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Ketel One Debuts Botanical Vodka, A New Kind Of Spirit

Ketel One Botanical_Trio of Varietals.jpg

Originally published in Forbes.

What's made like a gin but tastes like a vodka and is also a brand new way to drink?

Today, Ketel One debuts Botanical, a low-proof spirit that distilled in the same way gin is, but is actually a new kind of vodka. Clocking in with lower calories, no carbs and a lower-proof than other distilled rivals, executives are betting Ketel One Botanical will strike a chord withhealth-conscious consumers.

And while Ketel One Botanical comes in three expressions (Grapefruit & Rose, Peach & Orange Blossom, and Cucumber & Mint), executives are quick to explain that the new product is not a flavored vodka, either.

That's because Ketel One Botanical has an alcoholic strength by volume of 30% and it's made by distilling Ketel One vodka with fruit and herbal essential oils. Flavored vodkas, by comparison, will add ingredients to grain alcohol, but not re-distill their liquid. Botanical is made like a gin, except that it doesn't use juniper berries, which are required for a gin classification.

"There actually doesn't exist a classification for this product," Jim Ruane, Ketel One Vodka director, says. "It's not a flavored vodka because of our two-tier production process, with the second distillation and the flavor infusion at the end."

According the U.S.'s official distilled spirits categorizations, vodka has to be "without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color" and "bottled at not less than 40% alcohol by volume." Flavored vodkas, according the U.S., are defined as "vodka flavored with natural flavoring materials, with or without the addition of sugar, bottled at not less than 30% alcohol by volume (60 proof)." The European Union has similar language, but states that both vodka and flavored counterparts must have a minimum ABV of 37.5%.

To put Botanical's 30% ABV into context, its sister brands Ketel One Vodka and Nolet's Gin have a 40% and 47.6% ABV, respectively.

Read the full story on Forbes.

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