When contemplating the origins of the best vodkas, places such as the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Finland and other chilly climes come to mind. So what's a top vodka doing deep in the heart of Texas?
While rivals offer up hundreds of years of history, this vodka started in the late 1990s. Others bear noble titles like Imperia and Pearl, but this spirit has been christened with the humble “Tito.” While Chopin Vodka shares the name of a classic pianist, this American product bears the name of one of the least-talented Jackson 5.
Despite its Texas roots and simple appellation, Tito’s is surprisingly good, crisp and fresh-tasting. Believe it or not, the Tito beverage was created by Tito Beveridge, who runs Austin’s Mockingbird Distillery. With a small crew, the fifth-generation Texan uses propane, American corn and old-fashioned pot stills to produce what he calls the country’s only handcrafted vodka. After the best of the batch is distilled six times, Tito filters it through activated carbon to remove residual impurities.
While other high-end spirits we’ve tasted have suffered due to excessive filtering, this very smooth, pure and neutral vodka seems to benefit from the process. There is virtually no burn in this 80-proof beverage, even when imbibed straight at room temperature. The mild flavor lingers on the front of the tongue, and doesn’t taste watery or syrupy. It mixes well with fruit juices and tonic, but we prefer to drink it neat and cold.