The family that makes booze together, stays together. Just ask Danny and Angela Pettit. The father-daughter duo has just launched Azzurre Spirits (AzzurreSpirits.com), the family’s own line of vodka and gin, available now in Las Vegas, and soon in California.
The learning curve was steep; Danny has a 30-year background in corporate finance and tech, not to mention a number of entrepreneurial pursuits (ahem, racing team owner), while Angela is a certified personal trainer and athletic instructor. Danny has attempted retirement a few times, but the deep blue-green of the Mediterranean captivated him while living abroad, inspiring a new venture. With the help of Essential Spirits, a contract distillery in Mountain View, California, Danny and Angela sought to capture that coastal feel, along with the scents and tastes of the region, in a spirit that thumbs its nose at the notion of vodka as a flavorless, odorless spirit.
Azzurre Vodka has an intriguing aroma, having been distilled from apples, grapes and sugarcane, instead of wheat, rye or potatoes. The flavor evokes apples and cream, with a perceived sweetness, yet dry finish, lending it to fruity and delicate applications. “People should try them on ice, and then see what they want to do,” Angela says. She likes her vodka with freshly pressed watermelon juice and a little lime, or just club soda and a squeeze of citrus. And before you ask: “No, we don’t add anything,” Danny says. “Only water, pure water.
Azzurre Gin came second, born out of the vodka base. “It’s very complex,” Danny says of the recipe. “We lined up [botanical] elements, tasted each one separately and started eliminating. Then we started blending, adding and subtracting.” Following in the footsteps of Hendrick’s and other alternative-style gins, Danny and his distiller intentionally dialed back the juniper profile (at once gin’s defining and most polarizing characteristic), and pumped up the botanicals with tangerine, grapefruit, ginger, basil and rose petals for an assertive, unique aroma, flavor and finish.
Among the first to embrace the Pettits’ passion project was DB Brasserie in the Venetian, which uses the vodka in a riff on the French 75, and you can find the gin in the house Negroni at Public School 702. Also look for Azzurre’s dramatic iris logos at STK in the Cosmopolitan, Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian, VDKA bar in Encore, Vintner Grill in Summerlin and at Lee’s Discount Liquors locations. Then drink one for the home team.