Middle West Spirits Is Sweet On Honey

Middle West Spirits took home gold in the National Honey Board’s 2018 Honey Spirits Competition. We reached out to the distillery’s owner and head distiller, Ryan Lang, to learn more about their honey flavored spirit.

What was the inspiration behind this vodka, and who came up with the recipe?

We use local ingredients as the basis for all of our products down to the soil. Corn, wheat, etc. As much as we can find in our midwest region we try. The inspiration for the use of honey centered around an extension of our character forward OYO vodka made with soft red winter wheat from Fostoria, Ohio. I looked for a complimentary flavor profile that was soft and sweet to add to our process. In Ohio, wildflower honey happens to be prevalent and it just so happens we have a meadery right next door. We worked with the mead master on different styles of honey he used that would play into that category of a vanilla vodka but with the idea we needed more complexity to it. So out of that our Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka was born through a balance of local wildflower honey and Ugandan vanilla.

To a casual spirit drinker, how would you describe this vodka in less than 10 words.

Soft and delicate on the palate with notes of sweetness and vanilla.

What do you enjoy most about this vodka?

The vodka is so soft that it is easy to drink neat, which is usually something you don’t do with a vodka. The honey plays very well with the leather tannin of the vanilla and balances what would traditionally be a very flat vanilla tone to being something that is full-bodied.

What role does honey play in this vodka?

The honey’s main attribute to the product is creating balance and body while softening the taste on the palate. Rather than having what would traditionally be a vodka alcohol smell and taste, you replace that tone with light sweetness. It is really a great match having the two ingredients work together.

What do you enjoy most about using honey in the capacity of distilling?

Honey is a complex material for distillates that can provide natural sweetness to anything in a distillate.

To see a full list of our 2018 Honey Spirits Competition winners, visit honeyspiritscompetition.com.