Cocktail parties are a staple around our neighborhood, and especially my house. Cocktails are like cooking to me, a little bit of this, a little bit of that and lots of creative energy and voilà – a deliciously crafted beverage. With as much as we entertain, and as much liquor as we go through, it because very important for me to pay attention to where my spirits came from. My go to mixer for most cocktails is vodka. So I started asking, what is vodka made from? Vodka may be distilled from any starch/sugar-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grains such as sorghum, corn, rye or wheat. Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior. Some vodkas are made from potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice, sugar beets and sometimes even byproducts of oil refining or wood pulp processing. (source)
This made me realize that vodka, along with most other liquors are made from the more heavily toxic crops. Corn, wheat, soy, sugar beets, rice, potatoes are mostly GMO plants farmed by conventional practices and highly fertilized and pumped full of pesticides and herbicides. So, I turn to organic and when possible local liquor. If nothing else, organic made in the USA works for me. Here is a few of the many organic vodkas on the market today:
Square One Vodka: Square One Vodka comes from organically grown American rye—not mass-produced corn, potatoes, or grapes—and is borne out of a certified organic fermentation process developed especially for Square One. Their certified organic rye receives only chemical-free compost, fresh water, and loving care during its entire growth cycle. The natural, robust health of the plants themselves is their main defense against disease and infestation.
They then take our organic philosophy right into the distillery, using only organic yeasts and natural nutrients in a process certified both by Oregon Tilth, the U.S.’s most stringent and prestigious U.S. Organic Certification Agency, and by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP). The only other ingredient is pure, fresh water from the pristine watershed of the nearby Teton Mountains. Varieties include: Regular Vodka, Basil, Cucumber and Botanical.
Prairie Vodka: Crafted in Benson, Minnesota by a fifth-generation family of spirit makers and a co-op of over 900 farmers. Micro-distilled exclusively from organic, #2 yellow corn grown nearby the distillery on three family farms, the leftover corn cobs are gasified to provide energy for the stills.
Named “Best New Vodka” by Food & Wine Magazine in 2009 and winner of the Double Gold Medal at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Prairie Organic Vodka is one of a handful of spirits certified kosher by the Orthodox Union and certified organic by the USDA(United States Department of Agriculture). Prairie Organic is free of chemical pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified seeds and artificial fertilizers or enzymes. Prairie Organic Vodka is packaged in an unfrosted, recyclable glass bottle, packed in a cardboard box produced from sustainable forest wood pulp, and organic ink is used on their paper labels.
TRU Vodka makes three types of handmade organic vodkas: TRU Straight is made with 100% certified organic wheat, TRU Lemon infused with organic California lemons and TRU Vanilla with hand scraped organic Bourbon vanilla beans. And perhaps best of all, the company also plants a tree for each bottle of vodka sold. They are USDA organic certified. TRU reduces waste and pollution through its exclusive use of lightweight bottles, recycled and recyclable materials.
360 Vodka is not organic, but deserves mention for its green practices. Quadruple-distilled. Five-times filtered. Smooth. Clean. And green – 360 is the world’s first eco-friendly premium vodka. Winning awards for taste, quality, and environmentally responsible packaging. 360 has shown the world a different way to enjoy vodka. With flavors like Madagascar Vanilla, Cola, Double Chocolate, Grape, Mandarin Orange, Bing Cherry, Sorrento Lemon, and Georgia Peach – you can make just about any cocktail. To read more about their green practices check out there website.
You may only think of organic when you are eating, but next time you are at the liquor store, check out the organic spirits. There are some delicious organic wines and organic spirits. Drink responsibility has just taken on a new meaning. Enjoy!
What are you favorite organic brands?