Is organic vodka just a gimmick? Not when you consider the organic farmland used to produce it.
Recently, I attended launch events for two USDA-certified organic vodkas: Moon Mountain vodka and American Harvest vodka, both small-batch, handcrafted spirits free of pesticides, additives, and other non-organic nasties. I love a good cocktail, but to be honest, I’m not that discerning when it comes to vodka; the idea is for vodka to taste “clean” and smooth, so different vodkas don’t really vary that much on my palate when tasted straight. That begs the question: Why bother with organic vodka? Is it really better, or is organic vodka just a marketing gimmick?
Although aficionados of fine spirits may disagree, for me the point of organic vodka isn’t primarily about taste; it’s about organic. Even with all the efforts of organic visionaries during the past few decades, current data still shows that less than 1 percent of all U.S. farmland is certified organic, according to the Organic Trade Association. But liquor sales continue to rise (now that we’ve been comforted through the economic downturn, it’s time to celebrate the economic recovery!), and vodka leads the way in sales among all spirits, with 5.2 percent growth last year, according to Beverage Industry. Ergo: Organic vodka means a lot of organic wheat and corn fields that otherwise would be conventionally grown, pumped full of pesticides and herbicides that end up in our soil and water. Not only that: Both Moon Mountain and American Harvest are grown and processed right here in the U.S.--representing a much lighter carbon footprint than imported vodkas (and more jobs to fuel the economy--see the positive feedback loop here?).
And yes, both Moon Mountain and American Harvest tasted fabulous in my expertly combined cocktails. So when you choose organic vodka or other organic spirit (in moderation of course), remember that you’re supporting more acres of pesticide-free, certified organic wheat and corn cropland. That’s what I call a clean taste.
1 ounce Moon Mountain Vodka
1/2 ounce French aperitif wine
1/4 ounce Italian herbal liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
Dash of grapefruit bitters
Lemon and lime twist
1. Combine Moon Mountain Vodka, French aperitif wine, Italian herbal liqueur, lemon juice, agave nectar, grapefruit bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain over a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with soda and garnish with a lemon twist.