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K&L Staff Recommendations
Effen Vodka (750ml) $19.99
Ketel One is made in Holland. It is a family-owned business which has been carrying on the tradition of vodka-making for eleven generations. They report that the focus at Ketel One is quality, tradition and personal commitment to their customer. This shows in their vodka by offering only the heart of each distilate, tasted by a member of the family before it is released. One of the best Martini vodkas available.
We firmly believe that Belvedere is one of the best vodkas in the business and at this price it's a steal. An award-winning hand-crafted Polish Vodka, made according to centuries-old traditional methods, this is 100% Polish rye, distilled 4 times and charcoal filtered. The illustration on the back depicts the Belvedere House, the Polish equivalent to the White House, the official residence of the Polish president in Warsaw. Additive-free and diluted with water from Belvedere's own artesian well. It exhibits delicate aromas and flavors, with hints of van... Read More »
The no-compete clause is over!!! St. George is finally back in the vodka business. After selling off the Hangar One brand to Proximo, our local heroes over in Alameda were not allowed to create a vodka of their own for four whole years. Time has now passed, and the contract has expired. Let us now introduce you to the new St. George vodkas. Made from 100% American grain and fruit, the "all purpose" vodka is soft, lithe, and clean; finishing with a rounded mouthfeel that is both simultaneously refreshing and gentle. The supple weight comes from Bartlett p... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Neutral, faintly juniper-like scent. Smooth, mellow, earthy/malty flavor. Made from Idaho russet potatoes." (7/2011) K&L Notes: We love promoting high quality products made here in the USA. Blue Ice Vodka is 100% Potato Vodka grown and distilled in Rigby, Idaho, which is about 200 miles east of Sun Valley. It is hand-crafted from Idaho's famed Russet Burbank potatoes and water sourced from the melting of the Rocky Mountain snowcaps. This produces a rich, mellow flavor with a hint of sweetness. Very fresh and clean with no glycerin.
Inventory: San Francisco
This is a small batch vodka made in Pennsylvania from locally grown potatoes by two guys using a copper still. The result is a softer, creamier style of vodka that is milder on the palate than most. This is vodka made by people who really care about quality and precision, and that's obvious at first sip. F. Paul Pacult's Spirits Journal ranked the Boyd & Blair Vodka the 22nd best spirit in the world, making it the Spirits Journal's top ranked Vodka, giving it five stars. In his review Pacult opines, "Wow, this aroma comes flying out of the glass in waves... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Although overall neutral and mild, this artisanal vodka is distinguished by a faint fruitiness and a touch of sweetness on the clean, crisp finish." (7/2011) K&L Notes: St. George Spirits are making extraordinary vodkas and some of the finest we have ever seen produced. What makes this vodka special is just a bit of floral, fruity, low-acid Viognier eau-de-vie that gets blended with the midwestern wheat spirit. Elegant and round on the palate with a nice smooth mouthfeel.
Wine Enthusiast: "The vodka inside the pretty rainbow-shaped bottle reads almost like a light rum. It has a sweet, marshmallow-like fragrance as well as a sweet vanilla flavor, unmitigated by ice. Very smooth. Made from organic white corn and distilled seven times." (7/2011)
The no-compete clause is over!!! St. George is finally back in the vodka business. After selling off the Hangar One brand to Proximo, our local heroes over in Alameda were not allowed to create a vodka of their own for four whole years. Time has now passed, and the contract has expired. Let us now introduce you to the new St. George vodkas. Infused with California Bergamot, Valencia, and Seville oranges, the bright citrus flavor comes from 100% Lindcove produce. All the oranges were both infused and distilled in separate batches before being blended toge... Read More »
The no-compete clause is over!!! St. George is finally back in the vodka business. After selling off the Hangar One brand to Proximo, our local heroes over in Alameda were not allowed to create a vodka of their own for four whole years. Time has now passed, and the contract has expired. Let us now introduce you to the new St. George vodkas. Made from California jalapenos, habaneros, serranos, and both yellow and red bell peppers, each pepper is actually infused and distilled separately before being blended together. The still is also packed with cilantro... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended* The bouquet is subtle and alluring, with distant notes of buttered popcorn and escarole broth; aeration stimulates aromas of peanut butter, rye toast and damp cobblestone. Silky palate entry is slightly sweet, concentrated and grainy; at midpalate, the flavor turns drier, lightly spiced and almost fruity (as in dried fruit). Aftertaste is long and spicy. Well crafted and quality driven." (6/2004) K&L Notes: Made from 100% Polish rye, the Potocki vodka might be the best vodka we carry. It's the cleanest, most pure form of vodka I've ever ha... Read More »
Belvedere calls this "The Whiskey Drinker's Vodka."
