Ever since I discovered how easy it was to make my own simple syrup, I’ve been creating cocktails at home much more frequently than I used to do. I love discovering sustainable spirits that I didn’t know about to help me create my concoctions. Prairie Organic Spirits offered to send me some samples of their gin and vodka, and I’ve been playing with them in various drinks.

Prairie Organic makes three handcrafted certified organic spirits: vodka, cucumber vodka, and gin. These spirits are crafted with what the makers call the “seed to glass philosophy.” In their words, the Midwest farmers who distill these spirits have a “mission to empower consumers with naturally great taste to elevate their cocktail experience through small batch, organic vodka and gin offerings that are handcrafred with respect – from seed to glass – by family farmers.”

The corn used to distill Prairie Organic Spirits is organic, non-GMO corn grown by locally owned family farms. The used corn cobs from production don’t go to waste; they’re turned into biofuel.

The spirits are distilled to taste. That means that they’re tasted until they achieve the quality that Prairie Organic desires. There’s no specific number of times each batch is distilled. The attention to detail has won the organic spirits some impressive awards. The vodka is a two-time Double Gold San Francisco World Spirits winner, and in 2009 was named best new vodka by Food & Wine. The gin took gold in the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits competition and won a gold SIPS award the same year. The cucumber vodka won platinum at the 2013 SIPS awards.

Awards aside, it’s always good to personally give the spirits a try. I’ve sampled all three, played with them a bit, and I really enjoyed them.

The vodka is warm and smooth. I don’t find too many vodkas that I would want to sip neat, but I definitely would do so with the Prairie Organic. There’s no harsh aftertaste; in fact, there’s barely an aftertaste at all, which is spot on for good vodka.

The gin is spicy, slightly citrusy, a tiny bit sweet and has several layers of botanicals. The juniper isn’t overwhelming, but it’s there. It’s definitely a gin worthy of becoming a martini. I used the gin in my signature Gin Gimlet, and it was good.

The cucumber vodka smells exactly as it should, like the little cucumber and cream cheese tea sandwiches my family used to buy for special occasions. Funny how the sense of smell works, isn’t it? That’s exactly what came to my mind when I took my first whiff of this vodka. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy the cucumber vodka because I don’t enjoy cucumbers, and I usually find flavored vodkas obnoxious. But I did enjoy it. It’s fresh with a smooth taste of cucumber, but the taste doesn’t linger long in your mouth.

What can you do with cucumber vodka? You can make a Cucumber Mojito.

Ingredients

  • 2 parts Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
Directions

Muddle mint, sugar and lime juice in a Collins glass. Fill with ice, add vodka and top with soda water. Shake or mix and garnish with a cucumber wedge.

Each 750 ml bottle of Prairie Organic Spirits has a suggested retail price of $19.99, which I think is a pretty good price for the quality and the sustainability. It is available nationally.

Wine, beer and spirits disclaimer: I am not paid by any producer of wine, beer or spirits to write about their product, although the company may provide me with a sample of the product. I am not a professional reviewer of wine, beer or spirits. I'll write about the product if it's something that I like and if I think the producer is working toward making the product in an environmentally friendlier fashion.

Related on MNN:

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.