As I first gazed upon the bottle, my initial thought was why would anyone name a bottle of Vodka “Fair” when they just as well could have named it “Great”? As I read a bit further down the bottle, it become more obvious; this vodka was made from Fair Trade Certified Quinoa. Now, there’s a mouthful of meaning in those four words so let’s take a closer look.

Fair Trade certification is a product certification system designed to allow people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labor, and developmental standards. Even though many a hippie ,back in the 60’s, was leaning in this direction the movement really took hold in the 80’s at the initiative of Mexican coffee farmers. The initiative offered disadvantaged coffee producers following various social and environmental standards an above market price for their crop. In the case of this Vodka, it refers to over 1,200 carefully selected small organic farmers located in the Bolivian Altiplano. Fair Trade labeling certification also provides some assurance that the products are really benefiting the farm workers at the beginning of the supply chain. It really just doesn’t get much greener than that.

Okay so what’s up with this Quinoa? On the bottle it states; “Quinoa is the mother of all grains, a superfood long worshiped by the Inca people”. That’s quite a mouthful! The Encyclopedia states that it is a species of goosefoot and is actually a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds. It is a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal or grain as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and of all things tumbleweeds. And I would like to add that, as I have always thought, you can make vodka out of damn near anything that has a bit of sugar in it. Nutritionally it really does appear to be a superfood. Its protein value is very high at 18% and it is a source of complete protein. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorous and is high in magnesium and iron and is gluten-free.

With all that going for it, I‘ll just bet that you could go on an all liquid, food free diet of just this vodka for two weeks and lose 20 pounds while getting all your nutrients. Hell, you’d even be doing the world some good, going green and helping poor farmers in Bolivia. What’s not to like about that?

Eventually all this quinoa makes its way to Cognac, France where it is distilled 5 times in a 42 plate pot still and bottled. It is also rumored, although I couldn’t prove it, that Incan Shamans then ritually bless each bottle thus eliminating any hangovers from ever occurring. Who needs to filter it when you have Incan Shamans?

Fair Premium Vodka comes in a tall transparent bottle with a black and silver label. The Vodka inside the bottle is clear and just looks like pure water. Straight up, the nose is quite clean with a touch of warmth and a hint of grain but otherwise nothing really discernible. It is of medium body, a bit oily in feel on the palate (which is really a good thing) and again except for a touch of warmth and a nuance of grain and maybe a bit of buttermilk biscuit it is elusive to describe. It finishes quietly and smoothly and leaves vague impressions of its passing in the mouth and throat. Yummy. On the rocks and in a Martini it really shines and becomes ever so much more docile and subdued, a truly “Fair” super premium vodka.

By George Brozowski