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Tito's Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

Recently while touring a state-of-the-art distillery in St. Petersburg, the master distiller approached me and asked in a heavy accent, "So do you know this fellow Tito?" I knew the name immediately. "Da, his vodka is quite popular in the States." He winced as if stung. Walking away he grumbled, "Your Tito, his vodka drinks too easy."

Tito Beveridge considers that high praise. In 1997, the former geophysicist opened the first legal distillery in Texas outside of Austin and began producing Tito's Handmade Vodka in pot stills he builds himself from his own design. Before long the vodka's remarkable elegance was wowing aficionados and spirit judges alike, which sent the brand hurtling up the charts with a bullet.

Beveridge is one of a growing cadre of American distillers handcrafting world-class vodkas using artisan techniques and micro-distilling technology. While distilling in small batches requires that he invest considerably more time and effort, it affords Beveridge greater control over the process.

There are scores of variables that directly affect the character and taste of a vodka. For example, Tito's Handmade Vodka is made entirely from high-grade corn. But like other commodities used in distillation—grapes and barley malt to sugar cane and blue agave—the quality of corn is subject to such factors as soil composition, the balance between sunny and cloudy days, and the amount of rainfall at the beginning versus the end of the growing season.

Change necessitates that Beveridge remain intimately involved in every step of production. He personally examines the grain, tests the water and assesses each batch as it ferments. Beveridge builds his own stills so they can't be replicated by others. When you get a bottle of Tito's Homemade Vodka, trust that it couldn't be made by anyone else on the planet.

Fortunately for mankind, Beveridge has a firm grasp of the tiller. His luxurious, character-laden vodka has a medium-weight, satiny-textured body and a crisp refreshing aroma. Its initial entry is pleasantly warm without a trace of harshness or excess heat before it gradually fades into a slightly sweet finish.

Tito's Handmade Vodka well deserves its critical acclaim. Despite the brand's modest price, the all-American spirit is capable of going head-to-head with the world's best and not even break a sweat.