Inventory: San Francisco
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A sweet and smooth spirit with rich marshmallow notes. Certified organic, this spirit is made with rye. Great for a vodka tonic." (7/2011) K&L Notes: Square One is the world's first certified organic rye vodka. It is handcrafted from 100%-certified organically grown rye grown in North Dakota and produced with an unprecedented organic fermentation process. Using only a single distillation in a four-column still, the resulting spirit is richer and smoother than any vodka on the market. Our staff was lucky enough to meet Allison Evanow the Co-Founder of Square One. We ... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "A sooty initial aroma; following aeration, enticing, dry notes of palm oil, unsalted butter, grain mash and slate emerge. The palate entry is bone dry as soot and slate tastes meld, then turn delightfully oily and textured. Clean, medium-weight and nicely. (PP)" (4/2006)
Material Vodka isn't just another pretty face. Distilled from organic grain using some of Northern California's finest water, this craft vodka is never adulterated or added to in anyway. Absolutely no glycerin, sweeteners, or other flavor additives, just clean water and pure spirit filtered through activated coconut carbon. In addition, a portion of proceeds from Material Vodka go to support radical art & culture through grants, residencies and production assistance. So if you want to support artists directly and drink good vodka, this is the bottle for ... Read More »
This wonderful and surprising product is the result of one of the most unusual production practices in the business. The distillery is located in the Makawao region, the heart of Maui's pineapple producing upcountry. The start with locally sourced pineapples. These are slowly fermented over five days with only the addition of yeast and water. Distillation occurs on customer made GLASS stills. The single distillation is similar to a continuous still, but the column contains volcanic rock for filtration purposes. After one pass the spirit is already at 96.... Read More »
From St. George Spirits, these extraordinary vodkas are some of the finest we have ever seen produced. Kaffir lime is native to central Indonesia. Its lovely flavor is well know in Thai cuisine. This vodka is filled with lush lime aromatics and flavors.The best lime flavored vodka we have ever tasted!
This limited production Vodka from the exceptional Buffalo Trace Distillery is personally supervised by rockstar distillery Harlan Wheatley created the special recipe using Wheat and several other grains. It's distilled on their unusual hybrid experimental still. The method for production revolves around highlighting the crisp pure flavors of wheat grain. After cooking and mashing a 100% wheat bill, the wort is distilled seven times before being carefully blended with distillates of other grains. These add nuance and texture to the soft rich wheat flavor... Read More »
Beluga Vodka is made with Siberian water, malted grain, high tech fermentation, and is distilled with the utmost care and never produced in bulk. Each production run requires 3 months to complete. Bottles are individually numbered and sealed with wax. Enjoy this exclusive and austere vodka with the finest cavier you can find!
