Woody Creek pouring vodka drinks at Snowmass Culinary Festival
Commencing in Snowmass for its fourth year, the Culinary Festival will return Aug. 9-11 to open the door to a wide selection of celebrity chefs, wine connoisseurs and artists who simultaneously stir our senses and quench our appetites. Packed with cooking demos from chefs like PBS host and television personality Christy Rost, and Food and Wine Best New Chef James Mazzio from the Edge restaurant, the festival lineup is destined to satisfy the likes of all goers, featuring a juried art exhibit with regionally and nationally recognized artists, food and presentation expert panels, a master Palette of Pairings and more.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. New to the table this year is Woody Creek Distillers, pouring its very own potato vodka hand-grown and bottled from a farm right here in our valley. The only distillery in the country controlling every aspect of vodka production, from seed to sip, the guys at Woody Creek plan to appease the thirsts of those who walk by with their signature cocktail, the vodka-strawberry limeade.
Taking time to talk to me about the vodka, the production process and their anticipation for a successful weekend, Woody Creek Distillers representative Keith Hemeon gives me the scoop.
Snowmass Sun: What made you want to participate in the Snowmass Culinary Festival, and what do you look forward to over the weekend?
Keith Hemeon: We know that the Culinary Festival brings some of the most professional and knowledgeable foodies and wine connoisseurs together in one setting, and we are excited to stand beside them with our product. We look forward to handing out tastes of our vodka and hopefully winning over the hearts of those who try it.
SS: Can you tell me the ingredients of the drink you are pouring? Do you recommend any food pairings to go with it?
KH: The drink is our signature vodka-strawberry limeade. It is made with our once-distilled potato vodka, freshly muddled strawberries and mint simple syrup, fresh lemon and lime juice shaken and poured over ice. I would recommend pairing any farm-to-table foods, fresh ingredients, salads, poultry or seafood dishes with the cocktail.
SS: Can you explain the production process a little bit? What separates Woody Creek Distillers from other distilleries in the making of the product?
KH: We are the only distillery in the country that controls every aspect of production, which means we grow our potatoes on a farm in Woody Creek, pick them fresh from the fields and distill them for vodka the same day. Our state-of-the-art distillery allows us to bring our vodka up to temperature without the use of a neutral grain spirit, and only distill once to retain the flavorful characteristics of the approximate 15 pounds of potatoes that go into each bottle. All of our ingredients are farmed and purchased in Colorado, and we feel what separates us is a completely organic product that is smooth, balanced and flavorful for any palette.
SS: Where can I find your vodka for purchase? Do you make any other spirits available for purchase?
KH: We have a full tasting room and bar in Basalt at our distillery that features vodka for purchase, tastings of all our spirits including rye whiskey, bourbon, gin, fruit brandies and a complete craft-cocktail menu to feature all fresh ingredients. Our vodka is currently the only spirit for purchase, and is available at all liquor stores throughout Aspen/Snowmass.
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The Melville family didn’t distance themselves from ownership of a local mountainside chalet for too long.