Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tito's Handmade Vodka offers craftmanship, quality, and value

I have been eyeballing Tito's vodka for quite some time. Its front label claims of being "Handmade" "Distilled 6 Times" and "Crafted in old fashioned pot still by Texas' first and only distillery" peeked my curiosity, while its questionably low price tag raised my suspicions. Can a spirit be hand crafted and priced at $18. This must have been a ploy by a massive liquor firm to push cheep vodka on unsuspecting Texans. Then there’s Texas. What do Texans know about vodka? Still, for 18 bones I figured it’s worth a shot. Soon after cracking open the bottle, I realized I just stumbled on the best QPR in the liquor store, and maybe the industry.

This vodka is the smoothest I have ever had, easily beating out industry sweetheart Grey Goose ($32) and our previous favorite Reyka ($27) from Iceland. In many ways though, smooth is a total cop out on a tasting note. With Tito's, however, it really allows the nuanced flavors to be pronounced without being masked by vodka’s trade mark rubbing alcohol nose.

Tito's Handmade Vodka - Tasting Notes
100% corn vodka; distilled 6 times in pot still; 80 proof.

"Nose is soft and reminiscent of citrus peel pith. Medium mouth feel with gentle peppery burn and slight sweetness. The finish is long, peppery, and pleasant. This vodka is better at room temperature, so keep it out of the icebox. Drink neat or on the rocks with a squeeze of lime." – LB

The story of Tito and his vodka is the kind of thing we don’t see enough, a true craftsman and his art. No fancy ads or endorsements, just hard work and a fine product. It all started in the 90s when Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge (his real last name, seriously) quit his office job to start the first legal distillery in Texas. After failing to get interest from investors, Tito spent his savings and maxed out his credit cards to build a single pot still in an old barn outside of Austin. Starting with just one employee and a marketing strategy based completely on word of mouth, the distillery grew from 1,000 cases and one still in 1997 to 160,000 cases from ten stills today. Tito’s vodka is highly regarded and has won several spirits competitions. For more information, including videos, press, history, and even country music written and recorded by Tito (who needs to stick to his day job at the distillery) check out the official website:

You may have trouble finding Tito’s at your local liquor store or bar, since production is still relatively small. As always, talk to the manager and see if they can start carrying it. You may need to be armed with the name of your local Tito’s distributor which you can find on the web site. If all else fails, hit the internet. This vodka really is worth the seeking out. It is, afterall, the Bo Brothers house vodka.

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