What are some must try flavored vodka

Vodka production - a look behind the scenes

Sep 19, 2015 editorial

Vodka is not just vodka :-) Time and again we emphasize that the diversity is what makes our favorite spirit so special. This may surprise many, as they can hardly distinguish the taste of the different brands from one another as long as it is unflavoured vodka. If you think about it a little longer, you start to wonder what actually turns vodka into vodka? We have already written about the legal framework in the EU. Here now follows a somewhat differentiated look at the background of the production.

"Isn't vodka made from potatoes?"

Vodka can be made from potatoes. In fact, most vodka is made from wheat (tends to be more Russia) or rye (tends to be more Poland). But there is also vodka made from sugar beet, grape or quinoa, etc. How is such a variety possible? The EU spirits regulation, which emerged from the vodka dispute, gives manufacturers a lot of leeway. It must be said that from a global perspective (USA, Asia, etc.) there are even more relaxed guidelines for the production of vodka. In summary, vodka as a food is very vaguely defined, which can be a problem and an opportunity at the same time. The only central point for the EU is that vodka is a mixture of "ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin" (min. 96% vol.) And water with a total minimum alcohol content of 37.5%. Most of the time, good quality vodka has 40%, but there are also variants with a higher alcohol content. We know from our own experience that anything over 40% alcohol should be consumed with particular caution.

"Vodka always tastes the same."

So if you want to make vodka in a simple way, you can order distilled alcohol from a large industrial producer, pour water on it and fill it into a bottle. Very easy, right? Of course, the picture that the market ultimately presents is more complex. To stand out from the crowd, you need a flavor carrier and a certain degree of refinement. Either alcohol or water can initially be used as flavor carriers. Since it is expensive and time-consuming to produce alcohol in the quality and quantity required for vodka production, most manufacturers prefer to differentiate the taste by using special water (from the “deepest lake”, water from artesian springs, glacier water, etc.). Sometimes the purchased alcohol is refined by the producer, for example through the use of “copper stills” or manipulated by adding further ingredients and redistillation. So it makes a difference whether vodka is made “from” or “with” a certain ingredient. Another possibility is to influence the taste by adding bison grass, aromas or similar flavor carriers. Unfortunately, manufacturers are reluctant to look into their cards in this regard, which is why price differences do not necessarily mean that the end product is actually qualitatively better or worse. Your own preference is also important here: some prefer the mildest possible vodka, others with character and a lot of taste.

"Vodka isn't as sophisticated as whiskey or gin."

Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for. We can only encourage people to look more closely at the subject of vodka. Because in the variety of offers lies the special charm and potential of vodka. If you are looking for your own taste and special art in production in relation to the design of the taste profile, you should try Freimut, Xellent or Farthofer O-Vodka. If you are looking for a very mild and tasteless vodka, you should consider Gray Goose or Beluga. And if you need a vodka for cocktails, you can go for the extremely neutral Smirnoff, Level or Imperial Gold.

Note: We would like to thank Florian Renschin, the manufacturer of Freimut Vodka, for some information on the production process. Since 2014 he has been proving with his own product that vodka can be more than just alcohol for mixed drinks.