One of the popular myths is that vodka is a purely Russian invention. My research indicates that the idea of vodka was borrowed by Russians from the famous Ukrainian Cossacks’ Horilka.
The word ‘vodka’ does not exist in the Ukrainian language. All strong spirits are called Horilkas. There is an endless multitude of Horilka recipes, but the most famous and recognizable is Honey&Chilli Horilka. If you just say ‘Horilka’ to a true Ukrainian, they would first of all associate this spirit with the iconic Honey&Chilli Horilka.
Every true Ukrainian inherits two family treasures: the secret family recipe of the famous Ukrainian borsch, and another secret family recipe – of the Honey&Chilli Horilka (as Ukrainian say: “Without Horilka only dogs can eat borsch”).
I handcraft my Honey&Chilli Horilka according to the best Ukrainian traditions. The recognizable Horilka’s flavour is created using the raw Puhoi Manuka honey and organically grown local Chilli peppers. The rest of botanicals that make a subtle background to the main two ingredients is our Ukrainian family’s secret treasure.
It is a common misconception that a quality strong spirit can be produced from the potatoes. Never! I select only the best grain alcohol for the traditional Horilka, as the Ukraine has been known to the world for centuries as “the granary of Europe”.
I put a whole chilli pepper in each bottle in order to underline the authentic Cossack character of this spirit.
I handcraft my small batches (no more than 70 bottles per batch) without any haste using my original technologies that I have perfected during many years of experiments.
I have applied a great deal of good science to my methods. I am pretty certain that I am the only Distiller and Spirit Manufacturer in the world who uses what I call the ‘True Gravity Flow’ technology. So why does gravity play such an important role in my distilling process? It is because pumping against gravitational forces is known to negatively influence/break the molecular structure of liquids. There are no pumps at my Distillery. All liquid movements during the distillation process are achieved using natural gravitation forces only.The alcohol born from the selected Australian wheat is delicately diluted with the soft, untreated deep-bore artesian water.
The purification process is a “must” for turning the new-born spirit into the sophisticated top-quality spirit with no harmful impurities.
The purification production phase, in its turn, is both time-consuming and labour-intensive, and is achieved in three steps using the natural absorbents. One of these natural absorbents is activated charcoal which is traditionally used for all classic vodkas. The other two natural absorbents are my secret know-how, but I can reveal the secret slightly and tell you that those natural absorbents can only be found in the unique New Zealand’s clean and green environment.
Upon completion of the purification process, the new batch is left to “rest” in a glass vessel for at least three weeks. This allows for the alcohol structure to stabilize and to form the desired molecular clusters.
Upon the alcohol structure stabilization, the new batch is enriched with all the ingredients included in the recipe. Three more weeks are allowed for the newborn Horilka rest before the bottling.
The Horilka is bottled in French-made glass (750 ml) and hand-stoppered with glass stoppers (German patent) which protects the quality of the product and makes it shelf life limitless.
Good news for vegans: my Honey&Chilli Horilka is Vegan-Friendly, as no animal products are used in its manufacturing.
Good news for everyone: I do not use any on the 45 food additives permitted in the manufacturing of Certified Organic products. This makes my spirits Super Organic!
The Alcohol strength: 38% by volume. This alcohol level is observed according to Dr Iryna Kirichuk’s recommendations, as this particular strength of alcohol is the least harmful for health. I always explain this effect in detail and the theory behind it during the tastings at the Puhoi Organic Distillery.
Master Distiller’s serving recommendations: I recommend serving my Classic Grain Vodka slightly chilled in shot glasses.
Do not get intimidated by the Chilli ingredient – it is a very tame Chilli, it makes Horilka delightfully piquant, but not burning hot.
More good news for cocktail lovers: you will be pleasantly surprised how much the popular Bloody Mary improves from switching standard vodka to Honey&Chilli Horilka. I am begging you though not to make the common mistake of mixing the spirit with the tomato juice; instead carefully and slowly pour the Horilka using a blade of a knife onto the top of the cold and slightly salted tomato juice.
I am a big fan of the sensible old Ukrainian alcohol consumption traditions, according to which spirits made from grain were considered “liquid bread” and a part of the daily diet. This is why alcohol was only consumed during the evening meal and in moderation. The Ukrainian society discouraged alcohol drinking for the purpose of getting intoxicated; on the other hand, so ingrained are these traditions that the people who did not drink alcohol at all were treated with suspicion.
Historically, Ukrainians were the early adopters of Responsible Host Alcohol Consumption Policies. Centuries of responsible and sensible spirits consumption have resulted in the invention of special food to accompany strong alcohol drinking – known as ‘zakuski’. The art and skills of matching ‘zakuski’ to different types of spirits (there is a big variety of them) was, and still is highly valued in the Ukraine. Usually all our tastings at the Puhoi Organic Distillery are accompanied with the matching ‘zakuski’, because this is an essential part of our Ukrainian Culture.
And one last tip: ‘Cheers!’ is ‘Bud’mo!’ in Ukrainian.
The extremely popular top quality Manuka Honey&Chilli Horilka handcrafted in small batches at Puhoi Organic Distillery by three Ukrainians (Kirichuk family) is available for free delivery for the orders starting from 12 bottles to the following countries: Australia, China (including Hong Kong), Singapore, United Kingdom and some others (we need to check delivery to other countries – please enquire here with the details of your shipment destination).