The discerning bartenders’ vodka of choice
Serve Tito’s Handmade Vodka neat at room temperature or over ice, with a quality mixer and a twist of lime or use it as the core component of a vodka-based cocktail.
The story of this wonderful American micro-distillery is one of personal financial risk, endeavour and a near obsessive commitment to crafting an affordable premium vodka. Founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by Bert “Tito” Beveridge, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is America’s original craft vodka, and for many bartenders throughout the States and for those in the know elsewhere, its clean taste, subtle flavours and ease of infusion make it the vodka of choice.
In the early 1990s Tito was working in the mortgage business but had also been creating homemade flavoured vodka as gifts for friends. The mortgage market changed and Tito, being widely recognised as the vodka guy, dreamt of stepping out of the shadows and so with no chance of finance because of the Texas laws on distilling (there had never been a legal still in Texas prior to Tito’s) and a high risk of never obtaining a permit, he used his life savings and went on to max out credit cards to the tune of USD88,000 to build the original one-room distillery shack.
Working day and night, it was here where Tito perfected his corn-based recipe using the same pot still method employed to craft fine single malt whiskey and the very best cognacs. The pot still method is slower and more labour-intensive but the result Tito achieved was far smoother and flavoursome than its peers, which is one reason why bartenders and vodka aficionados love it.
Back in the 1990s the World Wide Web was in its infancy so Tito scoured libraries for books on distilling and pored over endless old still photos from the Prohibition era. The amassed information and knowledge he used to design and build the equipment and process; adapting, refining and perfecting to suit his desired goal of a clean tasting, reasonably priced premium vodka.
The first batches were made and sold to local outlets and friends. “I’d go out and make it and sell it and come back and make some more and, you know, I was sleeping next to the still and just kind of boot-strapped it up,” he says. It may have continued like this but his big break came with the unsolicited invitation to join the prestigious World Spirits Competition. “I was fixing the boiler so I just sent a couple of bottles and we ended up getting the double gold medal, the unanimous judge’s choice.”
Since then the award-winning gluten-free corn-based vodka has grown in stature and popularity. But despite incredible growth, the approach and driving principles have remained the same and Tito continues to batch-produce high quality vodka with the same artisanal commitment.
Tito’s flavour enhances both classic and the neo-craft cocktails so popular with the best bartenders; here’s a couple of very simple recipes for your bartender or to mix at home.
Tito’s All-Time Favourite
- 1.5oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 4oz sparkling mineral water
- Slice of orange and lime
- Simply combine Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the mineral water in a chilled lowball glass, top with ice, stir and garnish with slices of fresh orange and lemon.
Tito’s American Mule
- 1.5oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 0.5oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 3oz ginger beer
- Lime wedge
- Fill a chilled copper mug or lowball glass with crushed ice. Add Tito’s Handmade Vodka , lime juice and ginger beer, stir and garnish with a lime wedge.