We first encountered Ocean Vodka, made in Hawaii from organic corn and rye, and cut with deep ocean water to bring it to proof, in 2008. Since then, Ocean has returned, and with a new formulation: Distilled from organic sugar cane instead of corn and rye. (For what it’s worth, Ocean says it is the only 100% USDA certified organic vodka made with organic cane sugar and desalinated deep sea ocean water.)
This has already caused quite a stir on the original review’s comments — where one person noted that there is no organic sugar cane grown on Hawaii — so when this new bottle of the sugar-distilled Ocean arrived, we asked the company what was up. Ocean’s answer: The organic cane used currently comes from South America, but the plan is to use as much Hawaiian cane as possible when an organic supply becomes available. So that’s settled.
Now, on to the vodka itself!
At first blush, the vodka has a tough bitterness. A bit of time in the glass clears this up, though, and the vodka reveals a pleasant but far from cloying sweetness. Ocean still hangs on to its vodka roots, with a bracing medicinal quality underlying the base spirit. But it’s the sweetness I keep coming back to — a clear and pure sugar note, laced perhaps with just a touch of tropical coconut. I’m not sure this vodka would be a winner in a martini, but in a sweeter cocktail I wouldn’t hesitate to reach for the Ocean.