Michael Hepworth

HOLLYWOOD(Spirtisman)12/19/13/–At one time before prohibition there were about 8,000 small distilleries across the United States. Just a couple of years ago there were no more than a couple of Hundred, but recently there has been an upsurge, although it will never reach

The numbers of the old days. One if those leading the charge in California in Santa Barbara is Ascendant Spirits who have just released their Caviar Lime Star Vodka, which is a natural follow on to their Star Vodka, both retailing for $38.99.











They also produce Breaker Bourbon ($48.99) and Silver Lightning Moonshine ($27.99). The Caviar Lime Vodka is distilled from locally grown California caviar limes from a base of 100% sweet corn. Green in color as you would imagine the lime taste is very prevalent, although these type of limes are less acidic than the regular version. They also carry essential oils in their skin not found in any other citrus fruit. The vodka is distilled six times, and the overall taste is somewhat unusual.

The American Star Vodka is distilled five times with a silky sweet peppery finish. Bit of an acquired taste just like the Caviar Lime version, and also distilled from sweet corn, the vodka goes through a rather rigorous filtration process. It makes a lot of sense to have a distilling operation in the Santa Barbara region because of the warm days and cool nights and the abundance fruits, grains and herbs in the local area.

That is exactly what founder and Master Distiller Stephen Gertman thought when he started the company with his Breaker Bourbon Whisky ($48.99) which is twice distilled in a copper still and uses a base of corn, rye and malted barley. The fact that it is the first whisky to be produced in California since the prohibition was quite a surprise to me, and surely others cannot be far behind. Not bad for a former television producer who tired of the whims and unrealistic demands of television executives.

Moonshine produced in California seems a bit of a reach for me as opposed to that coming out of Tennessee, but the Ascendant version called Silver Lightning Moonshine ($27.99) did win a big award at the Taste of the Cocktail show in New Orleans this year.

Michael Hepworth

287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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