At Archetype, we firmly believe that the more you understand and appreciate the spirit of your choice, the more enjoyment you will get out of the drinking experience. Sometimes it is daunting to try something new, especially if you’re new to the drinking world. If you would like to find your own archetypal spirit, here are some tips from us on how to navigate the ins and outs of clear spirits.
For most of us, the majority of our alcohol consumption is often involved in our social life. Let’s be very clear: drinking is always a personal choice that you should make purely for enjoyment, and never out of pressure, socially or personally. All spirits are like food: everyone has different tastes, and there are a lot of options in any category. For us, we specialize in clear spirits.
Our flagship spirits are Archangel Vodka, and Archrival Gin. We make these two clear spirits from first-press grape juice, which showcases the depth of character and flavor able to be found in clear spirits.
Getting to Know the Spirits
Vodka, by definition, is “a clear, tasteless, odorless spirit.” That is all that the vast majority of people think of when they hear vodka. But vodka can be fascinating and complex, depending on its origins and base. Another common misconception is that all vodka is made from grain or potato. While Russian and Polish vodkas certainly are, anything with a strong sugar content can be used to distill into the high proof neutral spirit that once combined (or “cut”) with water becomes vodka.
Our Archangel Vodka is distilled from saignee, or free-run juice from wine grapes and then cut with high-quality Rocky Mountain spring water. By using pure juice to ferment and then distill vodka, we are able to keep enough of the flavor profile and aromatic “nose” (or smell) of the base grapes to give our vodka a distinctive richness to the taste and a smooth velvety finish instead of the usual burn common in most vodkas.
At the end of the day, vodka is the ultimate versatile spirit. Even something as uniquely flavorful as Archangel is a perfect base spirit for many cocktails, combining with liqueurs and fresh ingredients to complement and highlight the stronger flavor profiles. The vodka that is right for you is the one that your palate responds to best to for your favorite drink of choice.
Gin is, essentially, juniper-flavored vodka. In order to make gin, a distiller will take the high proof spirit we described above for vodka and add extra steps to infuse juniper berries into that spirit. All traditional gins add other ingredients (called “botanicals”) with the juniper in the infusion process, including at least one botanical with a spice/bite and one citrus flavor.
While all gins are unique in their mixture of botanicals and the amount of each, they share the common juniper dominant component. This is a deliberately subjective rule that leaves a ton of space for distillers to create a huge variety of gins. Some gins pride themselves on their juniper-heavy botanicals, evoking pine and foresty tree flavors; some gins are very floral and promote botanicals like rosehips; others are origin-specific with botanicals iconic to a specific region of the world (some gins have even included kelp in their botanical blend!).
Our Archrival Gin uses many base botanicals common in the very traditional early gin recipes with a few twists that work exceptionally well with our grape base spirit, such as a variety of tea blends, herbaceous roots, and cassia bark (what we like to call cinnamon’s stronger cousin). This gives our gin a highly approachable flavor profile, where the juniper is present and supported by a more herbal tone.
The modern world of gin is changing quickly, and gin drinkers today have more options available to meet almost any palate. Because of this, gin cocktails are new more versatile than ever before. Before you pass on a new gin because of a bad experience in your past or the common notion that gin is just too juniper heavy and bitter, take a look at some new gins that might even exceed your expectations. Basically, if you swear up and down that you don’t like gin, chances are you probably haven’t found the right one.
The best way to discover a new spirit is to visit a distillery and experience a tasting flight. Here you can compare spirits side-by-side and hone in on what aspects you enjoy. Visit Archetype Distillery and try our unique spirits. We’re sure you’ll leave with a favorite.