Flavor, NC: TOPO Distillery

by | May 1, 2014

Flavor NC logoTwice a month we highlight local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s “Flavor, NC.” This week, we review the fifth episode of Season 3, in which host Lisa Prince highlights organic wheat vodka and whiskey from TOPO Distillery in Chapel Hill.

TOPO Distillery founder Scott Maitland sources his organic red winter wheat from Jack Winslow Farm in Scotland Neck. It arrives at the distillery in 2,000-pound bags. Most vodka is made from potatoes. TOPO Distillery is one of only four in the nation that uses wheat. Vodka and whiskey from TOPO can be bought at ABC stores across the state, at the distillery or, if you live outside of North Carolina, online.

To showcase TOPO vodka and whiskey, Lisa rounded up some of the best mixologists in the state for cocktail-making lessons. Recipes are on the Flavor, NC website.

Below is a recipe for Fire and Ice Lemonade by Kati Hajjar, bartender at Top of the Hill Restaurant in Chapel Hill:


  •     1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks
  •     juice of ½ lemon
  •     1/2 ounce jalapeño simple syrup (recipe to follow)
  •     2 ounces TOPO vodka


Place the cucumber, lemon juice, jalapeño simple syrup and vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with thinly sliced cucumber.

Jalapeño Simple Syrup:

In a saucepan, mix together equal parts water and sugar. Add a jalepeño cut in half. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and let mixture cool.

More recipes using TOPO vodka and whiskey are online at topodistillery.com.