Did you know that a mere hour and a half trip up 71 will take you to an independent, small-batch vodka distillery? Our friendly neighbor to the north Columbus is home to Middle West Spirits, owned and founded by Brady Konya and Ryan Lang.
I had the pleasure of giving their OYO vodka a try this summer on a tour of Columbus, tasting it side-by-side with some Grey Goose. Bringing both vodkas to my nose, I could immediately smell a difference. The OYO had pleasant hints of cherry, and the Grey Goose smelled a lot like nail polish remover.
The OYO goes down much smoother, with lingering hints of said cherry and oak, and of course a zinging burn. The Grey Goose? Decidedly more chemical tasting in comparison.
As if that wasn't enough, Jeni's Ice Cream has collaborated with Middle West, bringing hard liquor and ice cream together in frozen matrimony. The resulting flavor is called Oakvale Young Gouda with OYO Vodka Plumped Cranberries. I have yet to try it, but based on my own research of other Jeni's flavors, I can't imagine it's anything short of delightful.
If warming up to a bottle of locally crafted vodka sounds good to you this winter, check out Middle West. They're open to the public every Wednesday from 5 to 7 pm, and tours can be arranged at other times. They've even got a nifty list of cocktail recipes just waiting to be whipped up on a chilly November night.