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Cold River Vodka

Cold River Distinctive
Maine Potato Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

It's hard to imagine a more idyllic place to distill vodka than in Freeport, Maine, a picture perfect slice of America located just north of Portland. It's there that 4 men set out to craft a handmade spirit that would embody the pristine character of Maine. Succeed they did and in November 2005, they launched Cold River Distinctive Maine Potato Vodka.

The artisanal, small batch spirit is triple-distilled from locally grown potatoes and spring water drawn from an underground aquifer fed by the nearby Cold River. Instead of relying on a more conventional, stainless steel pot still, Chris Dowe, head distiller, has the opportunity to ply his trade with a traditional, copper alembic still. Its composition and design produces a significantly cleaner and more flavorful spirit. The vodka's essential purity out of the still means that it requires only minimal filtering before being bottled, leaving its inherent character intact.

Cold River deserves both its critical acclaim and growing celebrity status. The crystal clear spirit has a medium-weight, lushly textured body and a semisweet, floral and vegetal bouquet. Its initial approach is quite warm, yet peaks well below hot, leaving behind the lingering flavors of cocoa, caramel and toffee. The flawless finish caps off the experience.

Cold River Vodka is quite the accomplishment. Although potatoes contain more fermentable sugars than an equal amount of grain, they are considerably more expensive and technically challenging to distill. The difficulty involved making potato vodka has only fueled demand in general and Cold River in particular.