In the depths of winter, every Northeasterner looks for something to soften the chill, and while young Vermonters get their maple fix with sugar on snow, those of age can ditch the snow and keep the maple with the liquid warmth of Vermont Gold vodka.
Vermont Spirits, a small distillery in the eastern town of Quechee, Vermont, wanted to make a tipple that featured the local harvest. Rather than being maple-flavored like other vodkas, Vermont Gold is distilled directly from local syrup, which is about 66 percent sugar, diluted to about 20 percent sugar. After producers add yeast and ferment the sap, the resulting brew goes through three rounds of distillation before being filtered through charcoal. Finally, distillers dilute the pure spirit from 96 percent to 40 percent alcohol. Then it’s ready for a shot ski, though one might recommend a more refined presentation for this boutique booze.
In general, vodka tends to be a catch-all name for neutral spirit distillations that don’t fit into established categories such as rum (sugarcane distillation) or tequila (agave distillation), but most vodkas are made from cheaper starches such as potatoes or beets. According to Vermont Gold’s distiller, Harry Gorman, while it’s more expensive, the pure maple distillation results in a unique spirit with a slightly sweet finish that is so clean it sips perfectly served neat or with a simple twist of lemon. Or, you can go for a maple trifecta with the Green Mountain Martini: maple vodka, a splash of calvados, and a dash of maple syrup poured into a maple sugar–rimmed martini glass.
Where to Try It
Vermont Spirits Distilling Co.5573 Woodstock Road (Route 4) , Quechee Gorge Village, Vermont, 05001, United States
Vermont Spirits Distilling Co. has a tasting room and retail store that is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Due to space limitations, they do not offer distillery tours.