125 proof vodka launches out of New Orleans

125 proof vodka launches out of New Orleans

Steve’s breakdown: In addition to the launch of Buck 25 and the company, they have Toulouse Red, a red absinthe, in the pipeline so ask about both.

NEW ORLEANS, LA: Most vodkas are 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume. The 125-proof Buck 25 from New Orleans’ Atelier Vie comes armed with extra firepower. Jedd Haas, president of the Mid-City distillery, said they created the spirit for infusion instead of inebriation. The higher alcohol content, he said, better extracts the flavors from fruits and spices.

“We see this as a secret ingredient for local chefs and bartenders who want to do their own thing,” he said. “You can get Everclear at 190 proof, but I don’t know if it’s fit for drinking.”

Atelier Vie starts with a cane sugar-based neutral spirit. Eventually, they will use that same base spirit for their Toulouse Red absinthe. Atelier Vie then triple filters the spirit with a custom filter and brings it down to 62.5% alcohol by volume.

“What comes out,” Haas said, “is radically different than what goes in.”

Haas said Atelier Vie found other “infusion vodkas” on the market bottled at 152 proof, but that seemed too extreme. Most bourbons are barreled at 125 proof, the maximum strength they can legally have for aging.

“That was an intriguing number,” he said, “and it had a nice ring to it.”

A vodka was not the first spirit Atelier Vie planned to release. They wanted to launch with Toulouse Red, a red absinthe. Vodka, however, is clearly defined by the U.S. government, so approval was easier. Absinthe is a trickier liquor, and Atelier Vie is still waiting for its absinthe formula to be approved by a D.C. lab.

“Apparently the TTB is very, very overworked,” Haas said.

Buck 25 vodka sells for $35–$36. For a complete list of retail locations, visit ateliervie.com. Recently passed Louisiana laws allow Atelier Vie to sell spirits directly from its distillery inside the ArtEgg Studios (1001 S. Broad St.). Buck 25 vodka costs $40 at the distillery, taxes included.


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