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A new distillery is the first to make legal vodka in Manhattan since Prohibition

By Clayton Guse
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New York’s tap water gives way to some of the best pizza and bagels on the planet, but not since before Prohibition has the city’s water supply been used to make and sell legal vodka in Manhattan. That changed earlier this year with the opening of a new distillery, Our/New York.

The outpost, located at 151 W 26th St in Chelsea, is the sixth location for the brand Our/Vodka, which also has distilleries in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Detroit and Los Angeles. Now, New Yorkers can find bottles of the corn-based booze, which can be found at specialty spirit stores and at the distillery itself for $22.99. It's also being poured at a handful of bars and restaurants in Manhattan, including 310 Bowery and the always amazing Scarr's Pizza (check out Our/New York's full list of distribution spots here). 

Since Prohibition, regulations have made it incredibly difficult for distilleries to open up in New York City. The current legislation surrounding distillers in New York State is lengthy and complicated. In 2010, Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn navigated that bureaucratic gauntlet to become the city’s first legal distillery since the national booze ban went into effect. And the team behind Our/New York said that it took more than five years and at least 220 meetings with officials to get their license approved.

If this local vodka has you brimming with civic pride, you can also take a peek behind the scenes at the distillery. The spot has a full-service bar and offers daily tours Wednesdays through Sundays every week. Tours are capped at 10 people, and guests will get the chance to sample a limited edition 100-proof AfterDark vodka that's available only at the distillery, which promises to pack enough of a punch to make your walk back to the subway slightly more interesting. 

New Yorkers take a lot of pride in their city's water, and this brand is clearly banking on that sentiment. Even if you can't stand the taste of vodka, copping a bottle of this stuff is a surefire conversation starter for the next time you want to feel like more of a New Yorker than the rest of your friends.

Photograph: Courtesy Our/New York

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