California Citrus Freeze Close-Call for Charbay Vodka

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Artisan vodka distillery relies on yearly California citrus harvest to create its flavored vodkas.

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13th generation Distiller Marko Karakasevic of Charbay Vodka (http://www.charbay.com) feels pretty darn lucky. Just a few days before the cold snap obliterated this year's citrus harvest in California, he picked up 8,000 pounds of Meyer Lemons for his Meyer Lemon Vodka.

"We make our flavored vodkas just once a year using 100% real fruit," explained Karakasevic. "If we'd waited a week, we literally wouldn't have been able to make our Blood Orange Vodka or Meyer Lemon Vodka this year."

In 1996, Karakasevic predicted the growth of the flavored vodka market and saw a niche for creating them using whole, fresh ingredients instead of the so-called "natural flavorings" or essences manufactured by commercial flavor factories.

In 2005, Marko was awarded the title of "Vodka Visionary" by Food & Wine Magazine for his contribution to the spirits industry.

The Charbay line of artisan spirits includes luxury vodkas, alambic rums, whiskey and brandy, as well as wines and ports. The company is owned and operated by the Karakasevic family in Northern California.

Martini Recipes:

Charbay Antifreeze

1.5 oz. Charbay Blood Orange Vodka

1/2 oz. Blue Curacao

1/2 oz. fresh orange juice

Mix ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed frozen martini glass

Charbay Blood Orange Cosmo

1.5 oz. Charbay Blood Orange Vodka

1.5 oz. cran-raspberry juice

Squeeze of lemon

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake until frosty and strain into a martini glass; garnish with lime wheel

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LARA KARAKASEVIC
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