What to Drink
Buddha’s Hand Citron Crowned Vodka of the Year
The vodka of the year winner at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings champions the California way and the Hand Citron lemon.
Inspired by the California way, which is now a way of life, Hangar 1 began making vodka in 2002. The Hangar 1 distillery is based in Alameda, out of an old World War II aircraft hangar. The California way defines the distillery’s take on spirits, one of which was the Vodka of the Year winner at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings.
The USA Spirits Ratings is an annual spirits competition that judges spirits on the basis of their quality, value and packaging. The competition aims to add amazing spirits to retailer shelves and shine a spotlight on them. The blind tasting of the spirits is done by top buyers and experts of the US retail and drinks trade and this year featured names like Tim Marson MW (Senior Spirits Buyer at Wine.com); Jeff Feist (Category Lead for Spirits & More at BevMo) and Devin Walden (Spirits Buyer, Total Wine & More).
The Home of the Vodkas, Source Facebook
The fourth edition of the USA Spirits Ratings was the most diverse in the competition’s history, with spirits entries from over 49 countries. Vodka was among the top five categories at the competition along with whiskey, tequila, gin and rum. Among the many vodkas that showed out at the competition, the Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand Citron impressed the judges the most on all three criterias. Proximo Spirits backed Hangar 1 Distillery took home another four medals to complete a great showing. Here are the vodkas that won at the USA Spirits Ratings.
Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron
Hand citron is a type of lemon, some might find it funny looking but it is an age-old relative of the modern lemon. It's also known as Buddha’s hand in a few languages like Japanese and French. With Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand Citron, it will always be known as an ingredient in the Vodka of the Year winner at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings. The highest-rated vodka at the competition with its score of 94 points, Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand Citron was also a gold medal awardee.
The Hangar 1 Buddha’s Hand Citron vodka has big citrus notes on the nose with candied lemon peel, lime zest and grapefruit. The palate is coated with a sweet lemon flavor and the lower acidity of the Hand Citron allows complex flavors to come through. Jasmine, basil and apricot notes all mingle brilliantly with the refreshing and balanced citrus flavor. A vodka that plays a symphony on the mouth of the drinker.
Hangar 1 Rosé
The silver medal winner from Hangar 1 is inspired by the local Golden State wine culture. The Hangar 1 Rosé is a first of its kind blend of the distillery’s Hangar 1 Vodka and Californian rosé wine. The vodka’s score of 80 points comes on the back of notes of crisp apple, sweet pea blossoms and a hint of oak on the nose. The soft and silky mouthfeel has hints of cranberries and finishes on a very fresh note.
There are also nuances of ripe blackberries, blueberry jam and cassis. The hints of roses and honeycomb play their part in making the Hangar 1 Rosé a great afternoon drinking option with a group of friends.
Hangar 1 Vodkas, Source Facebook
Hangar 1 Makrut Lime
At the heart of this award-winning vodka is the Makrut Lime, a bumpier and uglier alternative to a traditional lime. Jasmine, roses and honeysuckle aromas make for a floral nose. The lime flavor is coupled with notes of wood, white pepper, and cucumber to make vodka with great complexity. The Hangar 1 Makrut Lime also integrates lime leaves to its flavor as the distillery believes it holds the most flavor.
Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom
Concluding the list of Hangar 1 winners is the Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom. Mandarin orange blossoms are incredibly fragrant and lend a delicate intensity to the vodka. Along with Mandarin oranges, there are also aromas of orange creamsicles with vanilla. The palate is sweet featuring flavors like honey, rosewater and satsuma. The Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom is a beautiful, aromatic vodka that is bright, clean and is packed with citrus.
Hangar 1 Distillery has a number of different experiences lined up for visitors. Headlining their visiting experiences is the vodka distillery tour. Visitors get to learn about Hangar 1’s process and get to sip six spirits while learning about the craft. They have vodka tasting flights where you get to experience a flight of six unique handcrafted spirits on their gorgeous patio. A very immersive experience that can be capped off with a visit to the tasting room.
Visiting the Distillery, Source Facebook
Get a sip of their distiller’s exclusive line, a rotating seasonal small-batch collection. When it comes to sipping Hangar 1 spirits, they can also be enjoyed as a part of some delightful cocktails. Whether it is the Lavender Enlightenment featuring the Buddha’s Hand Citron, or the Lime & White Peach Swizzle containing the Hangar 1 Makrut Lime, there are plenty of concoctions to try featuring these award-winning vodkas.