Hangar One Vodka

I recently put in some serious tasting time at the St. George distillery, home to Hangar One vodka, which is housed in a decommissioned naval air station hangar, and this year celebrating its 30th anniversary. Founded by a former judge obsessed with alchemically capturing the essence of California in a bottle, Hangar One infuses its vodka (most of which is made from single-distilled viognier grapes and wheat) not with the pedestrian orange, lemon or lime flavorings, but with all-natural mandarin blossom, Buddha’s hand citron and kaffir lime from trusted growers. The spiced pear vodka transports me right to the holidays, the Fraser River raspberry and Maine blueberry flavors bring summer into focus, and the chipotle editions make a wicked Bloody Mary. The entire complement of Hangar One vodkas is available throughout Las Vegas, and is especially well represented at the Cosmopolitan, which has—as in the case of the Maine blueberry—had the honor of introducing new flavors to this market. At Hangar One’s Alameda, Calif., headquarters, I witnessed firsthand how the St. George distillery team is constantly experimenting: distilled Sierra Nevada ales; buttered popcorn bourbon; brandy-based coffee liqueurs. (Just don’t ask me about the oyster experiment!) In addition to the impending nifty new bottle design, I honestly can’t wait to see—nor can I guess—what these fearless alchemists have up their sleeves. HangarOne.com.