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Green Chile Vodka & Other Inspired Bottles: A Chat with Lance Winters, Master Distiller at St. George Spirits

Green Chile Vodka & Other Inspired Bottles: A Chat with Lance Winters, Master Distiller at St. George Spirits

A vodka for those in-the-know, St. George Green Chile Vodka is the perfect summer bottle - bringing some heat that amps up the refreshment of cocktails whether for brunch, for a bit of day drinking, or for kicking off a night of grilling out.

So far, Curiada Insiders have been enjoying this spicy-in-a-good-way spirit in all sorts of ways:

  • As an augment to the kick of ginger in a Moscow Mule
  • Adding some verve to the spice of a Bloody Mary
  • Classic style, yes, even in a martini

With unanimous five star ratings amongst our buyers, we cannot stop recommending it as the perfect bottle to switch up your bar cart, or gift to spirits-adventurous family and friends. 

In true Curiada fashion, we’re featuring St. George Green Chile Vodka as part of our commitment to supporting outstanding distiller-entrepreneurs. And there's more!  We've also just brought on their glorious Botanivore Gin and their excellent All Purpose Vodka (does what it says on the tin, which is what we love about it).

St. George Spirits is a special distillery, founded in 1982 in Alameda, CA. Founder Jörg Rupf is credited with kicking off the craft spirits movement, and Master Distiller Lance Winters has been at the helm of the still since 1996. 

Curiada recently had the opportunity to ask Lance a few questions:

Curiada: It's probably not an exaggeration to say that you are a world-renowned craftsman. You've been nominated for a James Beard award at least half a dozen times and you must have tasted literally thousands of really amazing spirits over the course of your career. Tell us, how can a regular person know if they're drinking a good spirit?

Lance: Every single one of us has a palate that is the product of millions of years of evolution. You don't need to train as a master somm[elier] to know what's good and what's not. It's helpful to have someone in the know curate a selection of great quality spirits to help establish a baseline. After that, your eyes are wide open.

Curiada: When did you know you wanted to begin distilling spirits?

Lance: An old high school friend gave me a bottle of Lagavulin. It was the first spirit that I'd ever tasted that made me think about what I was drinking. It wasn't challenging, but it had layers to explore, and a story to tell. I started reading about how whiskey was made, and I was hooked.

Curiada: What do you wish people understood about distilling?

Lance: I wish people understood everything about distillation. The more people know, the better equipped they are to sniff out marketing BS and appreciate the things that are truly important.

Curiada: How do you personally choose a drink?

Lance: The way I choose a drink varies with my mood, sometimes with the weather, and by where I am. For brunch, a Bloody Mary with our Green Chile Vodka is where it’s at. On cooler evenings I'm more likely to go for a spirit-forward, whiskey-based drink. And if I'm having oysters, I'm going to have a Terroir Gin martini.

Curiada: What distillers out there do you admire and why?

Lance: I have a deep admiration for Todd Leopold [of Leopold Bros.]. He's talented, and is built from integrity from the ground up. The distillers at Gracias a Dios distillery in Oaxaca are incredible as well. They make single varietal expressions of mezcal that illustrate the beauty and potential diversity of their native spirit.

Image credit: Andria Lo

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