Here’s a fun piece of trivia: you can make vodka from anything. Okay, not anything. Not dirty socks. But most grains, just about any fruit, potatoes, corn, sugar packets…if you can ferment it, you can make vodka. Obviously, potato vodka is the most common version because, you know, Russia and its potatoes, but I’ve had some great vodkas made from wheat, a couple that used mostly corn, some barley vodkas, even grape-based vodkas. Now I can add sugar beets to that list. BET Vodka is made from sugar beets, harvested in the Midwest and sourced from a farming cooperative in Minnesota. How quaint is that? And here’s another fun piece of trivia: while haters will say that all vodka tastes similar, the source material for the booze changes the flavor profile dramatically. This new sugar beet vodka proves that fact better than most.
There’s not much on the nose of BET, which is essentially what you expect from a vodka—the spirit doesn’t have much of a nose in general. But take your first sip and you’ll notice what the sugar beets contribute to this spirit. There’s a surprisingly lush mouthfeel—it’s thick and robust, delivering a sweetness that dominates the front of the sip. You get some faint notes of vanilla before the taste moves into a peppery spice that takes center stage during the backend of the sip. And that lush mouthfeel lingers, coating the your palate during the entire process, finally giving way to a bit of alcohol burn after the sip is long gone.
And this is all while the vodka served at room temperature. Add some ice and everything mellows out completely You still get some of the vanilla, but a pleasant nuttiness steps in and dominates the flavor—similar to what you find in a high-end sake.
The distillery uses the hearts of sugar beets to make this vodka. The beets are harvested in the Midwest, then processed into granulated beet sugar (add that to the list of things I’ve never had), then dissolved and fermented and distilled at least three times. I’ve never had vodka made from sugar beets before. Actually, I’ve never had a sugar beet before. But I gotta say, I dig it. BET is sweeter than most of its vodka counterparts, but not in a saccharine way. More like in a very sip-able bourbon over ice sort of way.
You could dress this vodka up in a martini, or get crazy with one of the cocktails BET recommends (most of them are riffs on bourbon cocktails). But this vodka is so easy to drink neat or over ice, why bother with muddling anything?
Distillery: Beet Spirits
City: New Richmond, Wisconsin