by Laura Neilson
For those who prefer an "Appletini" that doesn't conjure a Jolly Rancher, Harvest Spirits' Core Apple Vodka is produced from real Hudson Valley apples (not potatoes or corn), and the flavor is far more delicate and subtle than most apple-infused spirits on the market.
Small-batch production began this spring when Derek Grout of Golden Harvest Orchards, opted to opted to make more than just cider and donuts with the farm's nearly limitless supply of apples. In a three week-long process, apple cider is first fermented with yeast to yield hard cider, which is then triple-distilled down to pure alcohol before being diluted with water and bottled. Although 20 gallons of apple cider are distilled down to one 750ml bottle of vodka, the flavor profile is deceptively un-apple-like.
Under the label Harvest Spirits, New York state's only farm-class distillery, Grout plans to release more apple-based spirits in the next few years, including gin, schnapps and brandy.
Each bottle of Core Vodka includes a small handwritten sticker on the front indicating its batch number. Since quantities are limited, stock up for holiday gifting. Core is available from Brooklyn's The Greene Grape for $37. For a list of availability, check out the Harvest Spirits website.