In my Made in the USA miniseries, I’ve been trying to focus on items that would be appropriate for holiday giving — and of course, a bottle of the good stuff is almost always welcome. Here is an award-winning American brew that I just learned about, and it looks good, indeed: Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Actually, I think I’m late to Tito’s party, because using their “where to buy” thingie, I see I can buy it at the (upscale) liquor store one block from my house. Sounds like it’s easy to get your hands on: Wrap some sparkly red-white-and-blue ribbons on the neck, pair it with Anne Taintor’s cocktail book (manufactured in China, alas), and you have the best hostess gift ever. Or, that pony would make a fun little stocking stuffer for the parental units.
Before you buy, though, be sure to check out Tito Handmade Vodka’s website — it is a hoot and a half — very well done! There is a Tito — Tito Beveridge, I’m not makin’ that up. On the About page, we get the back story — it is a lot of fun — yes, fun! — to read. Just a snippet from Tito:
I did ground water geology here and got in the mortgage business and it was when I was in the mortgage business that I started making flavored vodka for my friends for Christmas presents. That was in about i guess ’92, ’93. I was at a party one time and a stranger came up to me and said ‘Hey you’re the vodka guy’ and I was like no, contraire, I am the mortgage guy… At that point I went and started trying to learn about how to distill and you know it was pre-internet and so there really wasn’t any information about how to make it. It was almost like there had been a book burning at the library. I got a bunch of pictures of old moonshiners and looked at a bunch of those photos and then kinda from looking at all those photos kinda just built a still that kinda looked like those stills. And then just kinda started cooking in that and just trial and error’d. I just kept messing with it until I got to where everybody liked my vodka better than the other stuff you could buy at the time. I basically just kinda kept working at it and working at it.
I found Tito’s Handmade Vodka via the website usa-c.com, which offers a certification process for USA-made products. I continue data-mining that site, and others, for American-made nifty gifties.
Of course, while we’re talking Made in the USA booze, you can for sure also buy Kentucky whiskey, California wines, locally made beers and goodness knows what else is out there. DH and I went out to dinner at our favorite Italian dive on Saturday night. Hyped up by my Buy American stories, I made him order the IPA from Berkshire Brewing Company of Deerfield, Mass. It was fabulous, the 22-oz. bottle was perfect for us to split, and we were keeping a few extra dollars local. Doesn’t that photo at the right just make your thirsssssty?