Deep Eddy vs. the World

A good friend of the AG owns a local liquor store and invited some of us over for a Saturday tasting of Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka. Named after the famed Austin swimming hole (in which the AG has never gone swimming—lame), this stuff is as Austin-based as can be. Deep Eddy is the lovechild of former Sweet Leaf Tea CEO Clayton Christopher and Savvy Vodka founder Chad Auler, and it tastes delicious.

“Sweet tea” flavored vodka, of course, is nothing new—not by a long shot. Even before Firefly became the official drink of summer 2008, bartenders all over the South were mixing up strong brews of tea with vodka, sugar and club soda. The AG is told that bartenders in Austin were mixing Sweet Leaf Tea and Savvy long before the reign of the Firefly empire. But, as with many great products, a line of seemingly similar [albeit inferior] knock-offs to Firefly came along, and the rest is history.

Don’t get the AG wrong, Firefly is pretty good. The wannabes chocked full of high-fructose corn syrup and red dye #2? No thanks—and they’re out there by the dozens. Sweet Carolina, Teaka, Jeremiah Weed and Burnett’s, just to name a few. At the liquor store, we sampled Deep Eddy ($21.50), Firefly ($23.50) and Jeremiah Weed ($20) side by side, blind taste test-style. (What’s up, Pepsi Challenge?) Obviously, they all tasted similar, but there was something that stood out about each one. Firefly tasted a bit stronger, but not in a bad way, and wasn’t as sweet. Jeremiah Weed tasted way, way too sweet—and just FYI, this is what you’re getting at most bars when you ask for a John Daly or a Southern Fly. The Deep Eddy was the AG’s favorite because while not as strong as the Firefly, it had a better overall taste. Maybe that’s because of the superior ingredients, maybe that’s because the AG’s mind wouldn’t have allowed such treasonous acts as picking a non-Austin product—who knows?

On that note, here is the good, the bad and the ugly on Deep Eddy.

The Good

  • The vodka is distilled in Austin with a column still (superior to the standard pot still)
  • The water they use is natural Texas spring water
  • There’s even pure cane sugar from Sugarland, TX and clover honey from Austin’s own Good Flow Honey Co.
  • It’s all bottled, brewed, etc. right here in Austin

The Bad

  • It’s not much cheaper than Firefly
  • Firefly is much easier to get your hands on (at least right now)

The Ugly

  • Watch out for Deep Eddy… it’ll catch up to you. The sweetness and [what tastes like] a low alcohol content make the first one or two Eddys & Water* go down with ease. It’s the seventh and eighth that will ruin your morning—or in this case, your attempt to write a blog post in the morning. Ouch.

Bottom line: Firefly has some unknown ingredients in it, doesn’t taste as good, costs $2 more and is made 1,400 miles away. The end.

Time to duck out of the office before Lumbergh notices, pick up a bottle of Deep Eddy and start living life better.

*The AG enjoys an Eddy & Water, and this is as simple a recipe as you’ll find…

2 parts Deep Eddy vodka + 1 part water + 1 hearty squeeze of lemon, all in a double old fashioned glass.

…and don’t be shy with the rocks–-it’s summer in Austin, Texas.


~ by An Austin Gentleman on May 26, 2010.

2 Responses to “Deep Eddy vs. the World”

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this product and not just because I am friends w/Clayton and work for Sweet Leaf Tea.

    I am 35 years old and before working for SLT (a boozing crowd) I didn’t really drink and I don’t care to waste the calories on alcohol or cheap mixers for that matter, but 1) mixing Sweet Leaf Tea w/good booze is tasty and 2) Deep Eddy DOES rock and even after more drinks in an evening than I’d like to admit, I wake up feeling fine! (I do drink a lot of water in between to not get knocked out by a sugar-induced hang over.)

    Thanks for the awesome blog post!!

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