Posted with permission from The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Those of you who follow this page closely know I try to find new craft spirits wherever I travel. Accordingly, when I was in Boise back in May I found myself at a bar where Idaho-produced 44° North Vodka was on offer.

I was stoked to learn that there are other distillers in the Gem State as well, including one named for that National Monument located just over the state line in neighboring Wyoming.

Grand Teton Distillery of Driggs, Idaho - but 35 miles from its namesake - is producing gluten-free beverages that are both experimental and befitting of the hardiness of the upper West.

The Coulters Run Bourbon, named in honor of a scout for the Lewis & Clark expedition, bears light yellow color when poured into a glass and offers a little bit of a flame upon first inhalation. As you take that first sip, you might imagine yourself drinking on the frontier over cards beside Billy the Kid or Wild Bill Hickok.

The Coulters Run boats a fine taste poured neat, but just a drop of water really opens up the profile - a lot. Suggest making this the base for a Roy Roy, a Godfather or even a Manhattan.

Grand Teton's Huckleberry Vodka bears less of a fruity nose than many flavored vodkas, and it actually becomes a tad bitter when served neat. It's not bad over rocks, but this Huckleberry really needs to be married to a Cosmo or other fruity drink.

The Born and Bred Vodka is a true find, and you can actually taste the potato profile on the palate. There's no burn at all when drunk neat, but one ice cube alone lends the vodka just a hint of an afterburn. This would make a great base for a chocolate or raspberry dessert cocktail.

And finally, the Ultra Premium vodka boasts a nose that actually smells like tequila. The packaging declares that the Ultra Premium is "polished with charcoal," hence its rather unique scent. It's nice over rocks, but to truly make the Ultra Premium shine, it should rightfully be mixed up in a dirty martini to complement the natural saltiness of the vodka profile itself.

Keep growing potatoes, Idahoans, and better yet, keep producing new and interesting distilled products while you're at it.

You know where to find me.

For more about Grand Teton's products, go to TetonDistillery.com