Alameda’s Patron Saint of Vodka
St. George creates top-shelf artisanal spirits here in town
On a recent weekday, Alameda Sun staff received an interesting package specially delivered to their office. The box contained three 750-ml bottles of Alameda-distilled St. George vodkas. Each individually packed with care, the bottles cried out for the top shelf. The tall containers with labels styled after American currency lend a certain timeless quality to the vodkas that reflect St. George Spirits’ more than 30-year history of distilling at Alameda Point. St. George was a pioneering tenant of the Point’s recently designated Spirits Alley.
Needless to say, Sun staff appreciated the contributions to their liquor cabinets in the form of an all-purpose vodka, a green chile-flavored vodka and a citrus-flavored vodka. The all-purpose features the slightest hint of pear described as adding “gently floral top notes and the impression of subtle sweetness on the finish.”
To make the green chile vodka, St. George puts crushed jalapenos and lime peels in its 1,500-liter copper stills and distills the vodka through fresh cilantro. Then four other peppers are infused into the mix: Serrano, habanero, and red and yellow sweet peppers, yielding a liquid with a slight green tint and “just enough punch to make sure you know tens of thousands of pounds of green jalapenos were used to make it.”
The citrus vodka went home with co-publisher Eric J. Kos. Featuring the peels of California-grown Valencia, Seville and bergamot oranges, distilled separately and then combined with the non-GMO grain neutral spirit. The vodka is described as having an astonishingly clear citrus flavor, both sour and sweet.
“The drink I had based off the citrus vodka was awfully tasty,” said Kos. “Mixed with some other juices and some crushed ice, the flavor of oranges still floated up to the surface. And it was delicious.”
St. George also included a series of recipes to prepare with the three vodkas. Below are some examples.
2 oz St. George all-purpose vodka
3 oz ginger beer
1/2 oz of fresh lime juice
Shake vodka and lime juice with ice, then strain into a copper mug over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with lime.
The Best Bloody Mary
2 oz St. George green chile vodka
2 oz tomato juice
1/2 oz of fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp horseradish
2 or 3 dashes each hot sauce
and Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch each, salt, pepper
and celery salt
Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a celery stalk, pickled vegetables and a lemon slice.
1-1/2 oz St. George California
1/2 oz orange liqueur
3/4 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
Shake all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
St. George Spirits was founded in 1982 and has since diversified its portfolio to include vodkas, single malt whiskey, bourbon, agricole rum, absinthe and several gins, brandies and liquors. Its distillery is open to the public for tours and tastings and hosts around 25,000 visitors annually.
Find out more at www.stgeorgespirits.com.