Words & Deeds

Affordable new local vodka is named after Boise. Tito’s alternative?

Make a refreshing Moscow Mule cocktail in under 60 seconds

Idaho Statesman cocktail columnist and Capitol Bar bartender Kevin Hopper mixes a Moscow Mule using Old Boise Vodka and (alcohol-free) Cock'n Bull Ginger Beer.
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Idaho Statesman cocktail columnist and Capitol Bar bartender Kevin Hopper mixes a Moscow Mule using Old Boise Vodka and (alcohol-free) Cock'n Bull Ginger Beer.

In cities across the world, craft beer drinkers gravitate naturally toward locally made brews.

How about gravitating toward locally made spirits, Idaho?

With Gem State distilleries celebrating the first-ever Idaho Spirits Month during July, now was the perfect time for Old Boise Vodka to make its debut. Distilled by Andrew Koenig at Koenig Distillery in Caldwell, it’s named after Boise. And it sure makes a refreshing Moscow Mule on a hot summer evening.

Old Boise Vodka comes from corn and Idaho potatoes — using more corn than potatoes. It costs $17.95 for a 750-milliliter bottle. That’s several dollars less than trendy, Austin, Texas-based Tito’s Handmade Vodka ($22.95). And it’s more than ubiquitous Smirnoff ($12.95). Like those vodkas, Old Boise is gluten-free and 80 proof.

I enlisted Kevin Hopper, bartender at Capitol Bar, 6100 W. State St., to taste Old Boise Vodka with me. Hopper, who writes a cocktail column for the Idaho Statesman, poured us a jigger of Tito’s as a comparison.

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Both vodkas exude a sweet note. Old Boise Vodka has more residual heat. I also found a hint of fruitiness in its bright, zingy profile.

“Is Tito’s smoother?” Hopper asked. “Slightly. Maybe. But for the value ...”

For the value, it’s hard to argue with Old Boise Vodka. We mixed a Moscow Mule. We tried it in a martini. Old Boise Vodka was excellent in both capacities. Plus, it looks good behind the bar.

The best part? When you mix a Moscow Mule using Old Boise Vodka, you get to call it a Moscow, Idaho, Mule. Even if that won’t entirely make sense to college football fans. Cheers, Broncos and Vandals!

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