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Vodka Review: Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Vodka brings certain images to mind like cold weather and Red Square in Moscow. However, one man’s dream is slowly but surely revolutionizing the way we think of the clear liquor; Tito Beveridge of Austin, Texas is showing that one of the world’s best vodkas is actually from the U.S.A.
Austin, Texas isn’t exactly the first place you think of when you’re looking for an excellent smooth vodka. Former geologist Beveridge wants to remedy that by making small, hand-crafted batches of vodka in Texas’ first and oldest distillery. Unlike vodka producers who make their product on an industrial scale which usually sacrifices quality, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is distilled six times to ensure a pure, wonderful-tasting drink. To compare, Grey Goose, the French vodka which is considered to be the first true premium vodka on the market, is distilled five times. If you think Grey Goose is a good vodka (which it is by all means), then even without tasting it you can imagine how sublime Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be.
What makes it unique
According to Beveridge, there are two things that make Tito’s vodka unique in the vodka industry. First of all, the vodka is not distilled in modern column stills; everything is micro-distilled in the same type of old-fashioned pot stills that high-end Cognac and single-malt whisky makers use. Pot stills are more labor-intensive to operate, but assure a higher quality product at the end of the day, much to the delight of vodka fans in the United States. The second thing that makes Tito’s unique is yellow corn, which gives the vodka an ever-so-light sweet aftertaste. Almost all other vodkas that are on liquor store shelves are made from wheat or potatoes and are purposely made to have very little character or distinguishing characteristics.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka has been winning awards for more than a decade now. Commercial production started in 1997, and by 2001, it had unanimously won the San Francisco World Spirit Competition Double Gold Medal for vodka, a category with over 70 competitors. Spirit Journal has also given Tito’s Handmade Vodka four-star ranking twice; once in 2001 and again in 2007. This outstanding product will surely continue making a name for itself on the international scene.
If you’re used to wheat-based vodkas, then Tito’s is going to be quite different. First of all, the texture of the vodka is a bit thicker when it touches the tongue, but it is still smooth. There is very little burn, and very little nose. As mentioned earlier, unlike other vodkas which don’t have much in the flavor department and also have an unpleasant bite (especially vodkas made from potatoes), Tito’s has a surprising aftertaste that is mildly sweet. Many reviewers claim this characteristic makes it a beautiful sipping vodka (“perfect for marinating ice cubes” according to one expert) that shouldn’t be mixed; however, other reviewers state that this slightly sweet aftertaste makes for an incredibly deep dry martini.
An interesting note that some reviewers made is that after drinking Tito’s Handmade Vodka, hangovers were minimal or even non-existent. Even though too much of any type of alcohol will usually result in feeling rotten the next day, the distillation process for Tito’s which produces the incredibly smooth character of the vodka, filters out impurities that can make a hangover worse. Tito’s is distilled six times; products of lesser quality are only distilled three times, and this is why cheap vodka or spirits can cause hangovers of almost epic proportions.
How to drink Tito’s Handmade Vodka
What’s nice about this product is that it’s great for connoisseurs and it’s also great for people who simply want a tasty cocktail. If you are a lover of vodka, then the best way is to simply drink it neat, undiluted, and slightly chilled with no ice. If you can’t chill your vodka first, then it is all right to add a few ice cubes to your drink. If you don’t like the thicker consistency of Tito’s, then adding an ice cube or two will also adjust the consistency to something you’re more familiar with.
Mixers, infusions, and cocktails
Tito’s is also great as a mixer; it’s a neutral spirit with a slight hint of sweetness that will add depth to any cocktail. It will also infuse well to make a flavored vodka; just go visit titosvodka.com for a few ideas. If you’re a mixed-drinks fan, here are two recipes featuring Tito’s Handmade Vodka that you’ll surely enjoy:
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Martini
1 martini glass, chilled
2 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka
¼ ounce or a spritz white vermouth
1 cocktail olive on a toothpick or one twist of lemon
Pour the vodka and vermouth in a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice and stir with a long spoon for at least thirty seconds. Pour into the martini glass, add olive or the lemon twist and serve.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka Lemon Drop
1 martini glass, chilled and rimmed with fine sugar
1.5 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce sugar syrup
1 lemon twist
Pour the vodka, lemon juice, and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker that’s full of ice. Shake for at least thirty seconds, and pour into the chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
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