Cold River Vodka


One More Reason to Love Potatoes

“There is no book on distilling vodka from potatoes, so every day is an adventure.” ~ Bob Harkins, Managing Partner of Marketing and Sales

There are vodkas, and then there are Vodkas. Cold River Vodka is, without question, a Vodka. It’s the kind of vodka that makes your eyes close half-way after the first sip and automatically elicits a contented sigh.

It’s that smooth.

Just imagine what it does to a martini. Heaven. And yes, I speak from experience, having, in honor of the recent launch of Cold River Blueberry Vodka (made from wild Maine blueberries), hosted a small martini get-together featuring both Cold River Classic and the new Blueberry (both 80 proof).

So what’s the story behind this luxurious spirit? Well, it all begins with Maine potatoes. Yes, that’s right, potatoes ~ don’t forget that originally, unlike nowadays, most vodkas were made from them, not from grain. One of the reasons Cold River Vodka has a delicious yet subtle sweetness and that unparalleled smoothness is that potatoes have more sugar than grain, and when CRV’s distilling process is over, a certain amount of that sugar remains unfermented. Interestingly enough, though, Cold River Vodkas are much lower in sugar that grain-based vodkas, and in addition are gluten-free.

Take those Maine potatoes, whose water source is Maine’s Cold River, which filters through miles of underground granite into the Cold River Aquifer, home to some of this planet’s purest, most refreshing water, batch distill them in copper vessels that result in a one-of-a-kind taste profile, and pour the resulting vodka into a bottle that is hand-numbered by the batch and signed by Chris Dowe, the head distiller. The uber-premium finished product is what garnered a host of international awards and accolades including, in 2008, being named to Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious list of “Top 50 Spirits” and earning the publications sole “Highest Recommendation” for that year. Cold River Vodka also earned a Double Gold at San Francisco’s 2008 World Spirits Competition” and was featured as “The Best American Vodka” in spirits expert F. Paul Pacult’s “Kindred Spirits 2.”

cold-river-vodka.jpg Alright. Cold Water Vodka hails from Maine, uses the finest Maine potatoes, blueberries, and water, and is run by Maine folks who are proud of their Maine heritage (to read more about the ~ as they call themselves ~ “serial entrepreneurs” of Cold Water ~ and it’s a great read, with a neurosurgeon, farmer, a philosophy major, and former ski executive all in the mix ~ head to and the fact that their vodka embodies the Maine spirit perfectly: it’s authentic, uses only local resources, and is complex without being complicated. Lucky for us, though, Cold River Vodka is now available outside of Maine, and in fact you can find it locally at both Julio’s Liquors in Westboro ( and at KJ Baaron’s Fine Wine and Spirits in Worcester (

My recommendation? Try both the Classic flavor and the Blueberry. Try them straight up, try them in a martini (or two). Let any of your friends who have to adhere to gluten-free diets know that there’s a delicious vodka that they can enjoy worry-free. Stock up on a few bottles for the holidays. Cold Water Vodka really is that good. And make sure to visit the website, too, for lots more on the vodka, its creators, and even Maine itself.

Vodka Facts, Courtesy of Cold River Vodka

Vodka is the world’s top-selling spirit

The word “vodka” comes from the Russian words “Zhiznennia voda,” which means “water of life” (the literal translation is “little water”).

In Russia, the air bladders of fish were once used to remove impurities and improve taste after distillation. A professor in 18th century St. Petersburg discovered the method of purifying alcohol using charcoal filtration.

Just about anything fermentable can be used to make vodka ~ potatoes, sugar cane, barley, molasses, even beets.

The first recorded exports of Russian vodka were to Sweden in 1505.

Some people believe that drinking 3 ounces of vodka per day cleanses the impurities and toxins out of your body.

The vodka craze kicked off in the US in the 1950s when a food and spirits distributor introduced the “Moscow Mule,” a combination of vodka, lime, and ginger beer. The craze gained momentum in the 1960s when the famous words, “Vodka martini, shaken not stirred” were first heard on-screen.