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Posted: June 01, 2009

Entirely homegrown: Researching homemade potato vodka

Garden-only living doesn't have to be nonalcoholic

Mike Taylor

T-minus two months until August, when I hope to live off only what I can produce in my Denver backyard.

So far all I've talked about is what I'm going to eat. But privately I've been nagged by a more pressing concern: What am I going to DRINK? Alcohol-wise, I mean. A month of dietary deprivation is going to make adult beverages a must.

Beer is out. Normally I'm strictly a beer-drinker, but there isn't time to grow barley and hops, let alone time for the fermentation process. Beer also requires yeast, and I have no idea how to produce or harvest that. Wine? Same story. It takes too much time and requires ingredients like sugar and/or fruit that I don't have the time or know-how to grow.

Potato vodka seems like my only hope. I've read you can make an acceptable batch in five days and some of the recipes I've found don't mention yeast. So last week I called up Colorado Pure Distilling (www.coloradopuredistilling.com), which makes custom-label vodka for restaurants and other clients. I set up a meeting for today with one of the owners, Pat Karns, to talk about the feasibility and legality - or lack thereof - of making my own potato vodka.

Bloody Marys, anybody? I should be able to handle the tomatoes.

Maybe it's the Irishman in me, but I'm pinning a lot of my hopes for August on potatoes, the venerable tuber. I've lost count of how many seed potatoes I've planted - 20 or 25. It's funny (or maybe not), but I'm not even sure of the potato's nutritional value, and I'm not alone.

Last week while watching the Nuggets at Chopper's Bar & Grill, I mentioned to a woman sitting next to me that I was going to be relying largely on potatoes for a month. She went nuts. "Don't do it!" she warned. "Potatoes have zero nutrional value. Nothing! Billy Bob Thornton lived on potatoes when he was a struggling actor, and he almost died! Look it up!"

I hadn't yet looked it up a few days later when I was talking to my friend George about potatoes. He nodded approval. "My mom says the potato has every nutrient in it you need," he said.

Zero nutritional value, or everything a body needs? The truth is there somewhere. I'll take care of researching the potato's value as a food. As for its feasiblity as a drink, check back to see my visit with Colorado Pure Distilling and learn from the pros about potato vodka.
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Mike Taylor is the managing editor of ColoradoBiz. He writes about small-business money issues and how startups are launched. Email him at mtaylor@cobizmag.com.

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Readers Respond

Potato Vodka! It's healthy, provides that tingling sensation and makes you lightheaded, that comes with every alcoholic drink. It's the first time I've heard of it and I can't wait to try it. <a href="http://www.empiresupplies.com/WeddingButterfly-s/32.htm">Wedding Butterfly</a> By Wedding Butterfly on 2009 08 13

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