Vodka in a more modern format can be seen in writings from the mid-15th and 16th centuries. Vodka isn’t always unadulterated of course, and flavoured vodkas are also possible by adding various compounds or extracts after the manufacturing process. Vodka was first produced from wheat and other grains. Potatoes: commonly thought as the main base for vodka, it’s actually just a small percentage, while many vodkas are made with grapes, wheat, and other bases Others lean on what’s local, like Suntory’s Haku vodka, which is made with rice and filtered through bamboo charcoal for a slight cotton-candy sweet taste. “It’s not just a cocktail base; there are a lot of great flavor profiles that can be explored and enjoyed through sipping vodka.”. “Corn gives a sweeter flavor, softer mouthfeel and gentler finish than wheat or potato,” says founder Matti Anttila. OJ. Vodka production: Additives. The top five best brands of vodka Belvedere . A form of Żubrówka is now sold in the US, but it’s one in which the coumarin content has been removed. Due to these requirements, vodka is often distilled at least three times, though usually much more, and no other additives, except water, are included. Re:Find’s vodka, for example, is made from wine that’s bled off to concentrate a red. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! Vodka Is the Most Popular Spirit in the World. After a vodka has been distilled it can still be corrected with additives such as sugar or citric acid. There are plenty of popular vodka-based cocktails to enjoy. In addition to the alcohol and additives, all vodka contain another key ingredient- water. Dear guests, website is working in test mode now. We make vodka not cakes… But surprisingly… additives, preservatives and artificial flavourings are commonly used throughout the drinks industry – with no requirement for producers to declare they are present as they do on food labels. Vodka’s a neutral spirit. Spoiler Alert: Artificial additives are extremely common in most vodkas. The Estonian Vodka GI obtained is a spirit drink with a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40 %. The only additives that may be used are organic flavouring compounds made using local grain and/or potatoes. The compounds have a purpose and can correct any irregularities to make sure a brand makes the same tasting tequila time after time, but additives can also flatten tequila’s natural flavors or add an unnatural sweetness. For us, the soft winter white wheat from the different farms didn’t have major differences.”. The method is similar to that for most fermented spirits. Ketel One Vodka. Crystal Head Vodka contains no additives, added sugar or citrus oils, which are common in many types of vodka. After all of this the vodka’s alcohol percentage is around 96%. It was even long defined as "without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color" by The Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). “There’s a lot of difference to be found in ‘straight’ vodkas,” says owner Derek Gamlin. Vodka, by definition, is ethanol cut with water to at least 80 proof (40 percent purity). “Corn gives a sweeter flavor, softer mouthfeel and … So why would it need chemical additives? Many modern vodkas that are highly regarded for their perceived smoothness have been augmented with trace amounts of sugar, honey, glycerine and/or citric acid. The Birthplace(s) of Vodka. Another factor is impurities. 6 Spirits Made with Ingredients You'd Never Guess. The final factor is additives. Though their hypothesis has yet to be conclusively confirmed, they speculate that these structural differences in different vodkas could account for slight differences in taster perceptions. For more details, see our. Though he admits it won’t compete with super premium brands when it comes to the most neutral flavor. Increasingly, however, neutral isn’t the goal. Prep: 10 mins Serves: 1 Put a handful of ice into a large cocktail shaker. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s not a great deal that’s interesting about the chemistry of vodka. The Worldwide Vodka Market. Lastly, Vodka must be filtered through a natural substance like … It sounds a bit strange, but definitely deserves to be on this list of vodka mixers. Indeed, only the freshest organically grown fruits, herbs, & spices sourced exclusively throughout the Caribbean are used to create the flavors you love. The graphic in this article is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Interestingly, this was (and still is) banned by the FDA in the USA, as flavouring with bison grass also leads to the presence of the compound coumarin, which in much larger amounts has been shown to exhibit liver toxicity in rats. Choose your own adventure. It found that a varying