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Initial nosing passes reveal a zesty and mildly spicy aroma that's focused on the cereal grain; the bouquet registers on the leaner, drier side of neutral grain spirits and as such is in direct opposition to other creamier, sweeter Dutch vodkas. Palate entry is moderately sweet, almost smoky; at midpalate, a flash of black licorice tempts the taste buds, then recedes, allowing the sweet, nearly smoky/pipe tobacco leaf taste to dominate." (6/2006)
The definitive example of the micro-distilling renaissance, Silver Tree American Small Batch Vodka is the highest-rated vodka distilled and bottled in America according to the Beverage Tasting Institute. The 2007 San Francisco Spirits Competition, the largest of its kind in North America, agreed, awarding Silver Tree a Silver Medal. This small batch vodka is distilled seven times from a special blend of potatoes, malted barley, and summer wheat for round palate and an ultra-smooth finish. Distinctive, like a fine wine, this vodka is strained, not filtere... Read More »
Star & Levi Reserve hails from the birthplace of grain vodka, Ukraine. Distilled exclusively from August harvest grains that are cultivated in Ukraine's fertile Black Soil and using pure spring water from the protected waters of the remote Carpathian Mountains. This small batch vodka is distilled on traditional stills five times before a quadruple purification. Filtered through silver and crystal, the subtle flavors are clean and dry with absolutely no addition of sugar whatsoever. The body is medium to full with a slight spice rising in the finish. Trul... Read More »
Stolichnaya's luxury vodka, Elit, is distilled four times then filtered in a patented process that mimics the age-old Russian tradition of pouring the vodka into wooden barrels and keeping them outside in the Russian cold. The impurities are then frozen out, leaving only the best vodka in the liquid center. A clean, neutral spirit with just a whisper of toasted grain, the Elit is sumptuous yet light. Best served straight, chilled or over ice. 97 points Beverage Testing Institute: "Clear. Very neutral aromas of river rocks, faint anise, and custard. A sil... Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This New Zealand vodka—distilled from whey—is smooth, clean, sweet and surprisingly full bodied for a vodka, featuring light vanilla and anise notes. (KN)" (2/2013) K&L Notes: You read correctly, this vodka is distilled from whey! Before you start thinking of Little Miss Muffet, let me tell you that this might be the best vodka we carry in the entire store, period. The purity of the distillate and the clean finish will destroy all faith in big brand loyalty. Try a bottle of the Broken Shed and just try going back to your standard vodka selection. This is as impressiv... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The delicate perfume is softly grainy, with nuances of white pepper, wheat crackers and cigarette tobacco. The palate entry is elegant yet a touch hot; at midpalate the dry flavor turns silky in texture and minerally and stone-like in taste. Concludes bean- and kernel-like, bittersweet and a touch soy curd-like. A subtle, understated vodka with lots of layers and grip." (11/2004) K&L Notes: The same incredible vodka as Jewel of Russia Ultra without the expensive, hand-painted bottle. Possibly the best vodka available at any price.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "0 This cucumber-flavored vodka has a delicate, barely-there cucumber fragrance. Overall it’s neutral and smooth, with just a bit of cucumber and citrus heading into the long finish. Made from organic rye and “infused with the essence of organic cucumbers”. USDA certified organic." K&L Notes: So refreshing and so delicious, this is an elegant, aromatic and 100% organic vodka, made from blending the essence of organic cucumber with Square One's original certified organic American rye vodka. The same technique is used here to capture the essence of the cucumber as is do... Read More »
A fun surprise at K&L is this new sweet potato vodka being produced south of my hometown of Modesto. Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka is being made in the Central Valley town of Atwater by the Souza family, who have been working the land for the last hundred years. They've set up a distillery onsite and their first release is this creamy, clean, and polished vodka that really caught me off guard last week. Also, if you've got a gluten allergy, you might want to give this baby a whirl as it's 100% sweet potato-based. (David Driscoll, Spirits buyer)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Packaged in a luxe bottle with diamond-like facets, Purity is made from organic wheat and barley, and distilled a whopping 34 times. Remarkably bright in appearance, this vodka is lightly sweet on the nose and palate, mildly citrusy and has a crisp, almost effervescent feel." K&L Notes: Made from 100% organic grains and pot distilled 34 times, this unfiltered and ultra-pure vodka is redefining elegance for the spirit. Creamy on the palate with a clean neutrality that tends towards beauty rather than boredom, you can sip this vodka neat, in a martini, or on the rocks ... Read More »
Breaking Bad has become a cultural phenomenon. Now Blue Ice Vodka has released a series of special bottlings to commemorate BB's main bad dude, Heisenberg. It's not Blue Crystal, but Blue Ice Heisenberg is as close as you'll ever want to get. Each bottle has a memorable quote from the high school teacher turned drug kingpin adorning the label.
