Deven Volk has been working for 10 years on what he is calling Luna Sea Vodka. This product changes from blue to purple with a mere squeeze of a lime. It is available at three restaurants in Santa Cruz, California: Johnny’s Harborside (493 Lake Ave., Santa Cruz), Brady’s Yacht Club (413 Seabright Ave., Santa Cruz) and Sotola Bar and Grill (231 Esplanade Ave., Capitola), reports the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
This man handles everything involved in the making of Luna Sea Vodka by himself. He produces the vodka in his Westside Santa Cruz distillery, at 815 Almar Ave, which is a distillery not open to the public. Volk told reporters that he wants to keep the drink local, in an effort to truly capture the Santa Cruz essence and image.
“I love the image of Santa Cruz, the coastline of Santa Cruz. I love the fact that people are very experimental and open to new stuff and new ideas and always trying to create something different and new. I thought that fit perfectly.”
Volk, now 33, moved to Santa Cruz from Salinas Valley slightly over a year ago specifically to start his vodka business but lacked the necessary funds to get the ball rolling. To earn his income, he worked at local farmer’s markets, helping sell fish, as well as working full time at a Santa Cruz Hostel, and at H&H Fresh Fish at the Santa Cruz Harbor. Within a year of his move, Volk was able to obtain licensing, as well as all the products he would need to begin producing and distributing the creation he’d worked so hard for.
When Volk initially got the idea, he was visiting family in the Ukraine when he was 20, some of which was into creating vodka. He says that those family members who are into the creating of vodka are truly what helped teach him, as well as give him inspiration.
“They were going to schools, different kind of schools, on how to make vodka and everything. So I kind of hooked up with them, learned some stuff with them and then I really started getting in to it a lot myself.”
So how does this colorful vodka work? The secret behind it is not magic; it’s science. Volk infuses the vodka with butterfly pea flowers, which he orders in seed form out of Thailand, then grows at home in his garden. In Thailand, this flower is known for making blue tea, but Volk uses it to create an alkaline vodka. The reason the blue Vodka turns purple when a drop of lime juice hits it is that the acidity from citrus shifts the liquid’s pH balance. When that happens, viola, the drink turns purple.