Newbie Buffalonian Zamir Gotta, who pals around with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, will be launching his own branded bottle of vodka in Buffalo on September 21. The event is scheduled to take place at Thin Man on Elmwood Avenue. I got a chance to catch up with Zamir, who recently moved to Buffalo, to ask him a few questions about the launch of Zamir Vodka.
What is your affinity to Buffalo?
I was introduced to Buffalo by Anthony Bourdain filming and the episode of “No Reservations – rust belt addition” 2009 with Nelson Starr as the Buffalo guide. I felt an immediate connection because it was cold, winter and everyone was drinking! I returned to Buffalo in 2012 for the farewell edition of “No Reservations” invited by Mike A and Rocco. Here I met Christa Seychew and many others that I now consider good friends such as Leo Abbott and Geno McManus and others from Rochester like Chris Carlson who I refer to as my spiritual adviser (Chris has a liquor review website) and all the wonderful people at the Honeoye distillery. Now I’ve come to call Buffalo home in the USA with an apartment on Richmond Avenue and I hang out on Elmwood (“Elmvud”). I’m now a big Buffalo booster and I plan to move my family here (wife, 2 kids – 27 & 15) as soon as the Vodka can generate enough income to support. I’ve often marveled at the difference of the city from my first visit and now.
Zamir is trying to bring his particular style of peacemaking to Russians and Americans alike through drinking and adventure.
Zamir vodka is unusual as it’s a wheat vodka (distilled 6x) made from a time-honored family Russian recipe and made from 100% American ingredients – the wheat is sourced from a farm that is within walking distance from the distillery – Honeoye Falls Distillery (about an hour east of Buffalo). With a subtle, sweet taste and smooth finish this really is a special vodka.
Honeoye Falls Distillery – Founded in 2013.
Those familiar with Zamir from his appearances with Anthony Bourdain know that there isn’t a problem Zamir can’t solve with a quick story and a strong drink.
How long have you been working on this distilling project?
Why did you choose Thin Man to release your vodka?
I met co-owner Mike Shatzel a few years ago and we formed a friendship. Mike has taken me under his wing. I’m thrilled to have this vodka coming out party at Mike’s newest sensation!
Zamir will teach us all to ‘Drink like a Russian.’
I’ve got a lot on my plate – a biography and filmography. Gotta Films LLC has produced 2 documentaries. The first telling the story of refugee amputees playing soccer, and the second about people with down syndrome performing in theatre in Moscow. Very touching. In Buffalo my immediate attention will be on producing and promoting the Vodka with an eye to the future with opening a “Russian Spy Vodka Bar” somewhere in Buffalo, downtown. Allentown and Old First Ward are also on my radar. I’m is also looking to do charitable work in the Buffalo/ WNY area.
Welcome to Buffalo Zamir! The entire city is happy to take you under our collective wing.
You can find additional info at www.zamirvodka.com.
Zamir Vodka Launch Party | September 21, 2016 | 7pm | Thin Man | 492 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo NY
Photos courtesy Holly Werner