- Brand Gift sets - Grab them while you can. Many wait until closer to Christmas and as a result, miss out on finding them. These gift sets often come with glassware or barware, some even with minis; others offer limited design bottles or special editions. They're priced normally at the same price as the 750ml bottle alone.
- Distillery Tours - if you're lucky enough to be near a vodka distillery, a tour & tasting could be a great way to spend the afternoon or evening. Some venues offer food and/or music as well at their tasting rooms. They tend to also have plenty of merchandise for purchase to commemorate your visit. If possible, try to get your purchased bottle signed by the owner or master distiller.
- On that note - grab your Texas Vodka Lovers a Vodka,TX membership. This is a great way to find out about local distilleries around Texas and comes with perks when visiting partnering distilleries. Self-paced, so you can visit whenever you want, throughout the year and only $45. Grab yours here and start enjoying exploring vodka distilleries across Texas.
- Tickets to the Austin Steam Train's Vodka Train fundraiser. The January 20th run will feature multiple brands with education, tastings and cocktails. Tickets are available now at https://www.austinsteamtrain.org/ - go to View the Train Schedule on the top right.
- If in the Austin Area, host a vodka tasting party! Gather your friends and enjoy an educational and tasting experience tailored just for you. Tasting includes education material, tasting sheet for notes, vodka samples of your selected category, cocktails and recipes. To book or for more information, go to https://www.vodkagirlatx.com/services.html
It's that time of year when you're scrambling to find the perfect gift for the holidays - or just for yourself. Obviously, the easiest gift cure is a bottle of vodka, but maybe go a step above. Here are a few ideas that your vodka lover will cheers to you with.
September 15th kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with some fabulous LatinX brands made right here in Texas!
Located in Manor, TX, Banner Distilling not only produces vodka, but an exquisite wheat whiskey too. (I'm secretly hoping they'll make a wheat vodka as well). Banner was one of the first distilleries I ever visited as VodkaGirlATX. Tony Jimenez and I met via Twitter, then in person at Vodka Fest. I later met his partner Logan at a store tasting. We instantly became friends and I have been a supporter of their products and distillery ever since.
Banner Distilling is also a Vodka,TX participating distillery and offers member perks.
One of the most graphic forward brands I've ever come across (triggers my advertising background). This vodka brand is truly a family affair with the entire team doing everything from design, to bottling, to store tastings. You'll also find them at many events and festivals. The whole family built the distillery from the ground up.
Distilled in Smithville, Texas, this small distillery is sadly, not open to the public. Not to fret, you can buy some cool merch on their website.
Empowering the true American immigrant story, Doers Vodka represents American pride and the Latin culture and is made from sacred corn. La Jefa, Arianna Ixcaragua, is the founder and owner and quite the talented artist. Her husband Samuel Aguilar, is El Presidente and siblings, Soliel handles Operations, Inne created the logo and is the Creative Director (and sings beautifully I may add), and Samuel, Jr is the Master Distiller. You'll see them all out promoting their spirit and wearing the latest, coolest art on their newest tshirt design.
WILD RAG VODKA
Made in Sandia, Texas, this South Texas distillery offers three vodka styles for you to enjoy.
1. The Texas Torch is a cinnamon flavored vodka made with a corn base and is 70 proof.
2. Batch 27 is my favorite and is distilled from mesquite beans. There's also a Batch 29.
3. Sandia Silver is made from cane sugar.
Master Distiller, Royal Aguilar has been in Sandia all his life and carries his personality, along that of the area into the vodkas. The Wild Rag name honors the past of those cowboys who used the wild rags for protection from the dust, sun and the occasional lawman. The logo includes a red wild rag around the neck of Texas.
Have you tried any of these yet? All three brands are so different and unique in their own way. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Vodka Lovers, grab your shot glass because I have some tea to spill. There's some cool things and not so great stuff happening in the Vodka Universe right now.
Let's get started, shall we?
1. Chopin Vodka is celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. As part of their celebration, CEO & Founder, Mr. Tad Dorda is traveling around the country hosting events and lunch & learns. I had the honor of attending the event here in Austin. I learned so much! (More on that soon.)
2. Crystal Head Vodka has released their limited edition PRIDE bottle. This white, paint splattered bottle is available now in stores, so grab yours today!
3. Charbay Distilling announced they will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary by hosting a 7-day cruise to Mexico! Leaving out of L.A., the ship will sail into 3 ports next April. I, personally, am planning on joining them. You should too!
4. I'm so excited about this next piece of news... Fix Vodka is in the process of building their new distillery in Bastrop County. Just down the street from me! (I wonder if they'll give me my own parking space.) I'll pass along updates as it progresses.
5. This next tea I've heard from three different sources about three different, but same, things. It concerns one of the biggest distilleries in Texas and honestly won't affect you as a consumer.... unless it's the beginning of signs that the company is in trouble. I don't have confirmations yet, but am working on finding out for you.
