The best vodka in the world is produced in Colorado. We’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.
This vodka is not from Russia, it’s not from the Czech Republic, it’s not from anywhere else that’s stereotyped for its predilection to vodka. It’s from Colorado.
Specifically, it’s from Basalt, a small town outside of Aspen. There resides Woody Creek Distillery, which has dedicated itself to what it dubs “The Return of Real.”
Ever since they entered the distillery trade, the founders have been in it to win it. They wanted to create a vodka that would win prestigious awards, and so far they’re succeeding—with flying colors. Most recently, the distillery won “Best Vodka” at San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition earlier this year.
Behind the World’s Best Spirits
The World Spirits Competition is the first international spirits judging to be held annually in the U.S. Now in its 15th year, it’s one of the most respected spirits competition in the world. (It’s also the largest.) Entrants are judged blind by elite spirits professionals. The 2015 competition garnered more than 1,580 entries, smashing entrance records in the process.
Woody Creek’s win is hardly a fluke. Not long after its flagship product won double-gold for “Best Vodka” at San Francisco’s competition, its Reserve Vodka won gold at the Denver International Spirits Competition.
On their website, the distillers at Woody Creek Distillery attribute their wins largely to their commitment to making “nothing but the finest craft spirits, each with a unique taste and character that was true to the origins of that spirit.”
Arguably, Colorado itself is largely responsible for the distillery’s ability to fulfill this mission. Virtually all of the distillery’s ingredients are locally sourced: Woody Creek grows and harvests many of their vodkas’ ingredients (including the potatoes) on their own farm, which is located a few miles from the distillery (Potatoes are mashed on the same day that they’re harvested). Those ingredients that they don’t grow themselves, such as rye, they source from Colorado farms.
Woody Creek is hardly the only place to catch on to the high quality of ingredients available in Colorado. The Centennial State currently boasts more than 50 distilleries, over 300 craft breweries, and a large number of wineries.
In Search of Coloradan Spirit
Tempted to try Woody Creek’s craft spirits in person? You’re in luck. The distillery opens its doors to visitors Tuesday-Saturday. There, vodka aficionados can avail themselves of the distillery’s tasting room and retail space. Tours are offered by appointment.
Stellar lodging options abound in nearby Aspen. Not sure where to start? Try the Mountain House Lodge near the Aspen Mountain’s slopes, the Aspen Mountain Resort for stunning views in the lap of luxury, the Little Nell for boutique elegance, or the Limelight Hotel Aspen, which combines contemporary design with high-end accommodations.
What if vodka isn’t your thing? As mentioned above, Colorado’s distillery scene is on the rise— meaning you’re likely to find high-quality whiskey, gin, and brandy (in addition to vodka) throughout the state. And of course, there’s always recreational marijuana.
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 7, 2015.