When looking at the liquor category, there’s a choice you have that you might not be aware of. It’s also a great choice if you want to buy the best, buy American, and you want to stock vodka in your liquor cabinet, all at the same time. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is an indispensable inclusion.

The story behind this award-winning American product is just about as compelling as they come. As the founder and owner of the brand, Tito Beveridge (yes, his real name), is wholly self-taught not simply in the art of distilling vodka, but distilling it into a quality that’s elevated it to competition-crushing status. Tito’s Handmade Vodka didn’t just surpass the quality of most of the vodkas on the market, or the most popular ones, or the priciest ones. It surpassed them all!

The good news is that you don’t have to be a spirit connoisseur to enjoy this vodka. I’m sure Tito would tell you that his primary target market has always been the everyday American who enjoys great vodka: every day, most days, some days, on weekends, and/on or special occasions.

The owner and founder of this superb vodka has degrees in geology and geophysics, but it was during the time that he worked in the mortgage business that he started making flavored vodkas for his friends at Christmas. What a unique American gift to be given for Christmas presents!

Unfortunately, when he took his flavored vodkas to liquor stores, there weren’t many takers, as liquor storeowners pointed to the dust collecting on the existing stock of vodka already lining their shelves. Make the vodka so it was smooth enough to drink straight, many of them said, and they might take a liking to Tito’s flavored vodkas.

The best way to make sure your product is the best compared to your competitors is to sample all of them, and then work to make yours a cut above. And that’s exactly what Tito did. He bought all the vodka brands, tasted all the vodka brands, narrowed them down to the top two, and then made his vodka so it was better than the best two in the bunch.

After turning the credit lines of 19 credit cards into $88,000, Tito built his own production still and got to work creating his vodka business. After several continuous cycles of making and selling his vodka (and sleeping next to the still in between) he received a call from the World Spirits Competition. So Tito sent a couple of bottles of his vodka to enter the competition, and came away with a double gold medal against 72 vodkas from around the world.

Tito sold his first case of vodka 15 years ago, and today you don’t have to look too hard to locate this award-winning brand in your local liquor stores. Just go to the website at titosvodka.com, click on the Find Tito’s tab, select your state, and do the search.

Alternately, you can have this top-notch vodka mailed to you just by doing an Internet search, and ordering it through an authorized wholesaler.

Tito’s Vodka is made completely from corn (mostly from the American Midwest, but all American nonetheless) and is also completely gluten-free. It’s also nice to know that his success in selling his vodka has come largely through word of mouth, garnering awards, and very minimal advertising.

It’s refreshing to know that there is a refreshing liquor that is proudly 100 percent American and privately owned. According to the website, this is one company that has no plans to go public, which means the ownership will remain in American hands. Fortunately, the hands of Tito’s staff (upwards of 20 people) make the best handmade vodka around.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.