High-alkaline vodka launches in Austin; founders say spirit is 'better for you'
In Austin, there exists a curious dichotomy: We are both fitness-conscious and booze-loving and, no doubt, we try to find balance when we want both. One new local product aims to provide just that through the use of high-alkaline water.
Fix Vodka launches this month as the boozy brainchild of Ethan and Maryn Miklas, two Austinites who noticed the city's focus on health and created Fix to match the lifestyle here, Maryn said. It's the first high-alkaline vodka made in the U.S. of which the founders are aware.
Water is key to the distillation process, and the Miklases were careful about the water they sourced to make the corn-based vodka. The water comes straight from Texas aquifers and has both the desired high pH and a high mineral content before it's filtered 10 times through organic coconut-husk charcoal. That filtration doesn't eliminate the high alkaline quality of the water, which is present in the finished vodka.
Maryn claims high alkalinity in food and drink is good for teeth and gut health, unlike food and drink high in acid. The pH scale, running from 0 to 14, measures how acidic or basic a substance is, with a pH of 7 being neutral. Most vodkas tend to have a pH of 4, which is on the acidic side; Fix's pH is higher than 8, so it's more on the basic side.
Because the water's high alkalinity was acquired naturally — through minerals picked up in the aquifers that Fix sourced from — the co-founders claim it won't fade over time. (Water can have alkalinity added to it through an ionizing process, as well.)
The high-alkaline trend is not new. Though brands such as Essentia, which has been bottling high-alkaline water since 1998, claim health benefits that range from better hydration to helping with acid reflux, "there’s no evidence that drinking water with a higher pH can change the pH of your body, or even that this outcome would provide benefits," according to a 2018 New York Times article exploring the efficacy of high alkalinity in drinking water.
One registered dietician quoted in a CNN article from January said that more research needs to be done to determine the possible effects of high-alkaline water on the human body, as much of the research already out there has been animal-based.
"Whether you drink or consume a highly acidic or highly alkaline food or beverage, it's going to be neutralized, especially in your digestive system, before it hits your bloodstream," Malina Malkani, the registered dietician and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told CNN.
The Miklases think Austin will be especially receptive to Fix's mission, making it a good city to launch the brand before expanding elsewhere around Texas.
"We came to Austin 3 years ago because it is such a healthy city," Maryn said. "Everyone is super active and it’s easy to be a part of a community of people who enjoy the same lifestyle as us — workout by day, cocktails by night."
Maryn has long been aware of the purported benefits of high alkalinity in food and drink and first came up with the idea for Fix — so named because it could "maybe help people fix themselves a little in the process" — when she was living in California a decade ago.
"I was living the classic Cali lifestyle of daily workouts and a high-alkaline diet mixed with lots of late nights out," she said. "I was a huge vodka fan and said to one of my girlfriends, 'Wouldn't it be great if there was a vodka that is better for you?' Fast forward, and the better-for-you vodka became Fix Vodka."
Whatever the case, Fix Vodka has a clean, neutral flavor profile that will go well with tonic water and lime or as a base in more complex cocktails with fruit juices. It's 80 proof and available at both bars and restaurants and retailers, including Barton Springs Saloon, Black Sheep Lodge, ABC Liquor and the Austin Shaker, at a suggested retail price of $29.99.