It’s not difficult to find a craft beer in Florida (Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing, Pensacola’s Pensacola Bay Brewery, and Jacksonville’s Bold City Brewery, to name a few). But it’s tougher to find craft spirits — till now. Case in point: Sarasota’s Siesta Key Rum, and a new distillery in the works for St. Augustine.
Now there’s another FL-made craft spirit hitting the market: Cane Vodka. Creators Pat O’Brien and Lee Nelson are preparing to distribute their first bottles across Florida next week. And they are serious about their product’s origins.
“We’re committed to creating a product with all ingredients coming from Florida,” Lee says. “We’re not farmers, and we’re not chefs, but we do love spirits,” Pat says.
So they set out to learn everything they could about distilling. (It helped that Lee had a chemistry background.) Setting up shop in a warehouse outside town, where the water comes straight from the Florida Aquifer, they started experimenting.
They result: a vodka they hope rivals Grey Goose (that will sell at a similar price point, about $30/bottle). The difference is that everything that goes into their bottles (including cane sugar, hence the name), comes from the Sunshine State.
The first bottles will arrive in restaurants, bars, and liquor stores by the end of the month. But before you get ideas about mini-bottles lining kitschy gift shops, stop. “Our goal is to create a premium vodka that can be enjoyed straight or in a martini,” Pat says.
They’re also working on four infused-flavors: “Orlando Orange,” “Buccaneer Blueberry,” “Gator Grape” and “Plant City Strawberry.” Working with farmers around the state, they’re perfecting the flavored vodkas they plan to roll out in early 2013.
We’ll raise a glass to that.
For more information: Cane Vodka on Twitter/ (813)347-6565
**Note: Cane Vodka has not been tested by the Southern Living Test Kitchen.