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A compelling alternative to grain alcohol

The DIY wave long since crashed over our kitchen, and has increasingly been flooding our bars.

But the interest in sui generis bitters, amari and barrel-aged cocktails has outpaced the availability of the base products required. Luckily, Pittsburgh-based Boyd & Blair has filled in one crucial part of equation.

Already known for exceptional potato vodka (click here to buy), Barry Young and Prentiss Orr recently released a high-strength version dubbed Professional Proof 151. Devised as an alternative to overproof white rum and grain alcohol, it surpasses them outright.

The Professional Proof is ripe with the same vanilla-tinged sweetness of Boyd & Blair's standard vodka, carrying its extra octane gracefully: You could almost nurse it in a chilled coupe after an extra-long stir in the mixing glass.

Almost. Professional Proof was built for infusing, fortifying and barrel-aging, and that is where it truly shines.

If you need inspiration for Boyd & Blair-based infusions, look no further than Brad Thomas Parsons' Bitters. With more than a dozen recipes for bitters and instructions for drinks in which to use them, consider it your bible for boozy experiments. Your first assignment: orange bitters (click here to see the recipe).

Boyd & Blair Professional Proof 151 is currently available in select markets including Washington, D.C., Miami, San Francisco and New York City, and is adding more markets each week. Contact your local liquor store to request that they stock it.

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