Unique Cocktails using Vicieux Black Vodka

Author: Louisa Demmitt

There’s much to be said about spirits when fall comes around. The ghostly kind are on everyone’s mind as Halloween approaches, and a good (spirit filled) libation with friends is always a good idea as days get shorter and nights get colder. One of the most appropriate liquors for this time of year is black vodka, which sounds and looks deliciously mysterious and kind of spooky.

The cocktails made from CopperMuse’s Vicieux black vodka are memorable and unique. I didn’t know about black vodka before I started spending time at CopperMuse, but I’ve become a true fan. Being a black vodka newbie, I started off asking the superb bartenders which drinks they would recommend. I began my education with the delicious Black Betty, which includes tart cherry juice, lemon juice, basil, and simple syrup along with black vodka. (I challenge you not to say “bam-ba-lam” in your head after ordering one!)

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Black Betty

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-ba-Lam)

I then tried the Tchaikovsky, whose combination of coffee and ginger flavors meld beautifully with black vodka. The Caraway With Me features caraway-dill infused black vodka with lime and cranberry, and fantastically manages to taste like sweet toasted pumpernickel bread with a fruity twist.

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Caraway With Me

I finally settled on the White Island as my go-to CopperMuse drink; its coconut, coffee, and cream elements are topped with black vodka for a dramatic effect and comforting flavor. (The vodka floating on top gives the White Island its name.) All of these drinks, as well as the other black vodka creations on the menu, have balanced flavor profiles as well as strong visual impact. These are drinks to be savored with both your eyes and your taste buds.

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White Island

Our unique take on a White Russian


Unlike many flavored vodkas which can come across way too strong, black vodka makes a statement without drowning other flavors. It’s incredibly versatile, pairing well with a myriad of ingredients and flavors. It makes fruit filled red drinks have deeper and more vibrant color; floating it on creamy drinks creates a unique visual; and as Kristie (bartender extraordinaire)  likes to say, “it makes a dirty martini look dirty.”

There really is nothing like a well made drink in good company as summer has given way to autumn and we settle in for winter. Stop by CopperMuse to try one of these cocktails for yourself, or to buy a bottle or two for mixing drinks at home. There’s always something creative and seasonal to try, and if you’ve never had black vodka before, you’re in for a definite treat.

CopperMuse Distillery Amaretto wins Silver Medal in the 2017 American Craft Spirits Association competition

CopperMuse Distillery took home a Silver Medal in the category of Specialty Spirits for their all-natural Amaretto Liqueur. According to the ACSA press release, "Winners were hand-selected among a record-breaking pool of more than 550 entrants – up more than 20 percent over last year."

When are you going to open?

I never thought that this question would become so difficult to hear. Don’t get me wrong. I am thrilled that so many people are excited for CopperMuse™ to open its doors and be able to sell our inspired libations.

Ay, but here’s the rub. The journey to opening a craft distillery is a long one. It is fraught with many ups and downs as one might expect. I personally spend much of my time planning, scheduling, troubleshooting and pushing my Sisyphus-like rock up the hill. What truly makes the question so frustrating is that there are still so many elements outside of my control.

A key one being the glacial nature of the Federal government in approving Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) permits. Before you can even begin to submit an application for a permit, you are required to purchase all your key distilling equipment (stills, fermenters, brew kettles, etc.), have a property under your business control (own or lease), have a detailed architectural plan of your entire operations, purchase a surety bond to protect the government’s excise taxes on product that doesn’t even exist yet, and compile a lengthy history of financial and personal background information. Then and only then can you submit your application for your DSP. Talk about putting a cart before the horse. Think of all the effort and money that goes into this and you don’t even know if you’ll be graced with a DSP permit at the very end of it. Leap of Faith for sure!

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB for short) rolled out a much improved online permit application system this past year. While this tool is a significant improvement over the past system of literally putting together a binder of information and mailing it off, it doesn’t do squat for the fact that “average” number of days to process a DSP application is running over 110 days and climbing. And this cycle time doesn’t even factor in the lovely government shutdown back in October!

I submitted my DSP application on August 12th. That would put my permit acceptance right around the end of November according to "averages". But alas, no permit is in hand. To top things off, you must get label approvals for any products you plan to produce. TTB cycle times for Distilled Spirit labels are currently running 75 days. Yes, 75 days! And you can’t submit any labels for approval until you have your DSP in hand. If you are thinking of creating a unique spirit that strays just a bit from standard spirit types (vodka, rum, gin, brandy, bourbon, etc.), you better also plan on getting your formulation approval prior to your label approval. Those are running 38 days as we speak.

So when am I going to open for business? I really wish I could say for sure. Construction at CopperMuse™ Distillery will be wrapping up just before the Christmas holiday. All I can tell you is that I’m putting in a special request with the big man this year. All I want for Christmas is my DSP.