this is not your typical alcohol.
Cold House Vodka and Outlaw Bandits Moonshine are not for the entry-level drinker, says owner and distiller Lee Palleschi. His secret recipes took more than two and a half years to develop, and consist entirely of local ingredients.
“We are a local brand – American made – all products are sourced locally within 75 miles of us,” he adds.
Palleschi only makes small batches of his vodka, moonshine and whiskeys in barrels in his Modesto distillery. The company does not mass-produce its alcohol: “It is not who we are or who we want to be,” said Palleschi. Making smaller batches allows for tight quality control, “Truly the best we can make,” he says.
Palleschi describes his alcohol as simple, but dangerous. Even the costumers agree, he says. The very thing that makes it delicious makes it dangerous.
“You can’t taste it. It is very clean,” he added. “It disappears.”
He emphasized that CHV is not a drink to get drunk with, although its tasteless nature makes it easy to do so.
“It is not for the beginner or well drinker,” said Palleschi, but more for a relaxing drink with friends.
After working at a food manufacturing plant for more than 24 years, Palleschi developed a knack for recipes and formulas. He also developed a very good sense for taste, he can tell you what is missing from a drink. This is why he says his flavored moonshines and vodkas taste exactly like they say.
“'Blueberry' is really blueberry, 'Peach' is really peach and so on. There is no chemical or alcohol taste,” he said.
Making alcohol goes back to Palleschi’s childhood. He remembers his father making wine in the basement, crushing grapes the way his father had taught him. However it was not until years later that he discovered his interest in making alcohol.
While working at a food manufacturing plant, Palleschi met a man who wanted to make alcohol fuel.
“The next day he showed up with some sugar and yeast and explained to me that the process was much like making moonshine.
“That was the spark.”
Since then, he has been perfecting recipes for vodka, whiskey, wine, and beer, to name a few.
“You could almost say it has consumed me,” said Palleschi.
After five years of perfecting recipes for moonshine, vodka and whiskey, Palleschi quickly found his love of making high quality, tasty drinks.
“I also quickly figured out I only like all natural things. I don’t like or use any artificial ingredients, just won’t do it.”
CHV prides itself in the tasteless flavor of its vodka, but the company also puts an emphasis on using local and organic ingredients.
For Palleschi, there is no comparison to the quality ingredients produced in the agriculture hub that is the Central Valley, as evident by the mass amount of exports coming from the region.
“Here in California, we are on the top of that ladder — and I only want to use the best. I don’t need any products from somewhere else.”
Another advantage of using local ingredients, he adds, is the opportunity to support the local economy, from the farmers to the bartender pouring drinks.
Palleschi’s Valley Spirits can only be found in select locations, including Save Marts across California. If you cannot find CHV or any Valley Spirits at your favorite bar or restaurant, Palleschi encourages you to ask.
Cold House Vodka recipes and Moonshine Bandits Outlaw Moonshines have won more than a dozen gold and silver medals, including awards from the San Francisco International Spirits Competition, to the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the Beverage Testing Institute among many others.
Available at all Save Marts in California and local restaurants and bars, such as Dewz in Modesto.FLAVORS:
Straight Premium CHV, Cake Batter, Peach, Lemonade, Blueberry, Mocha, Wild Cherry, Cilantro and Cucumber.WEBSITE:
4 p.m. - 7 p.m., June 6 in Oakdale at Save Mart, in Modesto on Scenic and Oakdale roads, as well as at Save Mart in Ripon; June 19 at Oakdale Save Mart; June 20 at Sonora Save MartRECIPES:Pineapple Upside Down Cake:
1.5 ounces of Cold House Cake Batter Vodka
Pineapple juice. Garnish with cherry or pineapple.
2 oz. Outlaw Moonshine Apple Pie
1 oz Cold House Cake Batter Vodka
Garnish with whip cream and cinnamon