the case with Vermont Gold. This is not novelty vodka and the flavor sitting in the background is all-natural. It’s like the difference between having Russian caviar potato chips and comparing it to real caviar. This is real vodka. “Our Goal is to produce vodkas with flavor…not flavored vodkas and we distill each batch with the spirits connoisseur and lover of fine food in mind.” says distiller Harry Gorman. Considering it takes all the sap from one tree to produce one bottle of vodka (which works out to approximately 40 quarts of sap per bottle), you can quickly appreciate why it’s original in every sense of the word. A vodka worth its weight in gold.