Yes, a vodka. This is a category I usually don’t have much to say about. (“Um, crisp and clear! Tastes like ethanol.”) But this vodka, made in Alaska, is distilled from a mix of 20 percent denatured hemp seeds from British Columbia, and 80 percent barley. I assumed this was yet another marketing gimmick, something to convince stoners to put down their bongs and try a cocktail.
But…. it’s actually quite good. (It won the convention's “best new product” as voted by the media attending.) One of the issues I have with vodka is that I find it often lacks depth — it’s all surface taste. Yet Purgatory had layers and performed some curious acrobatics in the mouth without denying its vodka roots. (I’ve had other interesting vodkas, but the makers were imitating rum by playing up a carmelized, butterscotch note.) I brought back a bottle, and will be endeavoring to learn more about what to do with it in cocktails in the coming days.
[Note: this is one of a series of posts arising from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers convention, held in Las Vegas April 2 to 5, 2012. For an overview, read this.]