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Nominated for Tales of the Cocktail 2008 Spirit Award for Best Cocktail Writing


Vermont Spirits White Vodka and Gold Vodka PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Vermont Spirits White Vodka and Vermont Spirits Gold VodkaHaving spent many years skiing in Vermont, the image I have is one of wholesomeness, majestic mountains, maple syrup, and dairy products; after tasting Vermont Spirits White Vodka and Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, I found another reason why I love Vermont. Ingeniously incorporating 100% milk sugar in the Vermont Spirits White Vodka and 100% maple sap in the Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, Vermont Spirits Vodkas are unlike other vodkas, and with every sip I could taste the goodness of the region.


While vodka is made from a wide range of ingredients including wheat, rye, and potatoes, this was the first time that I had heard of anyone making vodka from milk sugar or from maple sap. Speaking with Steve Johnson, President of Vermont Spirits, I not only learned about Vermont Spirits Vodkas but also about the process of obtaining maple sap, that when boiled creates maple syrup, which is almost magical. If you have never seen this process done, it is rather hard to imagine that a tree could yield such sweetness that no self-respecting waffle or pancake would ever be served without.

Harry Gorman Installing a New Tap at Vermont Spirits
Harry Gorman Installing a New Tap

This incredible process of "sugaring" as it is called, takes place in the early spring, usually around March, after there has been a hard freeze followed by several days of thawing with temperatures rising above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4+ degrees Celsius), which starts the sap flowing in the trees. During this special time, Vermont Spirits Distiller, Harry Gorman, installs taps into their nearby maple trees to collect the sap, which he uses to create Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka. The sap will continue to flow for approximately three to four weeks depending on optimum conditions of nighttime temperatures dropping to around freezing followed by warmer daytime temperatures. The amount of sap that a tree yields each year is highly dependent on weather conditions as well as the amount of rainfall that the tree received, and as terroir affects wine, terroir is also a factor in maple sap.

Vermont Spirits White VodkaVermont Spirits White Vodka, 40% ABV, (80 proof), is made from 100% pure milk sugar and Vermont spring water. It is a super-premium artisanal vodka, that is made is small batches and quadruple distilled. Vermont Spirits White Vodka comes in an impressive, French glass bottle with a white cow that was designed by Vermont artist, Mary Simpson.

Tasting Notes: The Vermont Spirits White Vodka is pristine, with a delicate hint of sweet perfume on the nose, followed by a smooth lusciousness and creamy finish. The Vermont Spirits White Vodka may be enjoyed chilled or in a variety of cocktail and culinary recipes.

Vermont Spirits Gold VodkaVermont Spirits Gold Vodka, 40% ABV, (80 proof) is made from maple sap and Vermont spring water in small batches that is triple distilled and only lightly filtered to maintain its maple essence. Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka comes in an impressive, French glass bottle with a large gold maple leaf design.

Tasting Notes: The Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka is a well-crafted vodka that delivers what it promises, namely a delectable heavenly maple nose that matures on the palate providing gorgeous maple flavor and a sensuous, velvety mouthfeel finish. The Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka deserves to be sipped and enjoyed chilled or over ice, although with its rich flavor, it is a perfect ingredient for sophisticated cocktails.

To capture the spirit of Vermont, and of Vermont Spirits White and Gold Vodkas, I created a special Taste of Vermont Menu with tasty cocktail recipes and decadent culinary recipes that play up the bounty of the region. Bon Appetit!

Luxury Experience's Taste of Vermont Menu

Luxury Experience's Summer Flirt Cocktail

Luxury Experience's Lobster, Fish, and Corn Chowder Kissed
with Vermont Spirits White Vodka

Luxury Experience's Apple Pie with Tipsy Raisins and
Vermont Spirited Apple Ice Cream,
Cooked, Stirred, but Not Shaken

Luxury Experience's Monkey Business Cocktail

Luxury Experience's Autumn Gold Martini

The Cocktail Recipes

The waning days of summer was my inspiration for Luxury Experience's Summer Flirt, a light and refreshing cocktail made with Vermont Spirits White Vodka, watermelon juice, lime juice, homemade mint simple syrup, and Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters, that is a lovely celebration of that perfect summer memory.

