We know you’re not supposed to mess with Texas, but the Lone Star state is seriously messing with traditional vodka. At BlackEyed Distilling in Fort Worth, one farmer is distilling black-eyed peas to make a truly unique spin on vodka.
Master distiller Trey Nickels was inspired after working on his family’s farm in Muleshoe, TX, and dealing with droughts and poor crop yields. He wanted to see what else the black-eyed peas he grew up eating could be used for, and ultimately created BLK EYE Vodka, made from a blend of Texas-sourced, non-GMO black-eyed peas and corn. It’s then distilled 22 times in a giant copper pipe, and comes out at 40% ABV. Thanks to the starchy profile of the peas (similar to potatoes and corn), and amino acids that result in a higher quality alcohol, Nickels’ vodka produces a neutral flavor that’s smooth on it’s own and even better shaken into a cocktail.
Funnily enough, this vodka isn’t technically vodka. Some curious connoisseurs have pointed out that vodka must be made from grain or potatoes to truly be vodka, according to European Union standards. And rumor has it that BLK EYE doesn’t taste like any ordinary vodka – one taster reports that it has a hint of vanilla with a slightly nutty flavor, calling to mind Japanese sake.
Black-eyed peas being turned into vodka admittedly isn’t the strangest booze news on our radar (think, vodka made from quinoa, maple syrup, or gin made from milk), but we just love how inherently “Texas” this liquor is.
While Nickels may not be making vodka in the traditional sense, doing a lot of things that have our seal of approval. According to the brand’s website, all ingredients used at BlackEyed Distilling are 100% sourced from Texas, “delivering a true farm-to-bottle experience.” And going beyond the booze, each limited-edition bottle has designs from local artists, and the distillery plans to continue commissioning new artists to “share their own unique vision of originality.”
Nickels and his mother, Deborah, run the whole operation out of a century-old firehouse, and they plan to offer tours and tastings. If you don’t live in the Fort Worth area, you’re sadly out of luck in getting your hands on a bottle of BLK EYE vodka – at least for the time being. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this stuff makes its way up the east coast sooner rather than later.