LA's own vodka is finally here. The Our Vodka line is the definition of local meets global. This very adventerous project initiated by spirits giant Pernod Ricard seeks to bring local craft vodka production into the hands of local entrepreneurs. They start with a state of the art distillery set up, bring in high quality low wines distilled from grapes add their own base spirit to make a unique product for each market. Los Angeles' Distillery uses an organic wheat base which is blended with the low wines before being redistilled on their copper stills. So... Read More »
The Elix Single Estate Vodka is Absolut's answer to the craft spirits movement. If vodka fans are interested in locally-produced, handcrafted spirits, then why shouldn't Sweden's largest distillery join the party? All the ingredients and production steps for Elix are performed within a 15 mile radius in Ahus, southern Sweden. The Elyx is distilled from Swedish winter wheat sourced from a single estate, called Råbelöf, that has been growing wheat since the 1400s. The vodka was distilled manually in a 1920s copper still, offering a silky texture and blende... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits 2013* This is a vodka with character. A distinct counterpoint to ultradistilled vodkas, this potato vodka is distilled only once and left unfiltered, which accounts for its unique earthiness. Initial notes have a funkiness reminiscent of truffles. It finishes with black pepper and ginger, and a buttery mouthfeel. A standout for a bloody mary, dirty martini or any other savory cocktail." (10/2013) K&L Notes: This Swedish vodka is made from seven kinds of "virgin" potatoes--potatoes that haven't yet developed their skin--grown on Cape Bjäre in southern... Read More »
This exceptional handcrafted from the tiny distillery in
Vodka VIRACOCHA is a super premium potato vodka, which has spent two months in charcoal beds before being filtered. Vodka VIRACOCHA is produced in a copper column still with 16 plates, using artesian spring water from Los Luceros. It is distilled five times, with cuts made for the removal of the heads and tails. Vodka VIRACOCHA is dangerously understated, with a luxuriant texture and creamy finish. Produced in small, 85 gallon, chill filtered, batches; hand bottled, numbered and dated. Winner: Silver medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015
Inventory: San Francisco
Opuntia is a prickly pear spirit, made from the fruit of the Nopal cactus. Its flavor is as singular as tequila’s, an invigorating balance of fresh fruit and desert earth that is all its own. Over a ton of sun-ripened California fruit is fermented into wine and then distilled in each batch. This is a new spirit tradition that belongs to California.
Inventory: San Francisco
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended; One of Top 50 Spirits of 2009* Smells nicely of sweet grass, paraffin, acetate and wheat crackers; aeration bolsters the aromatic impressions of the first round and adds a subtle spiciness (nutmeg?) that complements the grassy quality. Palate entry teems with zesty, spicy, medicinal and grassy flavors; midpalate flavors come off chocolaty and milky, with disparate background tastes of egg cream and green pepper." (7/2009) K&L Notes: At the restaurant where I worked as a student in London, the friendly Polish Chef would share his bi-monthly... Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
Each bottle is a work of art both on the inside and on the outside. This limited edition Russian Vodka has unbelievable smoothness and beautiful finesse. Slow-flow filtration for extra purity give this vodka a clean, rich flavor. 90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The delicate perfume is softly grainy, with nuances of white pepper, wheat crackers and cigarette tobacco. The palate entry is elegant yet a touch hot; at midpalate the dry flavor turns silky in texture and minerally and stone-like in taste. Concludes bean- and kernel-like, bittersweet and a touc... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Though clear in the bottle, this unique flavored vodka offers a bold, zesty, appetizing tomato aroma. On the palate, it’s more tomato water than tomato juice: light, breezy and mouthwatering. What a treat for lighter variations of a bloody mary, or other garden-inspired cocktails. USDA-certified organic." (11/2013) K&L Notes: Crop Harvest Earth vodkas are USDA certified organic and made from American corn, distilled and bottled in Minnesota. The organic Tomato vodka has a clean, tomato-y flavor that would easily up the ante on your Sunday Blood Mary. But why limit y... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
What's in a name? Much moo than you might guess. Located on England’s West Dorset coast, Black Cow Vodka produces the world's only "Pure Milk Vodka™" made entirely from the milk of grass-fed grazed cows. Indeed, the sugar in the milk is fermented with a special yeast, then distilled into vodka, and it's the same milk that's used to make their own Black Cow deluxe cheddar cheese.