Luxury Experience Summer Flirt  - Photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience's Summer Flirt 
Yield:                 1 Cocktail 
Glass Used:       Rocks Glass

1.5 Ounces Vermont Spirits White Vodka
2.0 Ounces Watermelon Juice, freshly juiced
0.5 Ounce Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
0.5 Ounce Mint Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
5 Dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
    Mint for garnish

Method for Mint Simple Syrup: In a large saucepan, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and sprigs of mint. Bring mixture to a boil and then let simmer to dissolve sugar for 2 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for a few hours, and then store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready to use. Will hold for several weeks in the refrigerator.

Method for Cocktail: Add the Vermont Spirits White Vodka, watermelon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters to a large mixing glass. Shake with 4 ice cubes, and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Vermont Spirits White Vodka has a sweet and creamy finish that worked beautifully in Luxury Experience's Monkey Business, a palate pleasing cocktail that is a blend of Vermont Spirits White Vodka, fresh bananas muddled with maple syrup, banana liqueur, Half & Half (or light cream), and dusted with nutmeg, that is wonderful to serve at Brunch to pair with delicately golden waffles served with hot maple syrup and praline pecans, or to serve as a dessert cocktail.

Luxury Experience Monkey Business - Photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience's Monkey Business 
Yield:                 1 Cocktail
Glass Used:       Martini Glass

1.5 Ounces Vermont Spirits White Vodka
0.5 Ounce Banana Liqueur
1 Inch Fresh Banana
2 Teaspoons Maple Syrup
2 Ounces Half & Half (or light cream)
    Banana slice for garnish

Method for Cocktail: Chill Martini glass and set aside. In a large mixing glass, add the banana and maple syrup and muddle until the banana is smoothly blended with the syrup. Add the Vermont Spirits White Vodka, banana liqueur, Half & Half, and 4 ice cubes, shake hard until shaker is frosty; strain into Martini glass, dust lightly with nutmeg, and garnish with slice of banana.

Fall in Vermont brings cooler temperatures and the maple leaves begin their transformation from green to gold and crimson, which was the inspiration for Luxury Experience's Autumn Gold Martini, a sophisticated cocktail made with Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, Grand Marnier, Extra Dry Vermouth, maple syrup, and garnished with a maple leaf candy that will slowly impart flavor to the cocktail.

Luxury Experience Autumn Gold Martini - Photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience's Autumn Gold Martini 
Yield:                 1 Cocktail
Glass Used:       Martini Glass

2.0 Ounces Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka
0.5 Ounce Grand Marnier
0.5 Ounce Extra Dry Vermouth
0.25 Teaspoon Maple Syrup
    Maple Leaf Candy for garnish

Method for Cocktail: Chill Martini glass and set aside. Place the maple leaf candy in the bottom of the glass. In a large mixing glass, add the Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, Grand Marnier, Extra Dry Vermouth, maple syrup, and 4 ice cubes, shake hard until shaker is frosty and ice is incorporated into drink; strain into Martini glass.

The Culinary Recipes

Luxury Experience Lobster and Fish Chowder - Photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience's Lobster, Fish, and Corn Chowder Kissed with Vermont Spirits White Vodka
For 4 Persons

Ingredients for the Stock:

2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup Celery, diced
1 Cup Onion, diced
    Freshly Ground Black Pepper
0.5 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1   Lobster carcass (lobster cooked with meat removed), slice lobster tail into medallions, reserve claw meat for the chowder)
8 Cups Water
3   Bay Leaves

Method: Melt butter in large saucepan, then add celery, onion, black pepper, and sea salt, cover saucepan and sweat the celery and onions until liquid is evaporated. Add lobster carcass to the saucepan, add water and bay leaves, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 45 minutes to reduce stock by half (4 cups). Strain and reserve liquid, discard the rest.

Ingredients for Lobster and Fish Chowder:

2 Tablespoons Butter
0.25 Cup Celery, finely diced
0.25 Cup Onion, finely diced
8 Ounces Fish Filets, diced (boneless, skinless) (226 grams)
2 Cups Potatoes, diced (284 grams), boiled until tender
1 Ear Corn on the Cob, kernels removed
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
6 Ounces Half & Half (or light cream) (177 ml)

Method: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan, add celery and onion and sauté until translucent. Add 4 cups of lobster stock and fish. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add corn and simmer for additional 5 minutes. Add cooked potatoes and lobster meat, except the claw, which will be sliced lengthwise and used as garnish.

In a small saucepan, melt 1-tablespoon butter, add 2 tablespoons flour and stir to combine. Slowly whisk in 6 ounces of Half & Half until mixture is smooth. Add to chowder and stir to incorporate. Let cool and then refrigerate for a few hours to let flavors meld.

