Who says St. Louis is a beer town? While Anheuser-Busch has been making ice-cold suds in the city since 1852, it’s locally influenced craft spirits that are turning heads these days. The award-winning PURUS organic wheat vodka is created by a family of second- and third-generation artisanal farmers and distillers and is the world’s only vodka made from 100-percent organic Italian wheat. Crafted in Italy’s Piedmont region using pristine, fresh water straight from the nearby Alps, the vodka is distilled five times to remove impurities and then gently filtered through active charcoal to ensure a fresh, refined and (most importantly) drinkable essence.

While some spirits experts thumb their noses at vodka, claiming it’s just fodder for sugary mixed drinks, the 80-proof Purus is light and smooth enough to be enjoyed straight or on the rocks. Its velvety texture, hints of citrus and sweet finish mean you can leave the OJ and tonic behind the bar. For cocktail lovers, the vodka readily takes on the flavors of natural mixers like olives, mangoes and raspberries.

Anheuser-Busch originally produced the spirit, but Purus makers went their own way after the beverage conglomerate was absorbed by Belgium-based InBev in 2008. Since relaunching under the ownership of Pure Holdings in 2011, Purus’ distribution has doubled from four to eight states including Illinois, Texas, Florida and Arizona. The company plans to continue growing as vodka drinkers and sellers around the globe clamor for its “super premium” product. We especially love the new Pomacai, a 70-proof vodka infused with pomegranates and acai berries.