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Death's Door Vodka

Death's Door Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

Washington Island is located just 7 miles off the tip of Wisconsin's Door County Peninsula. The island is a pastoral wonder, a tourist destination for those looking for relief from the stress of urban life. Its fertile soil and temperate maritime climate make it an ideal area to cultivate crops, such as the two varieties of hard, red winter wheat used to make all-world Death's Door Vodka.

Established in 2005, the Death's Door Distillery is located just outside of Madison in Middleton, Wisconsin. Their critically acclaimed vodka is triple-distilled from a mash of 60% organic, hard red winter wheat from Wisconsin's Washington Island and 40% organic malted barley from nearby Chilton. After exiting the distillery's copper pot still, the vodka is rendered to proof and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

If you're looking for a clean, crisp vodka brimming with nuance and finesse then look no further than this small batch gem from the American Midwest. It has a silky, impossibly lightweight body and the subtle, yet alluring aromas of cacao, toffee, lavender and vanilla. The vodka has a soft, gentle entry and a warm, dry and focused palate of dried fruit and freshly baked bread. As one would hope, the vodka generates scant heat during the creamy, slightly spicy finish. Death's Door Vodka is an elegant and highly refined spirit.

If you're curious about the firm's rather unusual brand name, it was adopted as an homage to the isle upon which the winter wheat is cultivated. Between Washington Island and the Wisconsin mainland is a treacherous stretch of water named hundreds of years ago by French explorers as the Porte de Morte, or the "Door of Death." Over the centuries, hundreds of ships have foundered there.

Okay, so it's not your everyday company name, but then again Death's Door is not your ordinary artisanal distillery. And isn't the objective of a brand name to help distinguish the product portfolio from the rest of the field?