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Canal & Bourbon St. (1 p.m.)
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Hot 8 Brass Band
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New Orleans' Atelier Vie Distillery Releases First Product: Buck 25 Vodka
A new local vodka is offering a lot more proof that alcohol-loving New Orleans can produce its own liquor.
Lucky Player’s King Cake Vodka and Taaka's omniscent pleas to "Just Add People" might be infused with the Big Easy spirit, but they're not spirits of the Big Easy. Although New Orleans is known for alcohol consumption, shoppers who want locally produced spirits must choose between Atelier Vie and Old New Orleans Rum. The former just distributed their first vodka, Buck 25, in late September, and Atelier Vie Founder Jed Haas says it’s the perfect spirit for drinking on the rocks, mixing, or infusing with fruits and veggies.
The new product is 125 proof, (over sixty percent alcohol) but Atelier Vie Founder Jedd Haas says that people shouldn’t let the high alcohol content scare them away.
“It’s very interesting, because almost every single person that has tried it has said the exact same thing. ‘Wow, that’s smooth,’” reports Haas.
Buck 25 is on shelves and bars at locations all over the city, from Maurepas Foods in the Bywater to 12 Mile Limit in Mid-City. Vodka lovers can also find Buck 25 at grocery stores such as Dorignacs and Cork and Bottle, and Haas says they’ll be adding more distributors to that list within the next few days.
Haas says that Buck 25 is intended as a “secret ingredient” for bartenders who want more for their pour. At 125 proof, 750ml packs a bigger punch and lasts a lot longer on the bar.
“Some bartenders have told me, ‘I wish I could get bigger bottles of spirits,’” explains Haas. “This is the equivalent of over a liter of 80 proof vodka. Instead of fifteen drinks, you get more like 25.”
Don’t let the alcohol content and the bold label fool you: Buck 25 is made from cane rather than the standard grain, ensuring that a sip is not all bitter booze.
“It has a kind of sweetness to it,” says Haas.
The spirit’s potency also offers many opportunities for infused cocktails, whether you’re looking for an extra spicy Bloody Mary or your own homemade pineapple vodka, Buck 25 lets you flavor-create in half the time of competing vodkas.
“The flavor gets extracted a lot faster due to the higher alcohol content,” says Haas. “We took hot red peppers and put half a dozen of them into a bottle of Buck 25. We let that sit for two days, and it turned the color of a single malt. It was spicy enough to have you jumping for some water."
The distillery’s founder recommends infusing Buck 25 with spicy flavors for Bloody Mary’s and saltier drinks, and he also shared reports from bartenders who said the alcohol is hyper conducive to homemade bitter creations. As our readers already learned from Belvedere's Claire Smith, vodka is not a neutral spirit.
“The government’s official definition is that it should have no taste and flavor to it, but you have a wide variation in prices from the cheap to the premium,” notes Haas. Although Haas hasn’t personally mixed any drinks with Buck 25, he says one of his partners is “an avid mixologist,” working on something called the “Mid-City Mule.”
“It’s a variation of the Moscow Mule,” explains Haas. “We’re working on incorporating a locally brewed ginger beer to make it a truly local concoction.”
Haas says consumers should look forward to Atelier Vie’s next spirit, their own Absinthe.
“Coming up next is our Toulouse Red," he said. "it’s been somewhat delayed by the government. We’re waiting for an approval on the formula."
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