Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Greg0
Breckenridge: Vodka, Bourbon And Bitters!
You can’t help but smile at a distillery that bills itself, not-quite-straightfaced, as “the world’s highest”. Sure, they use snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains, and apparently make their spirits at 9600 feet above sea level. And they seem quite sincere when they suggest dropping by the ski town for a tour and complimentary tasting. Plus, their founder has a manifesto, and describes the process of taking the idea and making it reality. They even grow their own currants and gooseberries!
Today, we’re taking a close look at Breckenridge Distillery, and three of their products in particular. Let’s touch on each in turn, starting with the Vodka. Interesting packaging, even the logos are different between each of the trio, and this one had a modern feel. Running 80 proof, and made using corn, it’s super-clear and ultra-clean. It’s also unusual- many vodkas offer little to the palate after a couple of sips, but this one made our tasters consider carefully and keep drinking. Notes of forest are strong with this one, fresh and crisp with a little wood and a little sweetness. Chilled and straight, it’s impressively drinkable, and we liked stirring in some fresh herbs to bring out the creamy and almost wintergreen hints. Available now, and highly recommended, at around $27.
Bitters often come in small, tiny portions, since you’re typically meant to add a few drops to any given drink. So we were impressed, and a bit confused, when the bottle of Breckenridge Bitters was quite large (and with a beautiful bottle and label). But this is more of an apertif, it turns out, and sippable straight. It’s also different from most other bitters that we’ve tried, more along the lines of a classic herbal liqueur, with aromatics that remind one slightly of Campari or Fernet, but with much less licorice and more of a balanced digestif. The stronger notes are coriander, orange, and allspice, almost festive seeming, and would make for a great addition to baked goods. We had some straight, a perfect after-dinner drink, but definitely suggest experimenting with apple, bourbon, brandy- we made a Negroni twist that worked well too. About $30.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the Breckenridge Colorado Bourbon Whiskey. 86 proof, and made from a mash of rye, corn, and barley, it looked good, if light. And that impression carried through, meaning that it was almost dangerously drinkable as a good way to start the night, or to introduce folks to stronger bourbons- the quality is clearly better and the flavors much deeper than lots of your run-of-the-mill spirits. Aged for two years, it’s not smoky or peaty, but supple- caramel and a little vanilla, and some definite oak that hasn’t had a chance to really sink in, and a little bit of raisin. The burn is there, and certainly satisfying, but doesn’t have the legs of a few we’ve tried. For the price, though, this is an impressive bottle, and is distinctively different. Expect to spend around $40 a bottle.