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Halsted liquor says it's vodka with a cause

The owners of Halsted vodka want you to raise a glass, have fun and support LGBT causes--all at the same time.

"Here's a product that the gay community likes and spends money on," said Jennifer Schulze, one of the owners of the Chicago-based and Colorado-distilled company. "Wouldn't it be nice if some of that money came back into the gay community?"

Halsted vodka was three years in the making, Schulze said, with the flash of inspiration coming from a group of friends talking about how they could benefit their favorite causes while making some money. After years of taste-testing, recipe-tweaking and focus groups, Halsted debuted its vodka--named for the iconic street in Boystown--in October.

"It's been very well-received," Schulze said. "People really liked it."

She said 15 percent of the profits from selling Halsted vodka go to organizations like the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus and the Legacy Project. And the spirit's taste, which Schulze describes as "bold" and "smooth," has already won over several of the bars and restaurants near its namesake street. Sidetrack and Minibar are two of the locations where it's served.

Schulze said about 12 bars and restaurants--many gay-owned or -focused--offer Halsted, a premium brand. A 750 ml bottle of Halsted at the only retail location in which it's sold,  Andersonville Wine and Spirits, will run about $26 to $29, she said, on par with luxury vodkas such as Grey Goose and Ketel One.

Schulze said the taste of the vodka, created in what she said is one of two glass stills in the country, make it unique. They use a mixture of American corn and wheat to craft the spirit.

"When people drink it straight, either chilled straight or straight, they're blown away," she said. "It's just really good."

Plus, Schulze adds, people can feel good about supporting their favorite causes with their martini.

"There are lots of products that everyone buys," she said. "This just happens to be one that we thought we could mix fun and community building together."

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