6. On a sad note, Frankly Organic Vodka is no more. The company is no longer producing product and rumor has it, that their equipment has been auctioned off. So there's probably no coming back for them. This one hits me particularly hard, as I worked tasting promotions for them. To date, as employees, we've still not officially been notified of anything. There is however a bright side - you can still find product on the shelves throughout town, but grab them and stock up while you can. They won't be getting more.
Whew, that's a lot. Time to pour this shot into my teacup. Until next time, Cheers Y'all!
If you're a football fan, you may already know that Smirnoff is the official NFL vodka sponsor. And as that fan, you know the Ultimate in football world is to attend the Super Bowl.
Well, three people have the opportunity to do just that - and in luxury - to THE biggest game of the football season in Arizona and be treated like a VIP MVP. The three finalists will showdown today to see who will be the first ever Smirnoff Cocktail Coordinator.
What does it take to win this prestigious title you ask? Well, you basically need to be a badass game day party thrower that loves football and can beat your competition in football knowledge, party hosting and the cocktail playbook. The three finalists will compete in Texas and are from Denver, Dallas and Austin. YES! Two Texas Finalists and one from my Austin!! AND to make things even more exciting, it's our friend Tania Ortega!!
Help her land the Best Job in America and show your support by following Tania and @smirnoff on Instagram and using the hashtag #Tania4CocktailCoordinator for updates on the competition.
Read more here,
Every year, thousands of cocktail enthusiasts and industry professionals (and yes, vodka lovers) embark to New Orleans on an annual journey that is the Tales of the Cocktail. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Tales returned in all it's glory - and then some - to celebrate it's 20th Anniversary. And speaking of anniversaries, our Keynote entitled 20 Years of Spirits, kicking off the conference, highlighted the 25th Anniversaries of both Tito's Vodka and Grey Goose Vodka.
As usual, there were numerous education opportunities, pop-ups, parties and celebrations. Today I will only highlight those that involved vodka. Here's a rundown - in no particular order - on brands that were there participating:
1. Union Forge Vodka - new to the market from Pennsylvania, this unique jug-shaped bottle with crisp taste was a huge hit. I was privileged to score a customized filled flask as a takeaway.
2. Ciroc - Hosted a tasting chateau featuring the limited edition Passionfruit, amongst their other flavors. I honestly hadn't tried them all and must say I enjoyed the passionfruit more than I thought I would.
3. Grey Goose - Hosted a huge 25th Anniversary Party featuring classic bars like The Rainbow Room recreated in rooms throughout venue. I was able to snag some limited edition anniversary pins on my way into the secret bar through a coat closet. Was a bit overcrowded, but who doesn't want to celebrate with them?
4. The Community Spirit - Pop-up takeover promoting Book set benefiting HEARD.ORG featuring local bartenders from around the country. The cocktails here were unique and creative.
5. Absolut Elyx - A last minute pool party held at a beautiful Garden District hotel - The Chloe - made this conference complete. They held a multi-day event each year, so I was disappointed to learn they wouldn't be participating this year. BUT they came through - complete with some of the best ceviche I've ever had! Of course, copper everything everywhere added to their fabulous ambiance.
6. Haku Vodka - Beam Suntory sponsored speakeasy with rotating cocktail menu hourly by era and pop-up performances throughout the day. Was my favorite place of the whole event.
7. Chopin Vodka - Launched small-batch Organic Rye vodka at pop-up and hosted a tasting room complete with scrumptious desserts.
8. Smirnoff Vodka - Promoting their Spicy Tamarind flavor and special enamel lapel pin to commemorate their limited edition flavor. They held a street corner pop-up with great local bites like lemon-pepper wings, chicken sliders and crawfish etouffee nachos.
9. Ketel One - Justine's takeover highlighting those Born to Cocktail. I especially loved the photographer available for capturing that perfect moment (cover photo).s They also had a swag station at the Diageo Family Reunion included lapel pin sets, notebooks, and mule mugs.
10. Reyka Vodka - Tales (Or any conference) just isn't the same without my cocktail ninja himself, but life happens and goes on. This year they only participated in the WGS portfolio events, but still stayed true to their Iceland roots while serving cocktails in ice shot glasses, traditional branded ice sculpture and ice bench with puffin friend for photos.
11. Wodka Vodka - small presence as part of the Indy Spirits room, but just as good as I remember it.
12. Vodka Ready-to-drink brands - Canned cocktails by Royal Lemonades, Oldknow Bev Co, Spirited Hive, and Death & Company Aurora Highball made for great on the go drinks while walking from event to event.
13. Mendel Vodka - (3BR Distillery) Best of Awards Winner from New Jersey and made from garden peas. Was unexpectedly delicious!
I'm so ready for the next one and look forward to what the new year holds for all of them.
Spreading the #Vodka Love - In the #ATX area and beyond - One Shot At A Time. 🍸
• 🍹Spirits & Travel Writer - contributer at Austin Food Magazine, Lady ATX Magazine, USBG National Blog and Austin.com
• Member: Austin Food Bloggers Alliance, United States Bartenders Guild
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