DRIVEN BY PASSION AND HIGH STANDARDS, Peter Kelly, celebrated chef/owner of Xaviars Restaurant group, has teamed up with a Slovenian beverage company, Fructal, to develop Slovenia Vodka. After a 2009 trip to Slovenia, Kelly wanted to bring a taste of the country back to the us. He worked with a distiller north of Ljubljana to combine his culinary background with the experience of traditional vodka producers.
The defining ingredient in the vodka is Slovenian buckwheat, a heritage grain that grows wild in Slovenia and adds a smooth, viscous quality to the product. “Borrowing from my culinary background, I compare the use of buckwheat in our vodka to the pitch of saffron in my bouillabaisse—a little bit goes a long way,” Kelly says.
The vodka was released in April with a star-studded event at Oceana Restaurant and a video campaign featuring celebrities Bill Murray and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who’ve partnered with their friend Kelly to promote the vodka. Already, Kelly’s vodka has taken home a Double gold medal in this year’s Fifty Best imported Vodkas Competition and a gold medal at the 2013 san Francisco World Spirits Competition.
A crimson and coy “xoxo” marks the top of the minimalist, bottle, created to resemble a frozen block of vodka. The product sells for between $40 and $50 and is available throughout the tri-state.