On Saturday we visited the OOLA Distillery in Capitol Hill (Seattle, WA) for their distillery tour. This tour is free, lasts about an hour, and ends with you tasting up to four spirits which makes it fantastic value for money. OOLA has been our go to gin for a number of months so we relished the opportunity to taste some of their other spirits, particularly their base and infused vodkas.
The first spirit I tasted was their base vodka to serve as a basis for comparing their other spirits (which with the exception of the whisky use the vodka as their base). Unlike mainstream vodkas that target being flavorless and odorless OOLA’s base vodka is intended to have a flavor and this made for a welcome change. The vodka’s flavor stood well on its own which would make it ideal for vodka-forward cocktails but without being so flavorful as to clash with other flavors in more complex cocktails.
Next up was their barrel-aged gin which I was keen to compare to their standard gin which we use frequently. This is aged in oak barrels resulting in a smoother flavor and mouthfeel with the gin’s typical floral notes taking more of a backseat. While their standard gin is incredibly well balanced and can be mixed with anything I can’t imagine mixing their barrel-aged gin with anything, I’d rather enjoy it on its own.
Finally we tasted their two infused vodkas, rosemary and pepper. The pepper vodka provided an undeniable taste of red chili pepper with a small hint of heat, I’m planning to make a riff on a margarita with this and if it’s successful I’ll post the recipe. The rosemary vodka was more muted in flavor and I felt that the rosemary flavor could have been more intense. The following recipe caters for that by the fresh rosemary providing a rosemary fragrance to supplement the more subtle rosemary flavor in the vodka itself. Enjoy!
Rosemary Vodka Gimlet
2 1/2 oz OOLA Rosemary Vodka
1/4 oz simple syrup
3 lime wedges
Sprig of rosemary
Add the vodka, simple syrup, and lime wedges to a cocktail shaker and muddle, strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.