British dairy farmer Jason Barber recently launched Black Cow Vodka. Three years of research and one cheesy tagline (“So smooth you can drink it ’til the cows come home”) later, he’s winning over both chefs and celebrities, including Daniel Craig and Elizabeth Hurley.
The 49-year-old dairy farmer got the idea for making vodka from milk from the Siberian Tuvans, a centuries-old cattle-herding nomad tribe that also ferments milk to make alcohol. Barber’s pasture-raised 250 cows give him about 25 liters of milk each, which he separates into curds and whey, then adds a special yeast to convert the milk sugar into alcohol. This ferments the whey into a beer, which then is distilled, but that’s all Barber is willing to share about the process.
Even better, he uses the leftover curds to make cheese. Not for nothing, Barber’s cheese won an award at the 2013 World Cheese Awards in Nantwich, England.
According to the vodka's website, the alcohol has an "exceptionally smooth" and "unique creamy" character. And Barber’s creation certainly has fans: A number of high-end restaurants in the United Kingdom (UK) are serving Black Cow Vodka. Even actors Daniel Craig and Elizabeth Hurley number among its admirers.
But if you want to taste it, you’ll need to pack your bags, as it’s currently only sold in the UK. A 500ml bottle retails for roughly US$38.