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Restaurant Reviews

Taste Test Thursday: Texas Vodkas

Our contestants hail from Carrollton, Lewisville, and Dripping Springs, TX.
By Rochell Van Deurzen |
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This week, we stepped it up a notch. We went all out. We went to hard liquor.

I’m a Tito’s fan, through and through. It’s the only liquor I’ll drink, really. There are quite a few Texas vodkas out there, some from San Antonio and others from Austin, like my beloved Tito’s. So I decided to keep it as local as possible. Western Son Vodka is made right here in Carrollton, and Nue is crafted in Lewisville by two 20-something brothers. So they went in the basket. But those were the only two very local ones I saw, so I went with one I’d never heard of from Dripping Springs, west of Austin. It’s aptly called Dripping Springs Vodka, and according to its packaging, it won the IWSC Gold Best in Class award. So without further ado, here is our tipsy taste test.

THE CONTENDERS:
A: Dripping Springs, micro-distilled 20+x
B: Western Son, 10x distilled in copper, Carrollton
C: Nue – 6x distilled, Lewisville

THE TASTERS:
This was the fastest mad rush I’ve seen yet. Well, for 6 people. The rest of the office groaned and started mumbling about memories of bad decisions.

WHAT THEY SAID:

A: Dripping Springs
“NO. So bad. Tastes like college.”
“Rubbing alcohol, sharp, burns all the way down. I felt it behind my eyes.”
“Smells like a doctor’s office. This one made my eyes bug out. Nightmarish to sip.”
“I don’t know. Tastes like vodka. It stayed down. Isn’t that the goal?”
“This one is harsh. Ouch.”
“Harsher and more aggressive, yet still invited to the party.”

B: Western Son
“Fairly smooth. I think it’s my favorite?”
“Least painful of the three. Still vodka.”
“This one actually has a hint of sweetness on the back end.”
“Smells like a doctor’s office. Too drunk to judge.”
“Thick, pungent, too much burn for a straight drink but could work in a soda/tonic.”
“Rolling ever gracefully down. Is it possible to soar while falling? Give me a break. This is my 3rd shot.”

C: Nue
“A little sweet actually, and smooth.”
“Soapy, but smooth, no real burn.”
“Smells like a doctor’s office. Kinda sweet. Smoothish.”
“Smells like rubbing alcohol and tastes like slightly less strong rubbing alcohol.”
“Fairly smooth. Stings the tongue, goes down smooth. (In case whoever this is needs a freelance copywriter).”
“Smooth with a fairly gentle burn. An elegance as it descends, like a swan dive by a phoenix of gentle embers, as opposed to a full flame.”

THE TALLY:
A: Dripping Springs – 0 votes
B: Western Son – 4 votes
C: Nue – 2 votes

CONCLUSION:

I watched with glee as my officemates grimaced at sipping some of these. I offered an orange juice chaser, but they took it like champs.

My first point of interest here is that the winner of the ‘Purity Trophy’ and ‘Gold Best in Class’ awards got no votes from us. We actually strongly disliked it. “My throat burns!” I heard a miserable social media maven say after barely managing to keep it down.

The saleswoman in the store took great strides to convince me that I’d like Nue better than Tito’s. I will admit, it’s pretty great. As you can see, the commenters pretty much agreed that it’s quite smooth and a little sweet – definitely permissible. It’s been distilled 6 times like Tito’s, but I think I still prefer my trusty favorite more.

The winner of our blind test goes to Carrollton’s Western Son. It is column distilled 10 times, made from 100% yellow American corn. Whatever they’re doing over at Jem Beverage Co. is working. (Jem also makes Red River Whiskey, Brazos Gin, and other liquors.) We liked this one for it’s drinkability, its touch of sweetness, and the lack of that rough bite on the end. The vodka haters could even stomach it. And as one commenter said, isn’t keeping it down the goal?

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