New Oklahoma distillery makes waves with high-quality vodka
We sat down with Hunter Stone Gambill, who founded Oklahoma Distilling Co. less than a year ago.
Hunter Stone Gambill
Hunter Stone Gambill started Oklahoma Distilling Co. less than a year ago. In that time, his spirits have made it into more than 100 liquor stores and bars across Oklahoma. We caught up with Gambill to find out more.
What made you decide to start your own distillery?
As young as I can remember, I loved food and drink. At 14, I got a job at a local Italian place, and instead of spending all day at high school, I enrolled half-days in a culinary arts program. For undergrad studies, I went to Oklahoma State for hotel-restaurant administration and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for culinary arts. I ended up being a food and beverage manager of three casinos in Nevada when I was 21.
Quickly after turning 22, I got married and we moved to Oregon, where I went to Oregon State for grad school. While there, I learned to distill, make wine and brew beer. When I finished grad school I wanted to start a distillery. But being 23 and broke makes starting a business hard.
(Gambill, now 31, opened Oklahoma Distilling Co. this past June with the help of friends, family and business partners. The distillery is located at 1724 E.
What’s on the horizon for Oklahoma Distilling Co.?
Right next to the distillery, we’re opening Local Cider and Angry Bear Mead (a winery that does cider and mead, a beverage of fermented honey, water and yeast with herbs, spices or botanical flavors), which will have a tap room. One wall is glass, so you can see into the distillery. Not too far from the distillery, on East Eighth Street and South Utica Avenue, we’re opening a place called Coffee Coffee. We will be serving up unpretentiously good coffee. We’ll also have Israeli-style falafel and shawarma, as well as french fries and fried Brussels sprouts.
Tell us about Indian Grass Oklahoma Vodka. What makes it different?
Indian Grass is our first spirit. I wanted it to be distinctly Oklahoman. Indian grass is our state’s grass. The vodka starts from a six-times distilled, 95-percent alcohol base. It is then 10-times charcoal filtered to remove any impurities and create the ultimate smoothness. It is cut to 40 percent alcohol with Oklahoma Ice Age water, water sourced from the Great Salt Plains in western Oklahoma. This water makes Indian Grass uniquely crisp. Before sealing with a cork, a hand-picked blade of Oklahoma Prairie Grass is placed in the bottle. Each bottle is signed and marked with a batch tag to commemorate the extreme care taken in making Indian Grass.
Where can people find your product?
Nearly all wine and spirit shops in the greater Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas are carrying it. We’re now working with a team focusing on restaurants and bars, but if you’re in downtown Tulsa, many places already have it. So, keep an eye out.
What’s your favorite place to have a drink in Tulsa?
Valkyrie and the new local breweries near the distillery (Cabin Boys and Heirloom Rustic Ales).
What’s your go-to drink?
An Old Fashioned or a glass of Rioja — probably the best wine for the price.
What’s your favorite food/drink pairing?
When watching Steven Adams and the Thunder, it’s pizza with a Boilermaker. (That’s beer and a shot of whiskey, for the uninitiated).
Do you have a hangover cure?
Remember what happened the last time you started downing shots of the well spirits that were on special.