concentration of hydrates surround ethanol molecules in different brands, and “these ethanol clusters undoubtedly stimulate the palate differently,” meaning “vodka drinkers could express preference for a particular structure.”, “Each grain has its own unique characteristics,” says Umberto Luchini, the founder of Blood x Sweat x Tears vodka. Consider supporting Compound Interest on Patreon, and get previews of upcoming posts & more! Arc Vodka has a smooth & crisp flavor with no chemicals, dyes, or additives, and none of the nasty, harsh aftertaste common with other spirits in the market. Although some manufacturers may still utilize corn. This premium vodka gives a creamy mouth feel and very subtle citrus and aniseed flavours. Crystal Head Vodka contains no additives, add ed sugar or citrus oils, which are common in many types of vodka. Distillation involves the boiling of the mixture; because ethanol boils at 78˚C, it boils off before the water does and it can therefore be concentrated. There are thousands of substances added to various foods for the purposes of coloring, flavoring, and preserving. Sustainability, novelty and a good story are also important. If you’re into that sort of thing, this Chemistry of Vodka infographic from CompoundChem might be of interest to you. ubrówka is now sold in the US, but it’s one in which the coumarin content has been removed. Get our best cocktail recipes, tips, and more when you sign up for our newsletter. Vodka Brand - One of the most common questions is which brand is the best. It’s also a common misconception that vodka is basically tasteless (or that it only tastes like paint thinner) and therefore, that all vodka is the same. One of the most well-known flavoured vodkas is Żubrówka, which is flavoured using bison grass. In fact, the most popular spirit consumed in the United States is not whiskey, but vodka. Cheaper vodkas contain higher levels of these impurities, which can negatively affect flavour perception, and lead to a vodka that’s less smooth. “One easy way to think about this is cornbread versus wheat bread versus potato; all have distinctive flavors.”, Few know these differences as intimately as people who work in vodka bars. Though the stereotypical image most people have of vodka is that it’s made from potatoes, in fact it’s much more common for it to be made from cereal grains, including corn, rye, and wheat. To be even more certain of this, many manufacturers filter the vodka through activated charcoal, which helps pull out more of any impurities still present. Only much later — probably 500 years later — was vodka made using potatoes. One suggestion is that differences in perception could be due to differences in they way ethanol and water interact in different vodkas. Interestingly, this was (and still is) banned by the FDA in the USA, as flavouring with bison grass also leads to the presence of the compound coumarin, which in much larger amounts has been shown to exhibit liver toxicity in rats. The only way to really understand the differences is to taste them for yourself. Sometimes, the choice of what to make a vodka from is twofold. Corn – Corn is the least common ingredient used to make vodka today. “However, within the same grain, there are no major differences. Yet vodka makers big and small are pushing a different narrative, one in which vodka is distinguished by its raw materials, whether that be grapes, wheat, potatoes, rice, corn or even whey. It is truly one of the cleanest … He's the food and drink editor at Matador Network. Wine, beer, vodka and alcohol allergies in general are extremely rare. Vodka can be traced back to three separate origins: Poland, Sweden, and Russia. There are four common additives used, according to TasteTequila. Vodka Highlights: Made from Potato, Rye, or Wheat Vodka (Three Different Options), Chocolate Infused Vodka About Vodka Brand : Based out of Poland, Chopin Vodka only uses raw hand-selected ingredients. Ginger beer. Vodka is commonly made by fermenting either grains or vegetables. Additives are usually only a very small component of foods but a small number of them have been suspected of causing various adverse reactions. There is a real emphasis on purity. More traditional manufacturers rely on precise control of the distillation process, however. It’s not the only compound that impacts taste either. After all, isn’t it essentially just a mix of two compounds, ethanol and water? Vodka Class of drink: Vodka, Brand: Nashi Tradicii, Volume: 100 ml, Additive: Honey. […] about science. You might be wondering why we’re talking about additives and preservatives. The final product has little other than ethanol and water present, so in theory all vodkas should be essentially identical in perception and flavour. Many modern