The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

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W hen Purity Vodka Brand Ambassador John Pomeroy was first approached to represent the Swedish vodka in the U.S., he had his doubts. Coming from a strong mixology background, he knew the trends toward brown spirits and craft modifiers were on the rise . . . but certainly vodka was not. "I went on the interview with Purity Vodka founder and Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen," Pomeroy tells THE TASTING PANEL. "But actually, I felt like I was interviewing him. I fired questions about production, quality and honestly, all the answers were the right ones. Best process, best tools, finest ingredients, purest water source and that package! It wowed me. Thomas even helped to design an entirely new method of distillation in order to produce a copper pot still–quality liquid—and after a decade in the making, succeeded. Thomas is there on site, adjusting the levers, testing the liquid. And as the spirit evaporates off the mash, his spirit intermingles with the ethereal spirits of his creation." A Purity Vodka Pairing Dinner DEPARTMENT HEADER PHOTO: JOHN CURLEY In fact, Kuuttanen spent 20 years developing spirits such as whisky, gin and bitters, but because of the nature of his mother country—Sweden—he knew that he needed to create his own vodka. His passion to change the personality of today's industrially produced, neutral, simple column still vodka into one with character and heritage was his motivation. A mash blend of winter wheat and barley, fermented at a certified organic brewery near the distillery in southern Sweden, sets As Brand Ambassador for Purity Vodka, John Pomeroy has the stage. Located in a small stable house the opportunity to get a lot of built in 1732, the face time and taste time with distillery is across top bartenders. "Using topquality bar tools, glassware and the moat from 13th-century Ellinge ingredients further enhances the experience with this vodka." Castle, the home and soul of Purity Vodka. During 34 separate distillations, 90 percent of the liquid is lost, leaving the remaining spirit so refined that no filtration is necessary. The resulting vodka is also gluten-free. For a man who originally found vodka to be "quite boring," Kuuttanen's heart, soul and passion are embodied in Purity Vodka—and it shows in his pride in the product. "I have developed a vodka-lavored vodka," quips Kuuttanen. "I have maintained lavors in the 34-distillation process, not removed them." Now, Kuuttanen and perhaps a few other brands are leading a new artisan movement for a category that did not previously exist: craft vodka. Raphael General Manager, Shoshana Raphael visits with Purity Vodka Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen. Match-making between cocktails based on Purity Vodka and ine cuisine was a challenge handily met by Beverage Manager Chris Parke and Executive Chef Gavin Humes of charming Raphael restaurant in Studio City, CA. THE TASTING PANEL was on hand to experience this four-course meal in the presence of Purity Vodka Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen. PHOTO: ERICA BARTEL Survival of the Finest Beverage Manager Chris Parke— who is also an accomplished cook and gardener—prepared four Purity Vodka cocktails to match some unique dishes at Raphael restaurant in Studio City, CA. Parke's Purity Beet & Bacon Tonic combines housemade juice of beets and bacon with celery and tonic to perfectly complement Executive Chef Gavin Humes's black truffle agnolotti. may 2013 / the tasting panel / 89

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