The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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In 1997, former geophysicist Tito Beveridge opened the first legal distillery in Texas just outside of Austin and began producing Tito's Handmade Vodka ($20) in a pot still of his own design. Soon the vodka's satiny body and elegant, slightly sweet finish were wowing aficionados and spirit critics alike. Despite the brand's modest price tag, it's capable of going head-to-head with the world's best vodkas without even breaking a sweat. Tito's is one of the first micro-distilled vodkas on the market. Beveridge attri- butes part of its success to his doing one thing right: "I figured if I could make a vodka so smooth that women would drink it straight, I'd really have some- thing." That he accomplished his objective is evident in the glass. Says Beveridge, "Tito's Handmade Vodka is very clean, yet has a lot of flavor—caramel and vanilla being the most prominent. Of course, they're more pronounced served on ice or with a splash of water." While distilling in small batches requires that Beveridge invest considerably more time and effort in making his vodka, the process affords him greater artistic control over the process. The last step in ensuring uncompromised quality is repeatedly filtering the 80-proof vodka through activated carbon to eliminate any residual impurities. "This summer, we are celebrating the beauty of America with a road trip across the country. Of course, we've got to have amazing cocktails to accom- pany us on the journey," says Beveridge. "I think there's nothing better than a simple classic Gimlet to refresh after a long day on the road. Fresh lime juice is the key here—none of the bottled stuff will do! The freshness comes through with just the right amount of bite and a tangy kick that just tastes like summer." FIFTH GENERATION, INC. Clean and All-American: Tito's Handmade Vodka of America of America of with a road trip amazing cocktails to accom- think there's nothing better than a on the road. Fresh lime juice is The freshness comes through kick that just tastes like summer." FIFTH GENERATION, INC. august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  93 The Road Trip ◗ 2 oz. Tito's Handmade Vodka ◗ ¾ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ Splash of simple syrup Pour all ingredients into an ice mixing glass, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh lime wheel. Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal WHITE SPIRITS PLAY WITH A FULL PALETTE OF FLAVORS ON THE PALATE by Robert Plotkin According to renowned bar chef and mixologist Adam Seger, good things happen when you break down the barriers between your bar and kitchen: "You don't need an advanced degree to appreciate that the best cocktails are crafted using the freshest ingredients, so open up the kitchen prep coolers to your mixologists." Another who specializes in concocting fresh, savory cocktails is Jim Meehan, noted author and master mixologist currently in residence in Portland, Oregon. He contends that herbal or spicy cocktails are more in step with contempo- rary tastes than are sweet versions and "work especially well with herbs, fruits and vegetables." Savory, well-balanced cocktails are decidedly more "sessionable" than their sweet or overtly fruity counterparts. Sessionability is used to describe a drink that people can sip on and keeps guests interested and wanting another. With market fresh ingredients providing a rainbow of flavors to explore, we look at how some of the best white spirits on the market offer a perfect backdrop for an explosion of flavors, no matter the season. Sessionable and

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