360 Vodka: A local vodka for your eco lemon drop

BlogHer Original Post

Local beers and wines usually aren't too hard to find, but for strict locavorians who've had to give up their cosmos and cape cods, 360 Vodka may very well be a gift from the eco-gods -- if said locavorian lives near Missouri.

360 Vodka, made by McCormick Distilling Company, is created from grains grown in northeastern Kansas and Southwestern Missouri, near the distillery in Weston, Missouri. I first tried this vodka at a party at the eco-mansion Wired LivingHome (above) -- and liked it! I do have to admit I really can't tell the difference between super premium vodkas though (I'm hardly alone in that, BTW).... But Sarah's Cucina Bella gives 360 Vodka a rave review: "Yes. It’s smooth. It’s a good mixer. And it’s environmentally friendly, What more could you ask for?" And here's Julia's review on the Dear Al Gore blog: "smooth and tasty."

Unfortunately, the vodka isn't organic. According to Rebecca Stein, a spokesperson for 360 Vodka, McCormick Distilling wasn't able to find local grains that had achieved organic certification. Instead of shipping in organic grains from farther away, McCormick Distilling decided to reduce its transportation carbon footprint and support local farmers.

Oddly, although "McCormick definitely views organic positively and use organics in their wearable merchandise" according to Rebecca, the company still isn't pushing the farmers that supply its grains to go organic. Why not? The price and availability of organic grains is volatile, according to Rebecca, especially when you're trying to stay local. It seems we can have organic vodka like Square One or local vodka like 360 -- but it's tough to get both local and organic in one bottle at this point in time.

Still, 360 Vodka's aimed to go green in other ways. To make the vodka, McCormick Distilling uses what it describes as an energy-efficient, “five times filtered” distillation process, which the company asserts is 200% more efficient than the conventional pot still method. In addition, the company buys offsets for 100% of its electricity, transportation, and natural gas emissions.

360 Vodka's also tried to green its packaging. The bottles are made with 85% recycled glass (70% post consumer) -- compared with 35% recycled glass in the average glass bottle -- and labeled with 100% post-consumer recycled paper. To top off the eco efforts, the bottles have a flip top that allows for easy reuse. If you don't want to reuse the bottle, make sure you recycle it!

360 Vodka is available in grocery stores including Ralph’s, Trader Joes’s, BevMo and Albertson’s. If you're too busy blogging to leave the computer, order it online at Garnet Wine for $32.99.

And eco-vodka's best mixed with organic mixers! Try the organic cocktail mixer ModMix or your favorite organic cranberry and grapefruit juice to make 360 Breezes, which Anne of Cooking with Anne says is "good and light." For more green drinking options, here's my guide to drinking like an environmentalist.
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel also blogs at greenLAgirl.com.

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