It's no secret that vodka is a crowded space in the alcohol industry, often with differentiation between brands seeming to begin and end with the label. So when Vancouver native Gordon Glanz set out to develop a distillery in the Canadian city after studying the science and craft in Scotland, he knew it had to be special. Odd Society Spirits is a certified craft distillery—part of a growing movement in Vancouver—which requires that all spirits are made using ingredients from British Columbia. As a result, East Van Vodka is made entirely from malted barley grown in scenic Prince George. Copper pot stills (repurposed from a Swiss distiller) were modified for enhanced purity. A 15-foot column distiller removes the bulk of distractions from the vodka to allow for the raw ingredients to come to the forefront. The result is a spirit that—unlike most vodkas—is non-neutral and has floral tasting notes and a soft nose not usually found in vodka. Usually smooth, this single malt-like vodka goes best in pared-down cocktails that allow its flavor to show through.
Due in part to small-batch production, East Van Vodka is available only in BC where prices start at $36. If you're in Vancouver, stop by the brand's tasting room in the Downtown Eastside for a sample of their one-off spirits and a signature cocktail.
Photos by Hans Aschim