San Diego Vodka Makers Aim to Save the Earth, One Uneaten Twinkie at a Time

bottles of misadventure vodka on table
Photo courtesy of Misadventure and Co.

Have you and a friend ever sat in a bar, sipping a drink and coming up with wild, grand ideas?

We all have, and thankfully, most of us don’t act on them.

But for Whit Rigali and Samuel Chereskin, those wacky ideas became a reality.

Rigali, a bartender in San Diego, dreamed of creating locally-made booze so area bartenders could craft fun, local drinks. Chereskin, an agricultural economist, was frustrated with the amount of food waste in the United States and wanted to do something about it.

Light bulb! They could use wasted food to make booze.

How to Make Vodka From Donuts

Misadventure and Co. founders Sam Chereskin, left, and Whit Rigali, right. Photo courtesy of Misadventure and Co.

The pair discovered that local food pantries throw away baked goods every day — from Twinkies to bread to donuts. These food items are deemed unfit to even give away to the needy. Luckily for us, they’re still full of usable starches and sugars.

The two pals took to a garage to see if they could make the magic happen. It took four years and many misfires before they refined the process to the point that they could successfully transform all those cupcakes and bagels into a truly sippable vodka.

Today, Rigali and Chereskin collect the baked goods and mash them up with water. Then they add the yeast that eats all of those sugars and converts them into alcohol. The resulting liquid is distilled and, presto, Misadventure Vodka is born!

Each bottle has about two pounds worth of baked goods packed into it, but don’t worry. The yeast eats all that sugar.

Help the World. Drink Vodka.

bottle of misadventure vodka on bar
Photo courtesy of Misadventure and Co.

Misadventure Vodka sells for about $22 for a 750-milliliter bottle, so it’s not the “wrap it in a brown bag and drink it down by the train tracks while re-evaluating your life” booze. This is pretty good stuff.

Some reviews on say, “Fantastic, better than Tito’s!” and “Never enjoyed vodka on the rocks until now, very smooth.” Not too shabby for a spirit made from bakery items that were headed to the dump. It even measures under 10 parts per million of gluten, which meets the standards to be labeled gluten-free.

Currently, Misadventure is only available in Southern California, so if you venture down toward San Diego, look for it and try it out. It’s your philanthropic duty as a good citizen to help reduce the food waste in our great nation by having a good drink. Or two.

Then, as you toast your friends with drinks made from toast, rattle off your own ridiculous ideas on how to save the world while making it more fun.

Write them down. Trust me.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

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