This $40 Million Vodka Could Save Your Liver

Vodka is both wildly popular—it’s the most popular spirit in the U.S.—and hard to distinguish. By classic definition a tasteless, odorless liquid, vodka makers put a lot of effort into telling us what makes their offering different—Grey Goose uses French wheat, Ciroc French grapes and so on. Yet between the extensive distillation process for vodka and the probability you’re mixing vodka with something else, you need to pay a lot of attention to your palate to distinguish one quality vodka from another. But one vodka maker, Bellion Specialty Vodka, claims to have conjured a game-changing liquor using an ingredient that’s taken a decade and $40 million to develop—NTX.

Chigurupati’s specialized blend of three ingredients, each individually approved by the Food & Drug Administration, includes a licorice root extract called Glycyrrhizin, Manna sugar and potassium sorbate. The combination “renders the spirit liver and DNA friendly…actually protecting the liver and DNA…yet it does not affect the taste or the buzz,” the company contends in a recent media pitch.

New York based scientist Harsha Chigurupati and his company Chigurupati Technologies have spent more than 10 years and $40 million in research and clinical trials developing NTX, a patented additive the company says protects the liver and DNA from the damage alcohol inflicts on those parts of the body. If Chigurupati is right, he may just be starting a health revolution in the spirits business.