In My Life, I've Loved Them All

A Great Find: Titos Handmade Vodka

World’s smoothest vodka is from Texas… правда?

Bats in Austin, TexasI was I was watching the Food Network this morning, and Giada DeLaurentiis was touring/eating her way around Austin Texas. It was amusing to see her fascination with Chicken Fried Steak and real BBQ that doesn’t have sauce on it. She also enjoyed a “Batini” while watching the Mexican Freetail Bats fly into the night from underneath the Congress Street Bridge. This award winning Martini is made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a brand my father immediately recognized. He knew it was distilled locally and was incredibly smooth.

Tito's Handmade VodkaWith a little research, we found out that Tito’s Vodka is quite famous, considering this modest distillery has only been open 10 years, and is found deep in the heart of Texas. Tito’s is actually the 1st legal distillery in the state of Texas! This little fact was a key contributor to their marketing success… the American dream of a simple mortgage banker/geologist turning a hobby into a world class potent potable is excellent news fodder, and Titos has enjoyed lots of great PR from major Networks like CNN, on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. The WALL STREET JOURNAL, NIGHTCLUB-BAR and FORTUNE give this handmade vodka reviews like “so luxuriously smooth”, “can go head to head with any of the world’s greats and not break a sweat”, and “a vodka of world class proportions”. The BUZZ turns into word-of-mouth advertising, which is free yet priceless. The combination of a lot marketing expenditure/good reputation/quality product/simple packaging/no import tax helps Tito keep their Vodka prices low and affordable.

Watch the CNBC video here

Wikipedia: Tito’s Handmade Vodka is a vodka produced in Austin, Texas, created by Bert Butler “Tito” Beveridge. Distilled six times, Tito’s Vodka is made from yellow corn, instead of the more common wheat or potatoes, resulting in a mildly sweet aftertaste.

Commercial production began in 1997 when Beveridge formed Fifth Generation Inc., becoming the first (and only) legal distillery in Texas and producing just 1,000 cases that year.

Despite a lack of commercial advertising, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has gained market share thanks to some prestigious awards, affordable pricing, and word of mouth advertising. Currently, it is distributed coast-to-coast across North America and Canada with production now nearing a half-million cases. Sales and distribution boomed in 2001 after Tito’s Handmade Vodka unanimously won the Double Gold Medal for vodka at the World Spirit’s Competition in San Francisco, beating out 71 other high-priced vodkas. Also that year, it received a four-star ranking from Spirit Journal, the only vodka to do so.

Despite the growing distribution, Tito’s Vodka employs fewer than 10 people and is still handmade in small batches.

Ask for TITO’S the next time you visit a bar/liquor store! It’s available in 40 states so far (not yet international). Cheers!

Batini with Titos VodkaOh, and here is the recipe for the Batini, courtesy of the Four Seasons in Austin:

2 ounces vodka (recommended: Tito’s Handmade Vodka)
1/2 ounce blue curacao
10 fresh blackberries
Splash simple syrup
Splash grapefruit juice
Splash Champagne
Blackberry and bat-shaped mint, for garnish

Add vodka, blue curacao, blackberries, simple syrup and grapefruit juice to a martini shaker and shake vigorously until the drink turns a deep purple. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with a splash of champagne. Garnish with a blackberry and a bat-shaped mint.

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