Between 50-year-old whiskey and 19th-century curaçao, vodka has a tendency to fall by the wayside in our hunt for sipping spirits, but a recent encounter wtih Oola's flavored vodkas has certainly changed that. Oola, a micro-distillery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, operates under a "grain-to-glass" mantra—a selling point that comes through in the rawness of the spirits, which in the case of vodka means locally sourced wheat and charcoal filtration. Mild varieties of pepper, citrus and rosemary infusions wake up the palate with bright and clean expressions, and ingredients are clearly top notch. Flavors of locally grown Hungarian goathorn peppers come through complex and blazing in Oola's pepper vodka, and hand-harvested herbs round out the tangy sweetness of the citrus spirit.
Oola offers an easy alternative to DIY infusions with a similar hand-crafted character. The spirits can be used to spice up a Bloody Mary with hot peppers, make the perfect vodka sour with a citrus bouquet or bring a savory rosemary element to your favorite cocktail. Learn more about the line and arrange to visit the bustling distillery—where they also produce gin and whiskey—at Oola's website.
Images by Graham Hiemstra