Bodiesandplanet2

Crafting Artisan Vodka – Part 2

The previous article discussed the trend towards scaling down food production, this article explores the scaling up of vodka production within the global ethanol industry. The world is drinking more alcohol and much of it is vodka. Increasingly, vodka and other drinking spirits are being produced for a global market in ethanol plants, replacing traditional production in local small-batch distilleries. At Chopin Vodka, we take a distinctive approach to the way that vodka is made. We believe that vodka should be carefully crafted, not mass produced. We believe that the soil and the quality of the ingredients that we use in our distillation process matter. So, what is the ethanol industry and why is their spirit different from the vodka that we craft?

The ethanol industry began to take shape in the 1970s as a way to produce an alternative source of fuel – a hopeful starting-place for the problems of fossil fuel dependency and carbon monoxide emissions. Despite what might have been good intentions, the reality of producing ethanol as a ‘renewable fuel’ has produced some less-than-idyllic consequences. Although the percentage of industrial ethanol plants producing ‘drinking spirit’ is relatively small when compared to those for fuel, ethanol plants have begun to adapt their facilities in order to produce beverage-grade ethanol in addition to fuel. ‘Food-grade ethanol’ products range from vodka, gin, whisky, and bourbon to mouthwash and aftershave – creating a dependable fiscal buffer from the boisterous and unruly energy commodities market.

A steady flow of corn, sugar, grains and biomass is required in order to provide fodder for ethanol production. In the United States, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that 36 billion US gallons of renewable fuel is to be used annually by 2022. In November 2015, the daily production in the United States, over the period of a week, broke records at a herculean one million barrels of ethanol.

“‘Food-grade ethanol’ ranges from Vodka, Gin, Whisky, and Bourbon to mouthwash and aftershave…”

A serious concern with industrial ethanol production is that arable farmland is being significantly degraded by the cost-efficient monocropping techniques being used to produce ethanol crops. Monocropping is dependent upon chemical inputs to maintain its yields, and has an overall negative impact on the delicate ecology of soil and water ecosystems.

In addition to soil degradation, agriculture is now traded as an energy commodity on global stock markets – driving food prices up throughout the world. In 2007-08 there was a ‘world food price crisis’, attributed in significant part to the use of agriculture as a source of energy. People rioted across the world as the prices of daily staples slipped beyond their reach. The issue of using arable land for food vs fuel, in the context of global food insecurity, is a very complex and heated debate.

At the Chopin distillery vodka is not a commodity, it is an ‘art’. Making vodka is our passion and our way of life, and the way that Chopin crafts its vodkas celebrates soil health and responsible farming practices. In cultures across the world, alcohol plays an important role in social customs and traditions; for us, it seems like a travesty to have the rich cultural tradition of crafting vodka give way to the soulless mechanisation of large-scale production. We believe that it is important to toast the special moments in life with a drink worthy of the occasion.

  • summer-solstice-1

    Summer Solstice

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • 2 oz. Mango juice
    • 4 oz. Soda
    • Squeeze of lime

    Method

    Combine all ingredients except club soda in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a tall glass.
    Add ice and top with club soda.

  • 16Hot Chocolate 2 square crop

    Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients

    • 6 oz. Whole milk
    • 2 oz. 70% Cacao chocolate, chopped or grated
    • 2 oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • 1 oz. Cream
    • Pinch of cinnamon
    • Pinch of salt
    • Whipped cream

    Method

    Warm the milk over medium heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until melted. When smooth, whisk in the remaining milk and cream. Add a pinch of cinnamon and salt and heat until hot but do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the Dorda Liqueur. Serve with marshmallows or a dollop of unsweetened, chilled whipped cream.

  • 15 Polish Coffee 2 square crop (1)

    Polish Coffee

    Ingredients

    • 3 oz. Brewed coffee
    • 1 ½ oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • Whipped cream

    Method

    Stir freshly brewed hot coffee together with Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur in a glass mug. Top with freshly whipped cream. Add garnishes as desired; we like cacao nibs, chocolate-covered espresso beans or shaved chocolate.

