What happens when you combine an internationally awarded Australian craft distillery with a passion for Mexican culture, spice and flavour? The simple answer is Karu’s Morita Chipotle Vodka, but let’s dig a little deeper…
Hidden away amongst the eucalypts of the Devil’s Wilderness in NSW’s Blue Mountains, Karu Distillery have been crafting their remarkable gin since 2017.
But as each drop of their beautifully balanced Affinity and formidable Lightning gins fell from the still, Karu founders Nick and Ally Ayres had something else in the backs of their wonderfully creative minds.
In fact, the idea seed that grew into Karu came from what they’ve named Morita.
Morita Chipotle Vodka - where it all started
Inspired by their love of Mexican food, tequila and mezcal, Ally and Nick have wanted to create something that speaks of this passion from the beginning.
“It's half the reason we are in this distillery mess in the first place,” Ally quips. “Nick wanted to create a spirit that encompassed that lifestyle so we came up with the idea to take it in the direction of being inspired by Mexican food.
“Chipotle chilli is 70% of our diet so why not now drink it too?”
What goes into Karu’s Morita?
Of course, Morita is more than just chilli-flavoured vodka. That would be too easy and - let’s face it - lacking in flamboyance for this distilling power couple.
“We didn't want this to just be a chilli vodka,” says Ally. “We applied what we had learnt from gin distillation and applied similar methods to our Morita Chipotle Vodka. So you get more depth of flavour and sensation as you drink it.”
Going into the still with a host of other botanicals that add balance, character and typical Karu nuance are two types of chilli used to make chipotle: meco chilli and the spirit’s namesake morita.
“Meco chilli is the most famous species of chipotle and it carries such a depth of smoky flavour,” Ally explains. “Adding the morita chilli, which is chipotle's hidden gem, gave a more fruitier spice.”
Along with the meco and morita chillies, Ally and Nick also use - among other ingredients - coriander, lime, green capsicum and agave. You can see how how much of Mexico is in each bottle.
How does Morita taste, what can you do with it and where can you get it?
I love how Ally and Nick have worked to distill not just the ingredients but a whole context of Mexican food and culture into this fiesta of a vodka.
From the first sip, a mariachi band of flavours kicks up its song.
A light melody of floral and spice notes welcomes you, then the warmth and energy of the chillies and their smoky tang catch up with the beat. A sweetness and richness then join in to lift the volume with a velvety texture.
Finally, with a tingle on the lips from the slightly higher 42% ABV, the crescendo dies down to a long-lasting smoky finish.
So as you can see, sipped neat, this truly unique spirit brings a lot to the party. But it’s also pretty versatile in cocktails too.
As Ally explains: “it makes a cracking bloody mary, margarita and just with lime soda is a stand-out beverage.”