California is Making Vodka from Thin Air
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California is Making Vodka from Thin Air

Fog Vodka
Illustration by Matt Chase

There are two main ingredients in vodka: grain and water. So when California’s drought threatened one of those things, Hangar One head distiller Caley Shoemaker—who is based in the state—decided to get creative.

She looked to the Bay Area’s pervasive fog for inspiration. Working with FogQuest—a charity that has collected fog in Chile to irrigate crops—Hangar One placed fog collectors at landmarks like Sutro Tower. Over six months, they collected 300 gallons of water, which was then double-filtered and boiled. “When we got our lab analysis back, we were told the water was cleaner than drinking water out of a faucet,” Shoemaker says.

The fog water was combined with a white wine blend from nearby vineyard Bonny Doon. The result: a smooth sipping vodka with notes of honey and pear. Proceeds from the 2,500 bottles will go toward water conservation in California.

To sample it, head to Hangar One’s new tasting room in Alameda, just south of Oakland. Visitors can compare the fog vodka with Hangar One’s signature version, or simply sit in the botanical garden, with its views across the Bay, and watch the inspiration roll in.

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