Country Strong: Vestal Vodka

A Tour of the Boutique Spirit's Polish Homeland

A far cry from the gothic eastern bloc environs typically associated with vodka, the pastoral landscapes of Poland’s vertiginous countryside serve as headquarters for new artisanal spirit Vestal Vodka. NOWNESS traveled to the picturesque region of Kashubia to shadow the brand’s father-son founders, John and William Borrell (whose brother is Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell) in the run-up to the harvest of their star ingredient, Vestal virgin potatoes. “All of the taste comes from the quality of the ingredients; the flavors come directly from the humble potato,” William explains. The Borrells launched their sipping vodka last year as a bespoke, single-distilled incarnation, whose nuanced flavor profile rivals the complexities of whisky and wine with notes as diverse as apricot, vanilla, honey and pepper. A retired war correspondent for TIME Magazine, John settled in Poland 15 years ago; his son’s love for the country grew with each family visit. “I’ve traveled there many times, from before the fall of communism, to more recently, when Poland has experienced the best time it’s ever had historically, socially and economically,” William says. Although Borrell junior prefers his vodka neat, in a wine glass, and with a single cube of ice, he confesses to a soft spot for a high-octane espresso martini; he shares his recipe below.

Espresso Martini 

Serves one

Make a cold press coffee like so:

  1. Pack coarsely ground Monmouth coffee (or premium brand of your choice) into a cheesecloth or muslin. 
  2. Tie it into little bundles with string, pour cold water on it and leave it in a dark cool place for three days. (This is how they make coffee in Africa and it takes the bitterness out of the coffee as you brew it with cold water.)
Once the cold press coffee is ready:

  1. Get a cocktail shaker and add a handful of ice.
  2. Add a four-second-pour of Vestal Vodka and another three-second-pour of Monin Hazlenut sugar-free syrup.
  3. Add a four-second-pour of the cold press coffee prepared earlier.
  4. Shake it all up until it's very, very cold and strain into a glass.
  5. Garnish with a few coffee beans.

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