If you’re going to mix up a cocktail, it’s a bonus to feel good about the ingredients used to make it. And if you can enjoy unique flavor twists as the same time, that’s even better.
Minnesota-based Phillips Distilling launched its first vodka botanicals collection, Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons, this September, and with National Vodka Day on Oct. 4, it’s a perfect time to give these a try.
The inspiration for the flavor combinations was based on the sustainable USDA certified organic ingredients available (see descriptions below). Each 60-proof bottle is naturally flavored and free of chemicals, pesticides and gluten, contains zero sugar, carbs or fat and has only 75 calories per every 1½-ounce serving.
I received samples of each flavor and enlisted my husband Jeff to help taste-test a few cocktails, just as he helped me try Prairie Organics new Sparkling Craft Cocktails in cans this summer. There are currently three flavor combinations in the Sustainable Seasons lineup:
Apple, Pear & Ginger: This has a crisp apple flavor balanced with juicy pear and finished with the subtle spiciness of ginger.
• Both apples and pears found their way on Environmental Working Group’s 2020 “Dirty Dozen List,” which annually highlights fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residues when not grown organically. Prairie Organic Spirits sources only fruits and herbs that are free from chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.
Grapefruit, Hibiscus & Chamomile: Infused with grapefruit and hibiscus flavors that are balanced by notes of earthy and floral chamomile.
• Now is the first time this citrus fruit has been planted on U.S. soil in 10 years, making it more sustainable than ever.
Watermelon, Cucumber & Lime: The watermelon flavor is a sweet complement to the crisp cucumber that is topped off with the zesty citrus notes of lime.
• Conventionally-farmed cucumbers often contain pesticide residues, which can be harmful when ingested. Prairie Organic spirits contain only organic.
One way to mix up these flavored vodkas is by just serving over ice and adding soda water. Or try them in cocktails, such as the following recipes. My favorite was the grapefruit flavor mixed with orange juice—the Blooming Screwdriver. We also tried it mixed with grapefruit juice, which would seem a likely choice, but it was too bitter; it worked better mixed with the orange juice. Maybe if some sparkling water or sweetener was added with the grapefruit juice? The Harvest Mule was a tasty twist on a Moscow Mule—this was Jeff’s favorite and my second. Since our taste preferences lean toward sweet, we mixed it with ginger ale, which is a bit sweeter than ginger beer, but either would be good. And while cucumber flavored drinks are not my favorite profile, if you enjoy it, the twist with watermelon would make a nice cocktail, such as the Watermelon Cucumber Mojito below.
In addition to feeling good about the ingredients you’re sipping, you can feel good about paying it forward. Prairie Organic Spirits is giving back to the community that harvests the corn to produce these spirits. In partnership with the Rodale Institute, Prairie Organic Spirits created the Spirit of Change Fund. By donating 1 percent of all sales, they are helping more farmers go organic, which helps make a better future for them and our land, too.
1½ ounces Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Apple, Pear & Ginger Flavored Vodka
4 ounces ginger beer
½ ounce lime juice
lime, for garnish
Pour Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Apple, Pear & Ginger Flavored Vodka and lime juice into a mug. Add ice cubes and ginger beer. Stir to combine, then garnish with a lime wedge.
1½ ounces Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Grapefruit, Hibiscus & Chamomile Flavored Vodka
½ ounce organic orange juice
lemon or lime sparkling soda water, to top
Pour Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Grapefruit, Hibiscus & Chamomile Flavored Vodka and orange juice into a champagne flute or highball glass. Top with lemon or lime sparkling soda water.
Watermelon Cucumber Mojito
2 ounces Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Watermelon, Cucumber & Lime Flavored Vodka
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lime juice
cucumber, for garnish
Muddle mint, simple syrup, and lime juice in a collins glass and then add ice. Pour in the Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons Watermelon, Cucumber & Lime Flavored Vodka and top with soda water. Garnish with mint leaf and cucumber wheel slice.