Photo courtesy of 1857 Spirits
1857 Spirits in Middleburgh crafts vodka that’s smooth as can be on land that once belonged to a Revolutionary War hero.
Dorcas Roehrs is often given a slew of reasons as to why someone doesn’t like vodka: It’s too harsh; it tastes too much like alcohol.. the list goes on and on. But nearly all of these vodkas are made out of corn and wheat mash, giving them the distinct afterburn that causes people to shy away from the spirit. That’s why she suggests that the purest vodka drinking experience comes from potato vodka; specifically, the one her family distills at 1857 Spirits.
Roehrs, president and partner of 1857 Spirits, attributes the creamy texture and vanilla-pear tasting notes to how the crops are rotated. “No crop is ever grown in the same place for three years,” she explains, “that’s what makes the potatoes so fabulous.”
Purchased from the family of Revolutionary War hero Timothy Murphy, the farm turned 164 years old this past March. On this historic land, Elias Barber, the sixth continuous generation on the farm, distills his small-batch vodka using spring water from the aquifer underneath the soil, marking the bottles with the year the potatoes were harvested and the batch number.
The crops are held in storage before undergoing an uncommon step in the distilling of potato vodka. Instead of starting out as freeze-dried, these potatoes are alive when the distilling begins, changing the entire flavor profile of the spirit and giving it that smooth finish.
“It’s a sipping vodka,” says Roehrs, “you can make a delicious cocktail out of it but the best way to experience all the flavors is to take it one sip at a time.”