vodkas that are highly regarded for their perceived smoothness have been augmented with trace amounts of sugar, honey, glycerine and/or citric acid. This premium vodka gives a creamy mouth feel and very subtle citrus and aniseed flavours. Fermentation of these grains using yeast produces alcohol (ethanol), but only up … Pickle brine (personal favorite). This fresh, unaged product has a lack of taste and color due to the multiple distillations and a clean improver (water). Ah, vodka. Researchers discovered that its concentration varied in different brands of vodka. The common vodka cocktail for using Mountain Dew as a vodka mixer is called a “Dewdriver”, a play on the screwdriver name. Voudoux Vodka is an authentically handmade, batch distilled, ultra premium vodka produced at BKO Distillery in beautiful Medina, Ohio USA. Corm makes a cheaper less tasty vodka. Paul Hughes, an assistant professor of distilled spirits at Oregon State University, also approached vodka from a sustainability standpoint by making vodka from whey, a byproduct of cheese production. Infused vodka has long been a standard drink in Russia and Poland, where additives tend to be herbal (dill, tarragon or coriander) or spicy (horseradish or ginger) in addition to sweet. The 12 Best Canadian Whiskies to Drink in 2020, 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know Vodka Could Be Made From, The 8 Best Coffee Liqueurs to Drink in 2020, How to Use Lacto-Fermented Ingredients in Cocktails, 5 Single-Estate Spirits That Will Totally Blow Your Mind, Everything You Need to Know About Soju, the Most Popular Spirit in the World, Beer Brewing Basics: How Your Favorite Beverage Is Made, The 12 Best Flavored Vodkas to Drink in 2020, Get to Know Makgeolli, Korea’s Ancient Rice Beverage, Everything You Need to Know About Pox, the Mexican Spirit Making Its Way to the US, This Distillery Is Making Custom Spirits for NYC's Top Bars and Restaurants. Since vodkas are allowed additives up to 2%, the maximum glycerol content would be 1.5g in 75ml, but more likely in the 1% or less range, which is the “sweet spot” for this titration method. Sometimes, the choice of what to make a vodka from is twofold. Bloody Mary. The excess wine would otherwise be turned into a rosé in the best case scenario or dumped in the all-too-common worst case scenario. First, let’s briefly summarise how vodka is made. Though the stereotypical image most people have of vodka is that it’s made from potatoes, in fact it’s much more common for it to be made from cereal grains, including corn, rye, and wheat. This can be due to a handful of reasons. In either case, vodka has been in existence at least as long as many other popular spirits like cognac or Scotch whisky. Honestly, it will make little difference on which brand is used. So vodkas are highlighting origin and ingredients. It’s something that Alex and Monica Villicana, the owners of Villicana winery and Re:Find distillery in Paso Robles, Calif., quickly learned after making vodka from wine. Red Bull. … After a long day at work or at a particularly stressful event, there are few things more refreshing than a cold vodka cocktail. Dixie Southern vodka uses corn. Fermentation of these grains using yeast produces alcohol (ethanol), but only up to around 16% – too low for vodka. Chocolate and vanilla are also popular flavors for vodka, along with cinnamon. For consumers, taste is just one factor influencing a purchasing decision. Orders are temporarily not accepted. As the number of craft distillers in the U.S. grows, brands have to find a way to stand out. See the site’s content usage guidelines. Choose a plain vodka to drink. As well as existing as individual molecules, the water and ethanol molecules can form structures called hydrates. Here we take a look at some of its chemical secrets. Do not use vodka that contains flavor additives such as raspberry or mango vodka. “If you think about your traditional grain or potato vodka, those start with a relatively low initial alcohol, like a beer,” says Villicana. 8. Flowers or herbs fill out the buffet of common additives but, for the adventurous, and those who don’t keep kosher, bacon vodka hit the shelves a few years back. A collective measure of structural differences in vodkas, Ion chromatography to detect adulteration of vodka and rum, Identification of vodkas from ion and gas chromatography, Announcing Chemunicate: Making Chemistry Research Easy to Understand, Chemistry of Vodka: why they don't taste the same - Boozist, The Chemistry of Vodka – Structure, Additives, and Impurities | Zero to Infinity. These impurities can include other alcohols, such as methanol and propanol, as well as compounds such as acetaldehyde. Manufacturing Process 1. The final step in the process is