Different types of spirits categories have grown in popularity and fallen out of favor over the years as people’s tastes and drinking habits change. But despite these fluctuations, vodka continues to be the top-selling spirit in America. People just can’t get enough of this versatile clear liquor that is a staple ingredient of so many classic cocktails. And premium brands like GREY GOOSE are particularly popular these days.
The vodka category was recently given a much-needed boost by the TTB, the governmental body that regulates alcohol and provides definitions for spirits, among many other functions. While vodka was formerly defined as being devoid of flavor, aroma, or color, that is no longer the case. Instead, the legal definition now focuses specifically on production methods. For vodka brands and enthusiasts, this was a long time coming, as they have long pointed out that you can pinpoint the particular flavor notes that an individual vodka brings to the table.
Production methods are, in fact, extremely important to consider when crafting a high-quality vodka, as the folks at GREY GOOSE can attest to. Everything from the raw ingredients to the number of distillations to the quality of water used to proof the spirit before bottling has a profound impact on the flavor and mouthfeel of vodka. Less is arguably more throughout this process, because multiple steps and a long ingredient list are sometimes really just attempts to augment an inferior product. However, such is not the case with GREY GOOSE, an important pioneer of the premium vodka category that was created back in 1997. Maître de chai (cellar master) Francois Thibault was charged with creating the vodka, utilizing techniques and knowledge from his extensive background in Cognac to craft what has become a very popular brand.
GREY GOOSE is produced in France from just two ingredients: single-origin Picardie winter wheat and spring water. Picardie is a region that is known as the “breadbasket” of France, and it is home to farmers who cultivate some of the best grains you can find in any country. The wheat used to make GREY GOOSE is the Blé Panifiable Supérieur variety, which can be traced back to three farming cooperatives that have been working the soil for 11 generations. GREY GOOSE has been committed to working with these cooperatives since its founding because of the incredible quality of the wheat, all of which is grown within 50 kilometers of the distillery. This 100 percent GMO-free wheat is the same that is used to make much of the delicious bread and baked goods you can find throughout France, an indicator of its quality and importance in the process, and ultimately this translates to an exceptional taste. And even though GREY GOOSE is made from wheat, it is still a gluten-free vodka as the distillation process removes the gluten protein.
Once the grain is secured, the next step is to mash and distill it. Some brands tout the fact that they distill their vodka multiple times, sometimes even more than 10, in an attempt to achieve some elusive level of purity. The problem is that this also tends to strip out any of the character that the basic ingredients being used could potentially bring to the spirit. For GREY GOOSE, one distillation is enough, with the spirit running through a series of column stills as it continues its journey to the bottle. The brand sums up this philosophy concisely: “If you need to distill more than once, you need better ingredients.” The point here is that if you are working with carefully sourced grains and water, why would you want to repeatedly distill your spirit to remove the flavor?
The water used to make GREY GOOSE comes from a limestone well in Gensac-la-Pallue in the Cognac region of France. This water is soft with a bit of sweetness to it, making it the perfect ingredient to use for proofing down the vodka to its final 40 percent ABV. The water is filtered through 500 feet of limestone, after which any remaining minerals are removed to ensure its purity. Water is a very important component, according to Thibault, as it does indeed make up the majority of what is in the bottle. A fun fact about those bottles is that they are washed with GREY GOOSE vodka before being filled and sealed, ensuring that only the vodka will see the inside of the glass.
From grain to bottle, GREY GOOSE vodka is the result of longstanding relationships, carefully sourced ingredients, and a minimalist approach to preserve the integrity of the base components. Every step is meticulously considered, from the partnerships with family farms that provide the wheat, to the spring water, to the single distillation used to craft this premium vodka. GREY GOOSE is an exercise in simplicity, and proof of just how important the basic ingredients are in creating a vodka that works just as well in cocktails as it does being sipped on its own.
SIP RESPONSIBLY. ©2021. GREY GOOSE, ITS TRADE DRESS AND THE GEESE DEVICE ARE TRADEMARKS. IMPORTED BY GREY GOOSE IMPORTING COMPANY, CORAL GABLES, FL. VODKA – 40% ALC. BY VOL. DISTILLED FROM FRENCH WHEAT.
This article is sponsored by GREY GOOSE® Vodka.