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Good Vodka actually does some good, too

Good Vodka from New York-based Liquorworks.Tristan Willey

Good Vodka is undeniably good, and in more ways than one. The mouthfeel is round and smooth, and there’s a touch of black pepperiness and then a gentle burn. You could easily sip it solo over ice or use it to shake up a martini. While most vodka is distilled from grains, or corn, potatoes, even apples, New York-based Liquorworks upcycles the byproduct of Colombian coffee fruit to create the new spirit. The alcohol is derived from sugars in coffee cherries, the fruity layer around the coffee bean that is discarded during coffee production. It might be turned into fertilizer but mostly it’s piled high and decays, ravaging topsoil and washing down hillsides into rivers. “No one else is making alcohol from the coffee fruit,” says cofounder Mark Byrne, who works with a coffee federation to buy the byproducts, which also helps support farmers. “Why not make something from a product that already exists?” The sugary fruit is concentrated and shipped to a distillery in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Byrne and his business partner Tristan Willey are not new to distilling or the liquor industry. Years ago, they worked together at Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. Byrne later did stints as an editor at GQ magazine and as a brand developer for a liquor company. Willey ran high-end cocktail bars in New York City. While delicious on its own, the vodka shines in a mixed drink. “We wanted to make something that bartenders can play with,” says Byrne. (About $29 for 750 ml.) Available at American Provisions, 613 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-629-6100; Bacco’s Wine & Cheese, 31 St. James Ave., Boston, 617-574-1751; Ball Square Fine Wines, 716 Broadway, Somerville, 617-9500; Portugalia Marketplace, 489 Bedford St., Fall River, 508-617-9820, or go to goodvodka.com.


Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.