diluting it with water to bring the percentage down to around 40%. The most common response is to find the cheapest vodka brand and go with that. Or, keep it simple in a highball glass with a vodka soda or vodka tonic. Though most of these are removed during distillation and filtration, small, milligram amounts will still remain. You can opt-out at any time. When in actuality, that's most likely not the case! Estonian Vodka GI a is smooth-tasting, colourless and sediment-free. Vodka is the most popular liquor in the country, accounting for more than 30 percent of total spirits sales by volume. No additives, No gimmicks, No bulls#!t, No excuses. Most vodka aficionados believe that drinking vodka in its pure form is the proper way to enjoy this beverage. “I think some of the flavors in whey spirit we’re not quite so used to, but we had no difficulty getting something that was pretty good on the whole,” says Hughes. Ethanol. Further steps are necessary to arrive at the finished product, the key step being distillation. If necessary, the spirit may undergo additional filtration. Mostly, these are to improve the smoothness of the vodka, so they’re likely to be found in higher amounts in cheaper vodkas containing more impurities. A 2010 study from the University of Cincinnati and Moscow State University looked into the molecular composition of popular vodkas to find why people prefer some brands over others. Flavor Additives - At the end of the production process, distiller can choose to put any number of flavor additives in his drink. Each pound of cheese results in nine pounds of whey. However, if you’ve ever compared a high quality vodka with the cheapest stuff you can buy in your local supermarket, you’ll know that there’s often a slight but discernible difference. And vodka makes up about 29% of the total spirits sold around the world in … Vodka (Polish: wódka, Russian: водка, Swedish: vodka) is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage with different varieties originating in Poland, Russia and Sweden. Winter white wheat used to make Blood x Sweat x Tears vodka. The most common of these hydrate structures in vodka has around 5 water molecules to each ethanol molecule. These are cage-like structures, with a number of the water molecules surrounding an ethanol molecule. Often, it’s distilled more than once to ensure a minimal amount of impurities remain. It won’t take long to find that the most neutral spirit by definition does indeed have a distinctive character, aroma and taste. Our goal was to create the world's smoothest vodka and price that vodka around $25 per bottle. There is a real emphasis on purity. Vodka consumption and production is no longer confined to the countries of the vodka belt. Typically the goal of these additives is to soften the harshness of the liquor. 2. Sub Zero Vodka Bar, in St. Louis, has one of the largest collections in the U.S., with more than 500 labels. “With wine, you have a lot of sugar to ferment, so in the production of the initial wine, you produce a lot of this chemical called glycerol.”. Dixie Southern vodka uses corn. There’s Belvedere’s Single Estate series and Chopin’s distinctive potato, rye and wheat vodkas. That’s why it mixes well with damn near everything: Soda. So, there you have it – there’s more to vodka than just ethanol and water after all! According to some vodka enthusiasts, a good vodka will taste creamy and … Though this is pretty much the case, there’s more to vodka than you might expect. Some common favourites are the Cosmopolitan, Martini, Bloody Mary, Gimlet and White Russian. Common additives to vodka It has long been common practice to add small amounts honey to vodka to increase the vodka's viscosity or mouthfeel and take the edge off the spirit. An unaged spirit distilled and filtered repeatedly to achieve smoothness and clarity, vodka has had a reputation for blandness. It’s also widely thought of as the most boring spirit. Most popular flavors range from herbs, grasses, spices to fruit essences. All sample bottles were washed, rinsed with distilled water and then rinsed again with a corresponding sample of vodka to avoid contamination. Many people experience negative symptoms when drinking alcohol, only to come to the conclusion that they must be allergic. Enjoyed this post & graphic? Nickolaus Hines is an award-winning writer based in New York City covering food, drink, travel and cannabis. Pour 125ml tomato juice, 50ml vodka, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 25ml sweet sherry into the shaker then add ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of hot sauce and a pinch each of … It’s present in fermented grains and potatoes as well, but the amount of glycerol depends on the amount of sugar in the initial product.