Serving time:  Heat chowder, but do not allow the chowder to boil. Remove from heat and add 1.5 ounces of Vermont Spirits White Vodka and stir to combine. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with a slice of lobster claw and chopped chives. Serve with warm cornbread muffins.

Edward F. Nesta and I teamed up to created the sweet finale to Luxury Experience's Taste of Vermont Menu. Edward is Luxury Experience's master ice cream maker, and after tasting the Vermont Spirits White Vodka with its lingering hint of creaminess, he knew that it would make a wonderful ice cream. Using apples and maple syrup as his muses, he created Luxury Experience's Vermont Spirited Apple Ice Cream, Cooked, Stirred, but Not Shaken. To complement his ice cream, I created Luxury Experience's Apple Pie with Tipsy Raisins.

Luxury Experience Apple Pie and Ice Cream - Photo by Luxury Experience

Luxury Experience's Apple Pie with Tipsy Raisins and Vermont Spirited Apple Ice Cream, Cooked, Stirred, but Not Shaken  

Ingredients for the Tipsy Raisins:

0.25 Cup Raisins
1 Ounce Vermont Spirits White Vodka

Method: Add raisins and Vermont Spirits White Vodka to a covered jar. Shake to coat raisins. Let sit for several hours or overnight.

Ingredients for the Pie Filling:

4   Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
    Tipsy Raisins

Method: Toss Granny Smith apples with maple syrup, and raisins. 

The flaky pastry recipe has been adapted from a recipe that my mother, Victoria V. Argen, has used for many years, which I updated by decadently replacing water with Vermont Spirits White Vodka.

Ingredients for the Pastry:

2.75 Cups Flour
0.75 Cup Crisco shortening
1 Teaspoon Salt
5 Tablespoons Vermont Spirits White Vodka, chilled

Method:  In a food processor, add flour, shortening, and salt. Process until mixture is crumbly. Add chilled vodka by the tablespoon and process until dough starts to hold together. Do not over process. Roll dough out between sheets of parchment paper to create 2 pastry rounds. Carefully transfer dough to a pie plate, fill pastry with apples and raisins, and cover with layer of dough and crisp edges.

Use a leaf cookie cutter to cut leaves from the remaining dough, place on a baking sheet, and sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Bake the pie and pastry leaves in a preheated oven at 350° F (177° C) until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm from the oven with the ice cream.

Luxury Experience's Vermont Spirited Apple Ice Cream, Cooked, Stirred, but Not Shaken 
Yield:     1 Quart   

Ingredients for the Ice Cream:

3   Eggs
2 Cups Whole Milk
2 Cups Heavy Cream
0.5 Cup Maple Syrup

Method: Beat eggs and milk together in a large saucepan. Add sugar and maple syrup. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until thickened (just starting to boil); approximately 10 minutes. Mixture should coat the spoon. Let cool, and then add heavy cream. Refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients for the Vermont Spirited Apples:

3   Granny Smith Apples, diced (to equal 3 cups)
1 Ounce Vermont Spirits White Vodka
1 Ounce Maple Syrup
  Pinch Salt

Method: Butter covered casserole dish, add apples, Vermont Spirits White Vodka, maple syrup, and salt. Stir to combine. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° F (177° C) until apples are very tender, approximately 30-35 minutes. Set aside and let cool at room temperature. When cool, add 3 ounces of Vermont Spirits White Vodka and chill overnight.   

Method for the Ice Cream: Process batter in ice cream maker until it just starts to firm up, add apple mixture and continuing processing until thoroughly mixed and firm. Remove mixture to a container to freeze.   

Method for Maple Sauce: Mix equal parts of maple syrup and condensed milk. Heat in microwave for 1 minute; watch carefully so the mixture does not boil over. Set aside to cool. Pour into squeeze bottle.     

Presentation: On a large plate, decoratively swirl sauce, add apple pie and ice cream, and garnish with pastry leaves. Serve with a glass of chilled Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka, or with Luxury Experience's Monkey Business Cocktail or Luxury Experience's Autumn Gold Martini.

For more information on Vermont Spirits  please visit the website: www.VermontSpirits.com.

Vermont Spirits - Artisanal Vodka from Vermont

Vermont Spirits, Inc.
P.O. Box 272
St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819
United States
Telephone:      +1 203-622-6314
Toll-Free:        +1 866-99-VODKA
Fax:                 +1 203-621-3159
Email:             
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  
Website:        
www.VermontSpirits.com 

© September 2009. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

 
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