I think I first met Vanessa Braxton at one of the two Santa Clarita Valley Wine Fests, undoubtedly one of the big players organizer Joel Fisher recruited from his uber popular LA Wine Fest.
At the time Vanessa had a uniquely named vodka, Black Momma, and only one. Fast forward just a few years and come to find she just finished building her own distillery and tea facility in Long Island, has a warehouse in Rancho Dominguez, CA, just gained a contract with Carnival Cruises, has a line of organic mixers, and is selling these new flavors – along with the original – locally and nationwide:
Sour Sop Tea
Each is distilled five times and filtered five times as “superior handcrafted” vodkas. They are distilled from corn, bottled (for the time being) in Bend, Oregon by Bend Spirits and are 40% alcohol with an 80% proof.
Vanessa recently dropped off a bottle for me to review, with a promise of sending out samples of all the flavors soon. The woman is so busy growing I’m not holding my breath. But for now, I will share my tongue:
Black Momma Straight Vodka (Eve’s Tasting Notes)
Vodka is a neutral spirit. Which means aromas and flavors can be neutral as well, and balance (burn in this case) might be the only recognizable factor. In my experience tasting other neutral spirits/vodkas at the same time, the differences can be detected. I pulled up that memory/knowledge when I tasted the Black Momma Straight Vodka.
Aroma: vanilla bean, mineral water and a very mild burn.
Flavor: Some of the vanilla bean carried through, which was very cool, and a bit of the burn. Over ice (like adding water to single malt) I got less burn and more balance, easily lending itself to a cocktail, or an easy sipper with just ice and a wedge of lemon.
About Vanessa Braxton
Vanessa Braxton is the first African-American woman owner and operator of a Nationally Distributed Vodka in the United States as known in the Trade. Black Momma Vodka was in 32 States by 2015.
Black Momma Awards
90 point rating from Tasting Panel Magazine, Ultimate Beverage Challenge 84 point rating out of 100 points, rated good and recommended by Industry Experts: F. Paul Pacult, Sean Ludford, Christy Canterbur, John McClement and more! Listed among the 10 U.S. Vodkas.
Eve’s Wine 101 Event Picks: NY in Napa 12/29-1/1, Paso’s Blendfest 1/13-15, Sonoma Winter Wineland 25th Anniversary 1/14-15, STARS of Santa Barbara 1/18, Palate Builder 1/21, What You Need to Know About Wine 1/23, Cambria Art/Wine Fest 1/27-29, Rhone Tasting 1/28, Wine, Cheese and Chocolate 2/11, 2/12 and 2/14, Lodi in LA 2/15. Ongoing: Events locally at Reyes Winery, Wine House events in WLA, LA Wine Tasting, Monopole Wine events in Pasadena and Eve does Wine Themed Parties.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com