Wednesday Wine

My spirit of choice is vodka so I was thrilled to hear that Terry had an artisanal New England-made one to recommend. Vermont Gold Vodka is made, surprisingly, from the essence of Vermont – maple sap! Here’s Terry to tell you a bit more.

Although Vermont Gold Vodka is handmade in small batches from the sugar of maple sap, it is a pure, delicate, unflavored vodka. This is rather amazing considering that maple sap flows for less than six weeks each year.

This vodka is produced in St Johnsbury, Vermont from maple sap in a distillery that is seriously crunchy granola, even for Vermont. The operation is off the grid- no electricity hookups. The distillery has glass sides to maximize natural light for working. As someone from the Northeast and descended from a long line of maple syrup makers,  let me assure you that maple sap gathering is a time-and-labor intensive process. Anyone who has done it will respect what these people have accomplished (and not complain about the price).

“Our goal is to produce vodkas with flavor…not flavored vodkas, and we distill each batch with the spirits connoisseur and love of fine food in mind.” – Harry Gorman, Distiller, Vermont Spirits (above & shown gathering sap top)

One important note is this is a wheat/gluten free product (in fact entirely grain free – one of the few vodkas that can lay claim to that) so anyone with an intolerance to wheat should consider it as an alternative to many of the vodkas out there.

Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever or separation. Medium thick body. On swirling it leaves a a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass, then some beading (droplets) and legs forming.

First Impression: Maple sweetness with clean alcohol notes. You can tell at first whiff this is going to be a treat.

Taste: Sweet, thick, and slightly oily on the tongue, toasted wood and grain notes (carmelization of sugars) leading to a incredibly smooth taste like the lightest (and best) grade of maple sugar or the butter cream you can make from same with a wonderful warming alcohol tale to it. Almost a vodka malt syrup if one can imagine such a thing.

Drinks: I’ll cop out and quote from Duncan, the original distiller, he said it very succinctly: ‘Vermont Spirits Gold stands on its own alone. Let first-time tasters drink it neat at room temperature, in a clean glass with no ice. For a martini, shake it with ice and add nothing but a twist of fresh, preferably organic lemon.”

For mixed drinks that feature fruit juice, vermouth or Kahlúa, use another vodka. My suggestion might be to try it with a flamed twist to caramelize the lemon oil a bit. Another suggestion is if you are making a petit punch (rum, cane syrup, wedge of lime, one ice cube) use this instead of the cane.

Bottle: Distinctive, in that it is tall, rectangular, bright clear glass with rounded shoulders, and NO frosting unlike the sea of others. The bottle has changed in that they no longer use a hand dipped wax seal to finish the bottle anymore – they use a simpler metal foil cap instead – which we personally think is a pity. Simple graphics silkscreened or printed directly onto the glass. Gold maple leaf shows through back to front to distinguish the ingredients. Nice heft to the bottle and a good grade of clear glass with nice foot to it. Bottle was imported from France and is of very high quality – lovely sparkling glass to showcase an excellent product.

Final Thoughts: Finally, a high end vodka that is clearly worth the money on merit, not name or just plain greed. This vodka has both a ingredient and quality class that is singular. There is no other vodka that uses these ingredients or has a similar taste profile.

And now for the best part – some fabulous recipes created for Vermont gold lovers:

Liberation Libation 
2 oz Vermont Gold 
1/2 oz maple syrup
1-1/2 oz non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider
Chill over ice, strain and service in a cinnamon-sugar rimmed martini glass!
Green Mountain Fizz
1-1/2 Vermont Gold
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 oz cream
1/4 oz grade A dark amber maple syrup
1 egg white
3 drops orange flower water
Chilled club soda, mint leaf
Shake all ingredients except for orange flower water and club soda WITHOUT ice for about one minute. Add ice and shake again very well for another minute. Strain ingredients into a tall glass without ice. Top with club soda. Gently place the 3 drops of orange flower water atop the froth and gently float 1 tsp maple syrup. Garnish with mint leaf.
Gold Rush
2 oz Vermont Gold
1/4 oz Chambord
Dry Champagne
Shake Vermont Gold and Chambord, strain and pour into a champagne glass. Top with the bubbly. Garnish with a generous twist of lemon.