Tasting Panel 92 points: "Warm and inviting nose of mocha and white tea. The liquid is pillow soft and yet weighty on palate. The subtle wake-up call of white pepper occurs on the tip of the tongue but the spread of cocoa, white tea and black licorice loves to linger. A stand-out." Producer note: "Created from centuries of Russian vodka-making traditions, White Tiger vodka is an authentic Siberian Spirit, distilled from highest quality winter wheat and rye, and blended with pure ultra soft Sikhote-Alin mountain water. Double distillation allows for retai... Read More »
Looking for a vodka that's as good for the planet as it is for your cocktail? Organic. Ecological. Renewable. Handmade. These are the principles of Tru Organic from Modern Spirits. These certified organic spirits are free from chemicals from field to bottle, packaged in recycled, recyclable or biodegradable materials. The company plants a tree for every bottle sold to replenish forests. And, of course, all Tru Organic Spirits are handcrafted, using whole, organic ingredients, not extracts. The Tru Straight is made with 100% certified organic American wh... Read More »
Minnesota's Far North Spirits is one of a handful of new American microdistilleries that's doing every part of the process themselves, from planting and growing the grains to distillation. Farm to glass, as they say. Partners Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese mill, mash, ferment, distill, and bottle almost all of their ingredients first-hand. The Syvä vodka may be the most impressive of the Far North portfolio. Made entirely with Hazlet winter rye, the grain adds a richness to the spirit reminiscent of classic Polish vodkas, but with the clean and polished... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
This lovely vodka has nothing in it but fine Spanish grain and pure water. It's distilled five times in an ancient distillery owned by the Casalbor family, in a soft bain-marie method that creates one the easiest and most appealing vodkas on the market. Hints of juicy Sevilla orange burst from the glass on first nose. The palate is weighty and rich with subtle vanilla notes. A true craft vodka in the most traditional sense of the word. Try it with the family's exceptional Indi tonic waters for the real Andalucian experience.
Special order items are not in stock and are dependent upon quantity available from distribution. All special orders are final and non-refundable. Svedka is one of the best values that money can buy! Svedka's secret is using three pounds of high quality wheat to produce each bottle. A five column distillation process lasting over 40 hours is used for purification. The outcome is so smooth that no customary charcoal filtration is required. The purest water available is used for the master blend. 93 points and a Best Buy: "shows a tightly knit set of c... Read More »
Inventory: Special Order
Special order only! Special order items are not in stock and are dependent upon quantity available from distribution. All special orders are final and non-refundable. Will take 4-6 business days before product can be shipped. Low calorie vodka for partyin' without the pudge.
Inventory: Special Order
96-100 points Wine Enthusiast: "Opening nosing passes detect subtle toasty, charcoal aromas. Entry is off-dry to sweet and properly oily; sweet graininess dominates the midpalate. Aftertaste is long, bittersweet and delectably oily. Fashioned more in the plump, sweet style of Holland than eastern Europe (thick, hearty) or Scandinavia (light, flowery)." (04/03)
Inventory: Special Order
The Charbay vodkas are for fans of pure, clean fruit flavor - never syrupy or sweet. The Ruby Grapefruit vodka from this award-winning distiller is made from Texas Rio Stars, sweet, succulent grapefruits that are tree-ripened for fuller flavor. The fruit is then crushed, skins and all, and the flavor and color is extracted naturally over three months. The extraction is blended with Charbay's Clear Vodka, a smoother, sipping style that makes this tangy sweet vodka enjoyable neat or on the rocks.
The Boyd & Blair is a classic, small batch potato vodka that uses only the heart of the distilled spirit flow, discarding the heads and the tails for supremely elegant, sweet, unparralleled vodka. This is made with Named "Best Stuff 2011" by GQ Magazine and awarded five stars in F. Paul Pacult's Spirits Journal: "Clear as rainwater. Smells remarkably fresh and potato skin-like and the off-the-charts abv doesn't, to my surprise, set the fire alarm off--in reality, I respond favorably to the biscuity, gently sweet opening aroma; six minutes of further air ... Read More »