BiVi Vodka - new but steeped in tradition
Rolling hills, charmingly rustic fishing villages and a dark sensibility are all images that are conjured by the mention of Sicily. Along with sitting in a piazza, drinking espresso, eating camponata in the shadow of Mt. Etna, you most likely think of Sicilians drinking the wine. When thinking about Sicily, vodka does not usually come to mind, but that is about to change.
A new vodka is entering the market with a great story that has a connection to both the artisan past of Sicily and that of its owner. A vodka steeped in the mythology, that is meant to be enjoyed just as Sicilians do life: joyful, straight and delicious. It is also intricately linked to New York, Las Vegas and a more swinging era, where shared martinis and their olives could help build the bonds of friendship.
As its owner and namesake says, “It is combining New World chemistry and Old World sensibilities” for a wonderful result. BiVi Vodka is bringing together the Italian tradition of artisanship with the art of making vodka. It is able to demonstrate the Sicilian terroir by using all Sicilian Semolina wheat and Sicilian water, and is artfully distilled in accordance to the lunar cycle.
This vodka is being brought to you by iconic actor Chazz Palminteri and just like with his career, is striving for nothing short of excellence in his vodka! Three years in the making, he has painstakingly found a master artisan distiller and is poised for a prolific entry into the market.
What would you do if you had an inspiring story, were beloved by millions and had many roles in some amazing films? Start making vodka, of course! We talked to him about his new vodka, drinking with Sinatra and distilling by the Sicilian moon.
What is your inspiration behind BiVi?
Through collaboration with Iconic Brands, BiVi Sicilian Vodka is a representation of my Sicilian roots as well as a way to keep Frank Sinatra’s “Rat Pack” tradition alive. It was three years in the making and we wanted to get it right. Which we did! People are really responding.
What is your vodka made from and where are the ingredients sourced from?
BiVi Sicilian Vodka is made from the finest “Semolina” wheat produced in Sicily; the same wheat used for the production of pasta and fine breads are used for BiVi. This Semolina coupled with the pristine waters of Sicily along with the masterful and gentle hand of our Master Distiller yields a vodka like no other.
What make your vodka unique?
BiVi is unique in that it is crafted in Sicily in an artisan distillery. The authenticity of this “First Ever” produced and brought to the United States Sicilian Vodka exemplifies the true character of the Island.
How do you infuse Sicily into each bottle and does Bivi show the terroir of Sicily?
The ingredients are masterfully handcrafted at an artisan distillery by Sicilian Mastro Distillatore master distiller Giovanni La Fauci, who built his first still when he was 11 years old. The Giovi distillery has been producing in this location for generations, a region that benefits from a warm Tyrrhenian climate opening up to reveal the natural beauty of Capo Milazzo and the Aeolian Islands. The stills used are fired using the finest Sicilian fruitwoods from blood orange trees and Sicilian lemon trees. La Fauci experimented with various semblances of Semolina wheat combined with the “clear Sicilian waters” that have begat crops for generations of islanders. La Fauci is extremely precise in his work, only distilling “when the moon is a certain way.”
What are some of the tasting notes in your BiVi?
BiVi is extremely smooth, soft, flavorful and long lasting on the palate.
What is your favorite way to enjoy Bivi?
I say take it right out of the freezer and enjoy it straight. It is so soft, but cocktails make it even better.
How do you infuse a bit of you in each bottle?
On the BiVi label, just above my Chazz Palminteri embossed signature, there are two green olives speared together by a toothpick, which is a highly significant image inspired by my friendship with Frank Sinatra.
You drank vodka with Frank?
Yes. He was reminiscing with me about his time in Vegas with the Rat Pack and turned to me and said, “Share my olive with me.” We then shared the olive. I later learned that that was a Rat Pack tradition and symbolizes great friendship. It is a tradition that we want to keep going.
What would be your favorite food pairings with your vodka?
I love it with caviar Calvisius Italian Caviar and all its accoutrements. It’s just classic and great!
What else is going on with Chazz?
I’ve just opened up my restaurant, Chazz Palminteri Ristorante Italiano, which is doing phenomenal. We’ve only been open six weeks and it’s one of the hottest spots in New York. Who knows, we may open one in Vegas someday!
We’d love that! Is it Sicilian centric?
There are dishes from Sicily, but I spent six weeks in Italy and was all over Italy scouring for the best recipes. So we have influences from all over Italy. And in the restaurants people are enjoying BiVi in cocktails and Vodka Martinis. They are even sharing their olives just like Frank and I did. That’s what first gave me a connection to vodka.
What is your favorite part of Vegas?
I like that you can do everything. You can go see an early show, walk across the street and have dinner in one of the fabulous restaurants, see a late show, and then gamble in the casinos. It’s hard to be in a bad mood in Las Vegas.
Some of Chazz’s Favorite BiVi Cocktails:
STRAIT OF MESSINA
2 oz BiVi Sicilian Vodka
1 barspoon Apricot Jam
1 oz Cranberry Juice
¼ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Shake ingredients over ice and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a dried apricot on the rim of the glass.
THE BIG ISLAND
1½ oz BiVi Sicilian Vodka
¾ oz 40% abv Triple Sec
2 oz Fresh Orange Juice
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz Real Grenadine
½ oz Cruzan Dark Rum
Shake the first five ingredients over ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Float the rum on top of the drink and garnish with a quarter-wedge of orange on the rim. Serve with a straw.
2 oz BiVi Sicilian Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with chilled Ginger Beer and serve with a straw.