Lass & Liions bottles on display

Lass & Lions, a new spirits company based in Chattanooga, offers vodkas that aspire to greater things than just getting people tipsy. The company's four vodkas, three of which are infused with functional herbs, recently hit the local market — just in time to help residents craft creative cocktails for holiday guests.

CEO Danette Newton (the "lass" in Lass & Lions) used her knowledge of the effects of different herbs gleaned from operating her all-natural skin care business, Simply Me Naturally, to inform her choices of which herbs to infuse in the company's vodkas.

"The herbs we use all have a purpose — not just for flavor," says her husband Bobby Newton, the company's chief administrative officer.

For example, their "Unwind" vodka is infused with chamomile and lemongrass, both of which are known for their relaxing properties. "Rush" features clove as its predominant flavor, but it's also infused with green tea and yerba mate for a kick that's perfect for getting a party started. Ready for romance? "Desire" incorporates damiana, an aphrodisiac, with vanilla bean and hibiscus for a rosy-hued vodka that's tasty without being too sweet.

While the couple and their business partners, Brian Clifford and Jeff Viggers (the "lions" along with Bobby), thought the flavored vodkas would be their niche, Bobby says their straight vodka has developed a following as well. The use of Appalachian mountain spring water and their own method of filtration, in which the vodka is distilled six times, gives it a unique flavor, he says. "It's filtered to a high level of purity, and doesn't have much of a medicinal flavor like some do," he adds.

All the vodkas are meant to taste great straight or mixed into a cocktail, says Bobby. Here is one of our favorite Lass & Lions drink recipes for holiday festivities, created by the company's mixologist, though you can find more at

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Fill Me Up Butternut cocktail

Fill Me Up Butternut

What you need:

» 1 1/2 ounces Lass & Lions Rush Vodka

» 1 ounce butternut squash cordial*

» 1 1/2 ounces lemon juice

» Bar spoon's worth of maple syrup

For butternut squash cordial:

» 1 1/2 cups butternut squash puree

» 1 cup granulated sugar

» 3 sprigs of sage

» 1 cup vodka

What you do:

» Add all ingredients in a Boston shaker with ice and shake. Fine-strain into rocks glass and add ice. Add sage leaves for garnish. Serve as the party's getting started.

For butternut squash cordial:

» Add everything except vodka to a heavy-bottom saucepan. Bring to a rolling simmer over medium heat, stirring slowly.

» Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through fine mesh or cheesecloth into a clean bowl.

» Stir vodka into the mixture until combined. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.