Martini, my dear? Try our newest bar addition, Tito’s Handmade Vodka. It’s got a crystal clear, smooth finish, leaves no aftertaste, and tastes absolutely fabulous! Plus, it’s the only Certified Gluten-Free vodka in the US. Some producers add a little bit of mash back into the spirit after distillation, which would add gluten content into an otherwise gluten-free distillate (if using wheat as the base), but Tito’s is 100% corn, made in Austin, TX with corn from the Midwest belt. All that and it’s reasonably priced too!
The vodka is made in small batches, actually micro-distilled six times in an old-fashioned pot still, just like fine single malt scotches and high-end French cognacs. This time-honored method of distillation requires more skill and effort than modern column stills, but it’s well worth it.
There’s an interesting story behind this vodka. In 1992 or so, Tito Beveridge – yes, that’s really his name – started making flavored vodkas for his friends for Christmas presents. A geologist and geophysicist by trade, he was surprised that his tinkerings with flavored vodkas were so popular. He decided to see if the local liquor stores would sell his product, but they were looking for something smooth that could be enjoyed straight.
That fired his interest in learning how to distill. Of course, that was “pre-internet” days, and there wasn’t a lot of information readily available on how to distill. So Tito studied photos of old moonshiners and just built a still that looked like those stills. Then it was a matter of trial and error – lots of it, until he ended up with a product that his friends and family liked better than anything else that was available at the time.
With the product formula set, he needed to build a “real” distillery. Unable to get financing for the project, Tito racked up his credit cards, built a production still, and went out and sold product. At one point, he received an invitation to the World Spirits Competition and he was just fixing a boiler so he ended up simply sending a couple of bottles instead of attending the competition. Competing with 72 vodkas around the world, he won the double gold medal and the unanimous judges choice!
And now it’s right here in little ol’ Friday Harbor. If you’re a vodka fan, give it a try; we guarantee, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!