  • 14 Dorda Truffle

    Dorda Truffle

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • 1 oz. Cointreau

    Method

    Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a chilled cocktail glass of your choice, over fresh ice.

  • 13 FullSizeRender 6

    Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur Neat

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur
    • Raspberries, to garnish

    Method

    We believe Dorda is best enjoyed like a dessert. Serve it neat, or shaken with ice, in a stemmed glass. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.

    Dorda Double Chocolate Liqueur is made with real chocolate, so always shake well before serving and store it at room temperature.

  • 11 Potato baltic cooler

    Mint-Lime Sparkler

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
    • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
    • 3 Slices of cucumber
    • 5 Mint sprigs
    • Club soda

    Method

    Muddle cucumber in a mixing glass. Add mint, muddle gently. Add vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake well, strain into a highball glass. Top with club soda.

  • 10 Wheat Ginger Mule

    Ginger Mule

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
    • 3 oz. Ginger beer

    Method

    In a cocktail shaker ¾ filled with ice, combine vodka and lime juice and shake until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a copper mug, filled with crushed ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with lime and mint.

  • 9 Wheat with cucumber

    Chopin Wheat on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Wheat Vodka
    • Cucumber (ribbons or wheels)

    Method

    Pour Chopin Wheat over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with cucumbers.

  • 8 Rye basil gimlet

    Basil Gimlet

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • 6 Fresh basil leaves (torn into strips)
    • ½ oz.  Fresh lime juice
    • Lime zest
    • ½ oz. Simple syrup

    Method

    Muddle basil, lime juice, lime zest, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the liquid to infuse with the basil flavor. Add the vodka, then fill the shaker ²/₃ with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

  • 7 Rye Bitter Sweet

    Chopin Bitter-Sweet

    Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • ½ oz. Grapefruit juice
    • ½ oz. Grenadine
    • ½ oz. Campari

    Method

    Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake vigorously, strain into rocks glass over ice. Garnish with grapefruit slice.

  • 6 Rye Bloody Mary

    Bloody Mary

    Ingredients

    • 6 oz. Bloody Mary mix (we love McClure’s and Motherlode Provisions)
    • 1 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka

    Method

    Fill a Collins glass with ice. Pour Chopin Rye then Bloody Mary mix into glass. Stir then finish with fresh cracked pepper and garnish to your taste.

  • 5 Rye with pepper olives

    Chopin Rye on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Rye Vodka
    • Olives stuffed with hot peppers

    Method

    Pour Chopin Rye over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with pepper-stuffed olives.

  • 3 Potato and rosemary

    Rosemary & Potato Martini

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • ½ oz. Dry Vermouth
    • 1 Bar spoon green olive juice
    • 3-4 Drops of high quality, fruity olive oil
    • Rosemary sprig and 1 green olive

    Method

    Fill a mixing glass ¾ with ice, add Chopin, vermouth, and olive juice. Using a bar spoon, stir for 30 seconds. Strain the martini into a chilled cocktail glass. Finish with a few drops of olive oil. Garnish with rosemary sprig and olive.

  • 2 Potato Dirty Martini

    Dirty Martini

    Ingredients

    • 2 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • ½ oz. Green olive brine
    • Olives freshly stuffed with bleu cheese (or soft cheese of your choice)

    Method

    Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with three olives.

  • 1 Potato with blue cheese olives

    Chopin Potato on the Rocks

    Ingredients

    • 1 ½ oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • Olives freshly stuffed with bleu cheese (or soft cheese of your choice)

    Method

    Pour Chopin Potato over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with bleu cheese olives.

  • 4 Potato sipping

    Chopin Potato Neat

    Ingredients

    • 1 oz. Chopin Potato Vodka
    • Snifter, Cordial or Cognac glass

    Method

    To fully experience Chopin Potato’s nuanced flavors, it is best served neat in a stemmed snifter glass.