Farmers in central Pennsylvania dig up nearly 300 million pounds of potatoes per year. Most of them are supplied to snack companies to be sliced and fried for chips. Lately, though, there’s another buyer for the crop. Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka ($33) was created in 2008 by two friends from Pittsburgh, Barry Young and C. Prentiss Orr, who won an agricultural grant aimed at helping potato farmers develop new markets for their spuds. They opened a distillery in a glass factory where their bottles are manufactured on the premises. Pot-distilled using the high-starch Katahdin variety and other potatoes grown in Pennsylvania, Boyd & Blair—named in tribute to relatives of the partners—is, like its Eastern European counterparts, sweeter than grain-based vodkas, with surprising notes of vanilla and coffee. All that potato starch gives it an exceptionally creamy mouth feel, but it’s also bright and luscious on the back end. Though it’s wonderful in fruit-based cocktails, this vodka is smooth and sweet enough to sip neat.
Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka