“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” – Dean Martin
Lest we forget, vodka by definition is a clear, colorless alcohol with little or no aroma or taste.
However, In this article, we will take a look at two unique Vodkas that represent the best organic vodka brands in Ocean and American Harvest.
Both of these brands are of the farm-to-bottle variety: the farming of their ingredients, processing, and bottling all take place in the same general location, give or take a couple of miles.
Both vodkas are wholly organic. Their ingredients are cultivated without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and no preservatives, artificial flavors, or GMO products are used in the manufacture.
Ocean or American Harvest?
American Harvest is made in Idaho from winter wheat, agave, and artisanal water.
American Harvest is made at the 1000 Springs Mill in Buhl by the Mason and Cornie families, third-generation farmers in Idaho’s Magic Valley. Vodka billionaire Sidney Frank launched it as a brand in 2011.
Ocean Vodka is made in Hawaii from sugar cane and desalinated seawater.
Founded by Shay Smith, a native of the Hawaiian island of Maui, Ocean Vodka’s home base is an 80-acre family farm in Kula, on the slopes of Haleakala (East Maui Volcano).
How Are They Made?
American Heritage is made by milling wheat, cooking the flour in water to form a mash, adding yeast, fermenting it for a couple of days, then putting it through a four-column continuous distillation, at which point it is mixed with water and agave nectar. The end result is filtered through a four-step charcoal process to remove any impurities.
Ocean Vodka uses state-of-the-art equipment and a technique that performs the equivalent of 30 to 40 distillations in each pass.
What Are They Made Of?
American Harvest Vodka is made from Rocky Mountain winter wheat, agave nectar (as a sweetener), and artisanal (underground) water from the Snake River.
Ocean Vodka is made from a variety of Polynesian sugar canes, desalinated seawater from deep beneath the Pacific Ocean, and melt from a glacier that broke free from the coast of Greenland and is now wending its slow, inexorable way through the chain of Hawaiian Islands.
How Are They Similar?
Make no mistake, these are both excellent, top-shelf, premium-quality vodkas that are equal to anything Europe has to offer. They are also extremely versatile.
Both have an ABV of 40% (80 proof)
Both vodkas are colorless and crystal clear.
Ocean Vodka averages out at about $30 for a 750ml bottle, and American Heritage at about $25, depending on the distributor.
Taste & Flavor
American Heritage is light, medium-bodied, and very smooth with a delicate, sweet, slightly buttery finish. By contrast, its bouquet has an understated herbal, almost medicinal quality.
The minerals in Ocean Vodka lend it a slightly salty taste that brings out the sweetness left over from the sugar cane. It has a flavor that can’t help but make you think of endless beaches, soft white sand, and waves rolling into shore.
|Production Area||Kula, Maui||Buhl, Idaho|
|Raw Materials||Sugar cane and desalinated seawater||Winter wheat, agave nectar, and artisanal water|
|Taste||Light, medium-bodied, very smooth with a delicate, sweet, slightly buttery finish|
|Price (per 750ml)||$30||$25|
|Color||Clear, colorless||Clear, colorless|
How Are They Consumed?
They can be drunk neat, neat and ice-cold, or with your favorite mixers. Here are some ideas to get you started:
This one is easy. There are two basic kinds of basic vodka martini: wet and dry. A wet vodka martini is three parts vodka, one part vermouth (the sweetener). The less vermouth, the drier the martini.
Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with ice. This is important, people, so pay attention: the ice goes in first. Now add the vodka and vermouth. Shake or stir vigorously for a minute or two. Pour. Drink. Enjoy.
P.S. If you really want to get it right, keep the ingredients and everything you use to make your vodka martini refrigerated.
Fill a glass with ice, pour in some vodka, give it a squirt or two of lime juice, then add some ginger beer. One Moscow Mule coming up!
Two parts vodka, one part coffee liqueur, then top it off with cream – the heavier the better – and stir.
A very viable option. Consider adding cranberry juice. Add orange juice and you’ve just invented the screwdriver!
Some might even go so far as to suggest watermelon juice and basil.
Kudos and Plaudits
At the outset of the Corona pandemic, Ocean Vodka saw that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) was in short supply and started making hand sanitizer, for hospitals, clinics, and medical personnel at first, then later for the general public.
Ocean is also to be commended for using desalinated seawater. Potable water is a limited resource we can’t afford to waste.
In 2017, David Adelman acquired American Heritage as part of 1776 Spirits, a subsidiary of his consortium, Darco Capital.
Adelman and his associates (LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and John Legend – along with Mark Cuban and Bill Gates) comprise a mega-conglomerate whose stated goals are sustainable growth, renewable energy, the reduction of carbon emissions, and an end to climate change.
Last year Adelman spearheaded a $2.8m funding drive to get disabled kids and adults out of war-torn Ukraine.
In 2013 American Heritage won the Gold Medal at the International Review of Spirits Awards.
Alternatives to American Heritage
Both of these organic vodkas, like American Heritage, are relatively inexpensive:
An excellent vodka made from corn in the Coen Brothers’ home state of Minnesota, Novaterra also comes in a wide range of flavors. At about $15 for 750ml, it’s great value for money.
Slightly more expensive at $18 for 750ml, Prairie Organic – also from Minnesota – is bright and creamy. It belongs to a loose affiliation of distillers who help other farmers go organic.
Alternatives to Ocean Organic
Two outstanding vodkas more-or-less the same price as Ocean:
A vodka distilled in Kazakhstan from organically grown wheat and artisanal water from the foothills of the Himalayas. $32 for 750ml.
Purity Organic Ultra 34
From a 13th Century castle in Sweden. This vodka won two gold medals at Vodka Masters 2018. Anywhere from $22 to $36, depending on the signature edition and the distributor.
Organic Vodka Brands – FAQs
Are these vodkas freely available?
American Heritage’s distribution has improved drastically since its acquisition by Darco Capital but remains patchy.
Hawaii Sea Spirits LLC (Ocean Vodka’s holding company) has neither the reach nor the clout of 1776 Spirits, but its reputation has garnered investors and its market penetration is on the uptick.
These vodkas are hard enough to find in the United States. The odds of finding them in stores outside the US are vanishingly small. Your best bet, inside or outside the U.S., is to order online and get it shipped.
The fact of the matter is, that organic products don’t lend themselves to mass production on a global scale. Organic vodkas account for less than 1% of the market.
Which one is the most popular?
American Heritage enjoys the most support and the highest ratings. It also has a much larger promotional budget and the support of an organization that’s worth billions. You do the math.