Friday, June 29, 2012

Core Vodka by Harvest Spirits (Golden Harvest Farms, Valatie)

It should be explained that I don't generally review spirits. I pretty much drink good beer (in addition to the beloved piss beers of Upstate New York), and vodka. I am dubious when it comes to cocktails. Something about grown men messing about with fruit juices and soda seems silly to me -- Don Draper's Old Fashioneds be damned. I am a fan of a good cup of Scotch whiskey but that is a special treat. I don't stock a bar. A six pack in the fridge and a bottle of good vodka in the freezer is generally the manner in which I roll. This all to say that I am no expert, and don't claim to be.

I was at Upstate Wine and Spirits (Hannaford Plaza on Delaware Ave., Delmar) the other day to replenish my ice box vodka stash. Upstate Wine and Spirits is a fine little liquor store right there. They have a good selection and stock all sorts of random items that make for a fun browse. Also, the place makes a sort of a point of stocking local products. You can get Tuthilltown Spirits, as well as Harvest Spirits which we are discussing here. As an aside, I am happy that Tuthilltown seems to be going strong as I used to drive by a young gent holding a sign advertising tours of the place at the intersection of Albany Post and 44/55 down Gardiner way. He always made me smile.

I spied the bottle of Core Vodka and it immediately grabbed my interest. What is more representative of Upstate New York than apples? We are Appleknockers, icy cider runs in our veins. This vodka is is distilled from hard cider made from apples grown at Golden Harvest Farms down in Valatie. I decided to purchase a bottle blind, i.e., I didn't read any reviews or anything.

I am a sucker for packaging so I inspected the whole package thoroughly. I thought the the bring the bottle back to the distillery for a free shot glass thing was a delightful way to inspire people to make a trip to the farm

Above are some accolades.

As I stated before, I do not really drink mixed cocktails at home. I take my vodka neat and out of little glasses. I found these little Italian wine glass jobbers that do the job nicely. I take a couple fingers at a time, За женщин! (Mrs. Dave only). 

OK, let us see here. Again, I probably should have read the description on the producers website that states, "Distilled three times from hard cider and minimally filtered to retain its true apple character." When I opened the bottle and sniffed I got the scent of apples. Throwing back the spirit I also got the taste of apples. I have to be careful with my terminology here (thank you Mr. Fussy). This is a "vodka made from apples" not an "apple flavored vodka" (implying flavor extracts) or even an "apple vodka." However, Core Vodka is a "vodka made from apples" that most definitely tastes of apples. There is a sweetness and a pronounced cider-y flavor (Mr. Fussy thinks that some of this may be due to the use of Champagne yeasts). 

I don't know why but I expected the barest essence of apple. I was surprised by the amount of apple flavor. None of this is a criticism because I think that an Upstate New York distillery making a vodka redolent of delicious apple flavor is the bees knees. I can see home cocktail-smiths and good bar keeps formulating all sorts of wonderful libations from this stuff. That said, I don't think it is a vodka that is purpose built to be swilled in the manner that I take my vodka. 

As I am weird and like to repurpose things, I have some idears for the rest of this bottle. I am growing a couple nice cabbages and I think this would be an excellent addition to some finished kraut. I also think it would bring a pleasantly sweet note to a vegetable pickle. 
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