by Ian McNulty
A vodka from the newly-formed New Orleans distillery Atelier Vie is now making its way into stores and bars, and it really packs a wallop. It’s called Buck 25, a reference to its 125 proof (or 62.5 percent alcohol), more than half again the strength of your conventional 80 proof Absolut or Stoli.
But don’t get the wrong idea. Buck 25’s distiller says this overproof vodka wasn’t designed to necessarily make stronger drinks but rather to provide a “secret weapon” for craft cocktail enthusiasts.
“The appeal is you only need a smaller pour,” says distillery founder Jed Haas. “You can add more flavor and more ingredients to the glass have the same alcohol content.”
Haas and his partners produce Buck 25 at the ArtEgg Studios, a repurposed industrial space in Mid-City. Made from triple-filtered sugar cane spirit, Buck 25 is marketed as “professional infusion grade.” Haas says this means it’s aimed at bartenders and others who want to make their own flavor-infused vodka.
“The higher alcohol content means the flavor gets extracted a lot faster and is more intense,” he says.
One early adopter of Buck 25 has already come up with a highly personalized infusion. Pauline Patterson, proprietor of Finn McCool’s Irish Pub, infused a bottle of Buck 25 with Juicy Fruit Gum. Saints fans may recall that a ready stock of Juicy Fruit has been a game day superstition for head coach Sean Payton. Of course, he’s suspended this year thanks to the bounty debacle and barred from attending games. But Payton will be watching this Sunday’s game at the sports bar/restaurant Manning’s and people who pony up $1,000 to benefit his charitable Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation can watch the game there with him (there are a few spots left, details in the PDF below). Patterson is in that number, and she says she plans to present her Juicy Fruit Buck 25 to the coach as a symbol of support.
Meanwhile, next up from Atelier Vie is a hibiscus-flavored absinthe called Toulouse Red, which is now awaiting government approvals.