Squadron 303 Vodka
Squadron 303 is an unfiltered, single distilled 40% ABV vodka made from English potatoes in Cambridgeshire. It’s currently only available in UK and France.
Why we like it:
Squadron 303 is vodka that’s not afraid to assert some personality, unlike most vodka that try and hide the flavor factor. Much like a really good Rhum Agricole it’s both sophisticated and rustic; read: sexy with a bit of funk. It has a long finish (not to be confused with a harsh or astringent finish that you might find in a cheap vodka) with very light hints of torrefied vegetal acetone that becomes spicier as it warms up.
It’s also a nice transition from your bar’s summer to winter wardrobes. It gives a thicker mouthfeel and an aromatic character to a white old fashioned, making a nice bridge between sunny mint julep season and darker days for warm, brown and rich drinks.
And, finally, it could be an interesting alternative for dirty vodka martini drinkers, rather than doping straight up vodka with brine to add some flavor to the fuel.
Where to buy it:
Squadron 303 is currently available in about 100 independent wine and spirits shops throughout France and that number is set to more than quadruple over the next few years. Two suggested addresses where you are sure to find it:
- Caves de Courcelles: 206 Bis Rue de Courcelles, 75017 Paris
- Caves Saint Vincent 26, rue des Belles-Feuilles, 75016 Paris
Where to taste it:
Currently, Squadron 303 is available in classy hotel bars such as Park Hyatt Vendome, Jules et Jim or Night Flight – and soon to be arriving in more.
What you’ll pay for it:
What to do with it:
White Old Fashioned
-4 cl Squadron 303 Vodka
-2 dashes grapefruit bitters
-1 cl simple syrup
Pour into old fashioned glass over ice and express a grapefruit zest over drink. Garnish with zest if you like.
What to know about its backstory:
Squadron 303 Vodka is inspired by historical events. During WWII, a squadron of Polish fighter pilots made history for its skill and bravery. Squadron 303 was known for their valor…and their vodka. Legend has it they distilled it in England then flew it back in an extra tank on the planes, cooling it during the mission for their “Shot of Glory” on arrival. As the story goes, the plane equipped with the extra vodka tank always arrived home safely.
The team behind Squadron 303 Vodka plans to continue with a piece of this tradition and will take an annual flight on a small plane with a tank of the vodka. The vodka will then be bottled and sold as a yearly limited edition.
What else to know about it:
The Squadron 303 Showroom is located at 69 rue de l’Universite and is a tiny WWII inspired office, show room and bar. If you stop in during office hours, you can visit with the brains behind the brand and check out their collection of antique WWII related items (flasks, etc) as well as buy a bottle onsite.
What to expect in its future:
A couple of potential projects that aren’t finalized so can’t really be divulged but that involve some interesting Paris based chefs.
69 rue de l’Université