Originally posted on 7/23/2012
The nice folks at Phillips Distilling Company saw fit to present me with a bottle of their new Prairie Organic Vodka. How does one say, "Why, thank you!" in Russian, anyway? Spasibo!
I'm of the vodka is vodka school of thought. I've tasted harsh and I've tasted smooth, but the only time I was truly able to detect a flavour - vanilla and grass - it was in bison grass vodka from Poland. Otherwise, nothing.
So, I thought I'd take this beautiful bottle and introduce it to a whole bunch of Niagara tart cherries gifted to me by friend, Jennifer Hart, of Flat Rock Cellars. I've put them together - I just know they'll play nice! - and I'll be checking in from time to time.
What I'm hoping for is a sexy pink hue and subtle but really there cherry flavour. And then I'm going to craft my Prairie Cherry cocktail!
I left the pits in, hoping that they may impart a hint o' bitter almond courtesy of the stones.
But first, a message from out sponsor:
"This artisanal vodka is clean, smooth and hand-crafted. Prairie Organic Vodka is the result of a unique partnership between a fifth-generation distilled spirits company and a co-op of over 900 Minnesota farmers who are stakeholders in the brand.
It begins with certified organic #2 yellow corn raised by the farmers who own the distillery. The corn is distilled in limited quantities in Benson, Minnesota, not far from the fields of its origin. Each batch is distilled four to six times (as opposed to a predetermined number of distillations) to yield the desired character and smoothness.
In order to be certified organic by the USDA, the growing process cannot use genetically modified seeds, artificial fertilizers, hormones, weed controllers, or pesticides. In the spirit of self-reliance, the distillery converts leftover corncobs and other biomass to create biogas energy for powering the stills and returns distillers grains, a co-product of distillation, to farms for reuse as feed. And because Prairie is crafted many thousand miles closer than imported brands, far less petroleum is consumed to bring the vodka to market.
Prairie Vodka is one of only a handful of spirits certified kosher by The Orthodox Union and organic by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) which requires that the entire process, from the field all the way to the shelf, be completely free of synthetic chemicals, pesticides and genetically modified seeds and enzymes.
It’s a lot more work for the farmers at a much steeper expense. In fact, Prairie’s organic corn costs more than twice as much as conventionally farmed corn but the result is well worth it; a natural and ideal base for making luxury organic vodka. Prairie is made with great respect for people and communities.
Prairie Vodka is beautifully smooth. With hints of melon and pear on the nose, creaminess on the palate, and a bright, smooth finish.
Corn kernels are removed, dried, then milled and blended with water.
The leftover cobs and other biomass are converted to biogas energy for heating the stills.
Natural enzymes are added to convert starches to sugar, then natural yeast converts the sugar to carbonic acid and alcohol.
Alcohol is removed via column distillation, and leftover distillers grains are returned to farms for re-use as feed.
Accolades & Best New Vodka Awards:
Voted #1 Domestic Vodka by The Fifty Best, receiving a Double-Gold Medal; 2011
Double Gold Medal at San Francisco World Spirit Competition; 2009 & 2011
Gold Medal Winner at the L.A. International Wine & Spirits Competition; 2008
Platinum - World Spirits Competition
Named Best New Vodka by Food & Wine Magazine; 2009
Awarded 92 points in Wine Enthusiast; 2011
Pricing and Availability:
British Columbia (Product # 594457) – $39.99
Alberta (Product # 733424) – approx. $35.49
Ontario (Product # 115980) – $39.95
Originally posted on 8/8/2012"
Did you get all that? Anyhoo, after a couple of weeks, the cherries have given up their colour, sweetness and the pits have infused the vodka with the flavour of marzipan. I wonder how much arsenic is in this stuff now?
....then draining (and eating) the cherries...
...this is what I got. Look at the gorgeous colour of this stuff now! So pretty! I wish you could taste it. It's sweet and tastes like a maraschino cherry wrapped in a wee blanket of marzipan.
My next stage will be the making of the cocktail or 'tini. I'm thinking this, shaken with ice and some cream de cacao and a nut liqueur of some sort, and I might have myself a Cherry Blossom....or the Prairie Cherry - I'm going to invent that drink...eventually....
TIP: if you want to pit cherries but don't own a proper pitter, try this little DIY set up: you'll need a straw and a bottle with a neck smaller than the cherries, but wider than the pits. You'll figure it out! Works like a charm!