Sarah Baird for Liquor.com, August 2016
The spirits industry might lag behind the food world a bit when it comes to embracing a more eco-friendly approach to its craft, but the tide is now thankfully starting to turn. A new wave of distillers are working diligently to put “green” spirits on the map, quietly educating tipplers about sustainability with each bottle they produce. And while both gin and cognac are making serious strides in the category, the spirit that’s leading the charge toward a more ecologically sound future is vodka.
Green vodka, made with organic ingredients and using all-natural resources, is popping up across the globe with increasing frequency, calling upon a region’s unique resources to create products that are simultaneously distinctive and mindful. Italian vodka distiller Punzoné makes use of organic wheat from its home in Piemonte. North Carolina’s TOPO distillery uses only ingredients from within state lines and is currently the only USDA-certified organic distillery in the Southern U.S. In rural Texas, an organic rice-based vodka is in the works, made from long-grain white rice that’s grown, more or less, on-site.
The category has even gotten a boost from the queen herself, Oprah Winfrey, who recently gave away Square One vodka, which comes in a range of delectable flavors like basil and cucumber, as one of her Favorite Things.
When you’re ready to move beyond Oprah-approved, these are eight diverse green vodkas worth seeking out, ensuring that with each sip you’re also enjoying the taste of environmental responsibility.
HANSON OF SONOMA
Crafted in the heart of California wine country using a mixture of the region’s grape varietals, Hanson of Sonoma ($33) has become an envelope-pushing role model within the world of sustainable small-batch vodka. The grapes, which are of course USDA certified, bring a sweet, deeply fruity note to the spirit while maintaining a buoyancy that lends itself to sipping neat. Hanson also offers a wide range of infused vodkas made with organic fruits and flavors that are free from any sort of syrup, concentrate or flavoring, including ginger and habanero.