The fine folks at Hangar One Vodka sent me a bottle of their new vodka, so I had to give it a try. I pulled it out of the freezer (see ice crystals, left), poured a little into a shot glass, and sipped it. Big flavor! Then the heat, which was medium hot. Very nice. Then the smokiness hit, and it really worked. Then the crucial test, a bloody mary. Tomato juice, Hangar One, a little lime juice, a touch of Worcestershire sauce over ice, stirred, not shaken. Delicious–even my non-bloody-mary-drinking wife Mary Jane liked it–but because of the dilution of the vodka, not quite hot enough. A few dashes of hot sauce solved that and I wondered: how is this made? The back label provided the answer by Master Distiller Lance Winters: “We’re blending infusions and distillations of beautifully roasted chipotle peppers, green jalapeños, red bells, and Scoville-scorching habaneros. Each pepper was smoked by my friends at T-Rex Barbecue in Berkeley, California.” In my humble opinion, this is a wonderful, spiced up vodka, and again proves my long held belief: vodka is the only alcoholic beverage that works with chile peppers. Chiles do not improve mediocre wines and beers and ruin fine ones.