El Gaucho Hospitality is thrilled to announce the launch of our very own premium vodka. Gridiron Vodka is now being offered in El Gaucho Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and AQUA by El Gaucho restaurants as of this past week. El Gaucho Portland will have it on their shelves soon.
In keeping with our business model of providing fresh, locally-sourced products on the menu, El Gaucho teamed up with local craft distillery, Glass Distillery, to create the proprietary blend. 25% is made from grapes grown in Washington and Oregon, and 75% from neutral spirits distilled from grain. With the Pacific Northwest being home to one of the best winemaking regions in the world, it seems natural to create a vodka distilled from grapes that are harvested from its rich soils. While grapes and other fruits or sugars have been used for centuries, most vodkas today typically use fermented grain or potatoes. This gives the Gridiron Vodka a unique flavor profile, and has less burn compared to others.
Glass Distillery, located in the Sodo Area of Seattle, produces Gridiron Vodka using their state-of-the-art, hand-formed 17.5-foot copper still imported from Germany. Gridiron Vodka is 40% Alcohol by Volume, or 80 proof. The multi-step distillation is a slow process that allows Glass Distillery to cut and utilize the very heart of the distilled wine spirits for use in the Gridiron blend. The result is a very clean and smooth vodka with subtle hints of the wine base.
The private label blend is the result of the passage of I-1183 in Washington State last November, which allows for retailers to buy directly from distilleries rather than through distributors. Joining forces with a local supplier will allow for improved customer service and better quality control.
Why Gridiron as a name?
The Gridiron Society is the vision of El Gaucho CEO Paul Mackay. Russ Johanson of Ravenna Rare Books was a frequent guest at El Gaucho, and he would trade some of his rare finds with Paul for dinner at El Gaucho. Over the years Paul has amassed a book collection about culinary and culture. One book in particular, titled The Life and Death of the Sublime Society of Beef Steaks, came into his possession. Printed in 1871 in London, the book describes a secret society of 24 men that began in 1735, who gathered to simply celebrate friendships, good beef, and drink. This inspired the launch of El Gaucho’s own Gridiron Society earlier this year, to recognize our best guests. With the exclusivity that lends itself to the name, Gridiron was a natural for our own vodka.
A little history about Vodka…
Vodka can be traced back to the 12th century in Poland and Russia. Compared to today’s vodka, originally it was used as medicine and cleaners. It also had a different flavor, color and smell from the vodka we enjoy now, which is generally colorless and odorless. The name itself is Slavic for “dear little water,” and also has ties to roots meaning “to burn,” as well as to a medieval alcoholic beverage ‘aqua vitae’ that in Latin literally means “water of life.” For a beverage with that much history, it’s surprising to know that it was rarely consumed outside of Europe before the 1950s. WWII changed that, and by 1975 it became the most popular spirit, by sales, in the United States.
The Final Result:
El Gaucho and AQUA by El Gaucho bartenders are concocting special drinks and fruit infusion cocktails using Gridiron Vodka. Stop by to see – and taste – what these master mixologists are creating. Cheers!