If you frequent Halls Chophouse, you may have heard the name Enlightened Grain recently; spied an elegant bottle of Inspiration, the company’s first small batch, craft-distilled infused vodka; or noticed a patron savoring a shot of this clear liquid.
“Bill Hall is a friend of mine, so we started giving his regulars samples of Inspiration, the lavender- and rosemary-infused vodka we debuted early this year,” explains Charleston resident Austin Walker, a partner in Enlightened Grain Spirits, founded by Matt Anderson in Winter Park, Florida. “It began to develop an underground following before finally being added to the menu.”
A sipping vodka that won the Silver Medal at the 2010 World Spirits Competition, Inspiration is delicious straight up and chilled or on the rocks, “but we’ve also enjoyed coming up with cocktails that complement its earthy flavor,” says bartender Kate Rogers. One with a vibrant red hue that invariably catches patrons’ attention is Rogers’ Berry Lavender Bliss martini.
“I wanted to create a refreshing summer recipe, so I combined the vodka with muddled raspberries and blackberries, a little lemon juice, and Domaine de Canton—a ginger-flavored liqueur. Some Sprite on top adds a bubbly texture,” explains Rogers. “I garnish it with a lemon twist to complement the lemon juice, but you could also use a twig of lavender or skewered berries.”
The scent of lavender hits your nose as you take a sip of the martini, enhancing the experience of “Lavender Bliss,” as one regular began calling it. “I named the drink for her,” laughs Kate.
The limited edition vodka is currently available in Florida and began arriving in Holy City liquor stores last month. Visit www.egspirits.com to locate a purveyor and find some cocktail inspiration of your own.