Glass Distillery opened its SoDo tasting room on Monday, and owner Ian MacNeil is having a really good week. MacNeil is currently at the kindofabigdeal Aspen Food and Wine Classic, where Glass is the exclusive vodka of the Access House. Contrary to its name, the Access House is a private mansion that hosts some seriously swank invite-only afterparties for the big-name chefs and other VIP types who frequent the festival (including, perhaps, local chefs Cormac Mahoney and Blaine Wetzel, who you can find on the cover of the latest Food and Wine magazine).
So if you happen to be a Top Chef contestant, a Kardashian, or Mario Batali, definitely swing by Access House and check out Glass’s flagship grape-based vodka, distilled from Washington wine. For the rest of us, the newly open tasting room at 1712 First Ave S has industrial overtones, clubby leather furniture, reclaimed wood, and lots of artwork—not to mention the a gorgeous copper still from Germany.
Most vodka is grain-based, and known (or sometimes vilified) for packing an alcoholic punch without bringing much in the way of flavor or aroma. Grape versions tend to be slightly sweeter, and MacNeil and partner Adrian Higginbotham say their creation is more complex with a cool finish that doesn’t burn the throat. Glass Vodka is made with Washington wine, which is apparently easier than distilling it from plain old grapes. The curvy glass bottle even resembles a decanter.