Vodka: An Unbridled Kentucky ‘Spirit’

Jeptha Creed Original Vodka resting on Bloody Butcher Corn with flavored vodkas surrounding

Can we call vodka an American spirit? Jeptha Creed is doing their best to claim such. While its roots are undeniably planted in Europe, this transparent libation has become a titan of the U.S. alcohol industry. Surprisingly, vodka’s distinct qualities were widely dismissed by 20th century Americans content with their flavorful barrel-aged spirits. ‘Flavorless and odorless’ components didn’t initially resonate with bourbon drinkers, but vodka slowly established itself across the pond with a combination of persistence and savvy marketing. The exact history is long and sporadic, but a direct line can be traced from Russia to Moscow mules on the menu at every American cocktail bar.

Gaining in popularity since the first world war, vodka fought for its spot on the bar in whiskey country. Russian vodka production was nationalized after WWI, which lead hopeful Russian entrepreneurs to pre-prohibition America. Despite a beloved status throughout Europe, Russian distillers were stifled by an unfamiliar market overseas – whiskey was king of America. The first vodka distillery in the U.S. was forced to market their vodka as a ‘white whiskey’ in the face of bankruptcy. It took some time, but vodka won a place in the hearts of domestic bar-goers. Now a titan of the American spirit industry, vodka has rightfully earned its place in a crowded contemporary space. So, can we consider it an American alcohol now? While history can’t be re-written, Jeptha Creed has undoubtedly innovated with a properly American take on the spirit.

Sitting on the shelf at exactly 80 proof, vodka regulations have historically left little room for innovation. The U.S. governing body of Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) used to require vodka to be ‘flavorless and odorless’ – which categorically restricts distinguishable components. However, they reconsidered this decision in 2020 to officially allow distilleries to impart distinctive qualities in their vodkas. This new regulation fares well for Jeptha Creed and their uniquely flavorful spirits. One sip of Jeptha Creed’s Original Vodka and you’ll understand how powerful of a decision it is to use 100% Bloody Butcher Corn.

Jeptha Creed has carved a noteworthy space for themselves with one very special asset: the family farm. The ‘Creed’ in Jeptha Creed is made fully realized by their Ground to Glass commitment. A bold decision to use Heirloom Bloody Butcher Corn, rather than traditional yellow corn, in their bourbon has rewarded a remarkably unique Kentucky spirit. Grown entirely on their family farm, this corn reveals itself in their various mashbills with an earthy and nutty essence. Their vodkas are distilled exclusively using Bloody Butcher Corn, which allows you to sample the multitudinous complexity of the heirloom corn’s flavor expressions.

While their vodkas are triple-distilled and chill filtered, abiding by the very traditions that produce a ‘flavorless’ vodka, the robustness of Bloody Butcher Corn refuses to hide. This is not your average vodka. Revealing an array of earthy and mildly sweet notes, their gluten-free original vodka is a treasure trove for complex spirit drinkers. Considering the altered TTB guidelines, consumers may be looking for a more ‘flavor-driven’ vodka; Jeptha Creed provides flavor in spades. Jeptha Creed Original Vodka is distinct, yet familiar. The essence of vodka is recognizable, but the corn is courageously present. The original vodka undoubtedly serves well as a sipping spirit, but it could be integrated into classic vodka cocktail recipes with deliciously interesting results. Exhibiting a subtle aroma of cake batter on the nose, and a clean palate with hints of white cherry and earthiness, this Kentucky spirit provides a pleasantly surprising experience.

Another reason that vodkas have become a mainstay of liquor cabinets across America is for their mixability. A ‘flavorless’ spirit is a great starting point if you want your concoction to mask the booze. Truly no cocktail bar is complete without some form of vodka awaiting a gentle introduction into a delicate mix. With such high potential for mixing, flavored vodkas have become a perfectly inspiring option to keep on hand. In the spirit of their Ground to Glass mantra, Jeptha Creed has introduced natural flavors to their 100% Heirloom Corn Vodka.

Honey, Hot Pepper, Blueberry, and Coffee Flavored Vodkas are excellent options for those interested in sipping a delicate infusion or making a cocktail with an inspiring backbone. Sourcing ingredients like honey directly from their farm and other local apiaries, the Nethery family is providing delicious options for those seeking natural and farm-fresh products. The Honey Flavored Vodka provides a nose of shortbread cookie with hints of honey, wheat bread, & almond. Featuring 100% real honey and no flavoring additives, this vodka’s bright aroma reflects its admirable origins. Being naturally sweetened, the Honey Flavored Vodka lends itself to copious styles of refreshing cocktails – like this delicious French 75 variation, the Pink 75.

Another refreshing option for summer months is their Blueberry Flavored Vodka. The natural infusion includes blueberries and a bit of orange peel, which combine to convey a delightfully boozy dessert fruit taste on the palate. Fruity, tangy, and slightly sweet – their Blueberry Flavored Vodka has a beautiful deep plum color ready to make any serving glass look picturesque. If you’re looking to integrate or sip on something less sweet, their Hot Pepper Flavored Vodka has the spice you desire. Infused with freshly chopped Garlic, Anaheim peppers, Jalapeño peppers, and Serrano peppers – this variation packs a flavorful punch. If you enjoy a bloody mary with brunch, you need this bottle immediately. Flaunting full-bodied flavor imparted from the fresh infusion, the stage is set to simply integrate your favorite Bloody Mary Mix. And while it is certainly ripe for piquant cocktails, this vodka can also serve as the base for a complex pasta sauce.  With a nose of garlic and a lingering fresh-pepper spiciness, this vodka is a gem for both cocktail and cooking incorporation.

Their Coffee Flavored Vodka is infused with Honduran Roast Coffee Beans, sourced from Louisville coffee shop Fante’s Coffee. This fresh infusion creates a deliciously robust blend of flavors offering hints of coffee, vanilla, and cocoa. With a richness reminiscent of a liqueur – but a consistency still that of a well-balanced vodka, this variation is perfect for coffee-inspired cocktails like an espresso martini. All Jeptha Creed flavored vodkas are individually appropriate for different occasions. Regardless of how you wish to incorporate them – these tasty spirits let you skip laborious steps without sacrificing quality and freshness. The perfect drink is a little easier when Jeptha Creed has already naturally infused delicious flavors!

While Bourbon is the only true historically American spirit, Jeptha Creed has provided a lineup of Vodkas that embody the essence of America. Using corn grown on their own farm, the Nethery family has embraced their family history, which is inextricably interwoven with colonial America. It’s hard to see any American who enjoys a drink turning their nose up to these offerings, even if they’re not typically vodka enthusiasts. There is so much more to these spirits than your average ‘flavorless’ vodka. Whether flavored or original, Jeptha Creed is providing a uniquely American lineup of Kentucky Vodka.

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