MILLERTON, N.Y. -- You'd think Leslie Farhangi would be busy enough tending to a dozen retired horses and one rescue donkey, not to mention catering to her busy household which includes two sons, two dogs, two cats and a 200-acre farm.
But the founder of Three Meadows Spirits and Peony Vodka, always knew she wanted to start her own business and do something different.
The Stanford University-educated attorney, who left a New York City practice behind for a life in the country, was inspired by the luscious rows of antique peonies that burst into fragrant bloom on her farm each June, She also likes cocktails with friends and, so, the concept for Peony Vodka bloomed (pardon the pun).
The flowers used to create the vodka's unique botanical essence come directly from Farhangi's Millerton farm. Working with a local master herbalist, they are harvested and processed directly on the farm to create the tincture, which is then blended during the distillation process. (The distilling takes place off-premises due to the prohibitive cost to convert her barn.)
The vodka is distilled five times from American wheat and filtered twice through charcoal to remove even the minutest impurity.
What makes it different, she said, is its adaptability. "Most flavored vodkas on the market have a very distinct, and rather 'manufactured' flavor (for example lemon, lime, cranberry etc) and they aren't very versatile," explained Farhangi.
"Peony's proprietary blend of natural botanicals are so subtle that it can be served alone on the rocks, or with tonic or soda just as easily as in any gin or vodka cocktail recipe which makes it very unique."
Though only a year old -- it launched in spring 2016 -- it has already received a 92 rating by Anthony Dias Blue a well-known wine & spirits expert. It was also selected as an Editor's Pick for Oprah Magazine's The 'O' List.
Peony Vodka is available in over 40 fine restaurants and liquor stores in the Hudson Valley, a list that continues to grow weekly.
Farhangi, a lifelong horse enthusiast, is also doing her part to support four regional equine events this summer. The first of these is the Victory Cup "Farm Bash" Polo event on Saturday, July 15 in Patterson which also includes a classic car show, food trucks, and a children’s playground. Peony Vodka will be providing complimentary tastings in the Hospitality Tent from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Go to www.peonyvodka.com for more information.