Thanks Terry – I can’t wait to try it – I love supporting these American made artisanal products!!

19 thoughts on “Wednesday Wine

  1. I know that I shouldn’t complain as I can get wine a plenty but why oh why can’t I get good vodka in France? Truly, it is impossible, let alone something of this caliber and quality. It has to be delicious.

  2. Wow – this sounds amazing. I’ve never heard of maple vodka and I’m completely intrigued!

    I’m hosting a giveaway for a pair of Jeffrey Campbell oxfords. If you have a minute, swing by and enter!


  3. This is an industry that has exploded! So interesting to see how this brand is put together. When I go into a beverage shop these days the vodka aisle looks like the cereal aisle. Funny how that came about so quickly.

  4. That would be an incredible tour to go along on a maple-tapping experience! We would love that! The bottle designs are just gorgeous. This would make such a nice gift for my husband…

  5. Wow talk about vodka with a twist, this sounds heavenly. It seems like there are as many brands of vodka as there are cookies and cereal, its crazy!! This sounds like something I would like to try however, as I love the taste of maple..thanks for the intro.

  6. I agree: vodka is my spirit of choice…but it has to be flavored. yes, I have succumbed. Lemon has been #1, but I will have to try this. (That “Gold Rush” sound fabulous!) Do you think I can get it down South, in N.Carolina??? Will let you know!

  7. Fascinating! Is it wrong that as I read this over breakfast, I’m thinking that martini made with Vermont Gold Vodka would be just the thing! We’re planning a family reunion in Vermont — a field trip to St. Johnsbury may be in order. Thanks for turning the spotlight onto artisanal spirits this week.

  8. I think it is time for The Q to branch out… tastings perhaps?!
    This looks wonderful, and while I hate to admit it, the packaging is gorgeous and I would give this a go ahead on that alone. Yes, I do judge a book by it’s cover, or a bottle by its label!

  9. Ditto, I’m a wine and vodka person. I live forty minutes away from Vermont and have never heard of this vodka, what is up with that? I’ll have to go check out a speciality store and see if they carry it.

    In reply to snippets of thyme: There are no maple tapping tours since everyone taps trees and runs lines from one tree to the next, it’s common place in New England. So if you’re interested in seeing take a drive around here in very early spring before the leaves come out that’s when sap runs.

  10. Not shocking but I don’t know that I’ve ever tasted vodka. I know I’ve never had it straight, perhaps in a mixed drink or something. I’m intrigued. I also do not like maple flavor, my husband, however, loves it so I think he would like that Liberation Libation and I would like to try the Gold Rush.

  11. Oh this is incredible, my appetite is totally whetted, a Vodka from Vermont, I would not have thought it possible. I have a friend who sends me syrup from Vermont each year, this is just fascinating.

  12. There is one craft that really intrigues me and that is the making of spirits, and beer. The process, the ingredients, the love and skill that goes into every bottle. Even the label and shape/color of the bottle appeals to me. My eldest daughter just accepted a job with Rogue Brewery in Portland, OR. It has been her dream job for some time, and I look forward to learning more about the brewery myself. Vermont Gold appeals to all my senses; the fact it’s hand-crafted, comes from Vermont and it’s made with maple sap. The recipes look so incredibly good, that I for one will be sampling. Thank you for contributing to my fascination with alcohol! Thanks too for your great comment today, very appreciated.
    x Deb

  13. I love that this vodka is from Vermont, one of my very favorite places! This story was very interesting and I really appreciate the recipes. Can’t wait to try them!

  14. This vodka sounds destined for the top shelf on many home bars. Spirits distilled from maple syrup, gluten free and handcrafted by artisans in the USA is a pretty unique combination. Cocktail recipes look delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *