Salute American Vodka founder Pete Kelly didn’t originally set out to make your vodka martini, but rather, to help veterans the best way he could. A native of the spirits industry, he started producing vodka made entirely in America: the corn and wheat grains come from America’s heartland, the distillery is located in New York and the bottles, modeled after a 1945 military canteen, are produced in Missouri.
But a lot of vodkas are made in America, including some truly exceptional ones, such as Tito’s Handmade Vodka. So Kelly took his commitment one step further, with a $1 guaranteed donation for each bottle sold, forever. This is no small contribution, considering a 750ml bottle retails for about $20. All this amounts to over $60,000 in donations to veteran charities since the company’s 2011 start date, including a recently funded charity, Veterans Farm, in Jacksonville, Florida, which uses horticultural therapy to help veterans cope with PTSD.
The best part is that Kelly isn’t asking anyone to drink crappy vodka. Salute American took home Silver in the Beverage Testing Institute’s “Best Value Vodka $20 and Under” category and, in a taste test at the GP office, the red, white and blue bottle held its own against leading high-end vodkas, with a smooth, buttery flavor — at least as buttery as 80-proof vodka can taste. So for your summer barbecues, throw some vodka from the canteen bottle into your Cape Codder, wave an American Flag and raise a glass for your fellow Americans.