The travels of Vodka have come a long way since the Middle Ages. Like us human beings, the drink evolved a lot in its ingredients-based cultural consumption techniques and many such things. But you can only understand the changes if you know the basics of it. What is Vodka made from thus remains a crucial question in such a scenario.
What you need to know about the drink
But, before going to that, let’s understand, what is the real stir about Vodka? No doubt, it’s a medieval drink, has a heritage of its own, but what is it? The drink is usually an indispensable part of any cocktails out there. So, whenever we hit the bar, the encounter with a pint of Vodka is unsurpassable. But, have you ever taken any particular interest in it? Let’s give this old buddy of ours a little attention.
United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has come up with a dictionary type definition of Vodka whereby it states that this drink is primarily a white or neutral spirit that is distilled or may be subject to treatment after distillation. Charcoal can help in this process. The companies should do this so that it would not contain any distinctive aroma, character or taste even color. We can very well say this is our own spirited or alcoholic water enticing us with its versatility.
It is ethanol mixed water until the thing reaches this 80 percent mark. However, you can also get flavored vodkas. But the procedures for making them are much different.
After this brief introduction, we can now enter the arena where we will know about how and what is Vodka made from
How do the companies make Vodka?
Fermentation followed by distillation, then followed by dilution, and finally, filtration is the four stages of making Vodka. At first, you create a mash, Then leave it for fermentation. It will eventually form ethanol. Collect that raw spirit and distill it to enable its purification. Thereby you can filter any undesirable elements from the Vodka that you want to prepare. It also actually removes the additional water, increasing the alcohol by volume percentage in Vodka.
Many of the existing brands believe that the most high-quality of this drink comes from multiple distillations. Absolut Ellix involves a two-time distillation procedure. So it varies from brand to brand.
Rectified spirits usually are some vodkas which have high alcohol quantity and hence several states have banned it.
If the water quality isn’t very much impressive, then you might have to undergo another round of distillation procedures before your Vodka is ready to travel the world.
After you finish everything, bottle this drink and ship it to the world.
What is Vodka made from?
This is how several brands make the Vodka that they desire. But what are the main ingredients necessary for this? What is this drink made from? Let’s have a look at that now.
Well, there are several types of vodkas. It is primarily a widespread misconception that all vodkas, or at least most of them, have potato as its indispensable constituent. But, that is not the case. What the drink is made from doesn’t always have a linear answer, so to say!
High starch content
Usually, it would help if you used something which has high starch content. Then you will have to ferment that with yeast. However, the most usual plant matters include corn, rye, wheat, potato. Brands such as Tito, Ketel One, Luksusowa, and Belvedere often use the mash of these products.
Which yeast strain will you use will vary from the result you want? Each brand has its own specific yeast strain, which then converts sugar molecules into alcohol. These strains are generally the top secrets of each brand.
The main thing is to create the alcohol. Once you have done that, the rest is easy. You distill that raw spirit, then dilute and filter it to turn it into this drink.
What is indispensable in manufacturing vodka is water. Etymologically Vodka has derived its name from “voda,” a Slavic word (old usage) that means little water. The alcohol by volume percentage varies from country to country. In the United States, it is 40 percent, while in European Union, it is 37.5 percent. Interestingly, Balkan 176 and Devils Spring has a high ABV percentage as high as 88 percent. Hence, the customers need to dilute before consuming.
Vodka made from grapes
Vodkas which are made from grapes, usually tend to retain some of the berry essences. Ciroc and Idol, two prominent vodka brands from France, basically use grapes to make their Vodka. Idol uses Pinot Nair along with Chardonnay grapes. Ciroc also uses frosted grapes.
However, there is a debate whether Vodka made from grapes is as pure in taste as it should be. But who cares what the purists tend to argue if you have your grape vodka with Chambord and drink that in delight in your martini glass.
What alcohol is made from potatoes
Nowadays, potatoes constitute a tiny part of vodka production, but there used to be a time when it was a primary element in the same. Before the great Irish potato famine, Poland’s potato was extensively used as an alternative constituent element. It used to be way cheaper than wheat as a raw material for distillation, and its first use dates back to the 1790s.
The potatoes used in manufacturing this drink should be significant and high in starch content. But brands such as Karlssons also use small varieties. Like its grape counterpart, potato vodkas have also undertaken the brunt of the argument of the vodka purists. But, again, that doesn’t matter as long as you get your desired delight inside our mouth.
Vodka is widely popular in Russian. According to one estimate, a man in Russia nearly consumes one-eighty bottles per year, which means he has one bottle of Vodka every two consecutive days. The drink is surprisingly cheap in Russia, giving rise to its immense popularity. As far as its history is concerned, Czar Alexander III hired the famous chemist Dmitri Mendeleev to improve the quality. The state monopoly began in vodka trades and manufactures because it was so maddeningly popular that almost one-third of the Russian male-bodied population was indebted to local manufacturers in mid-seventeenth century Russia.
Vodka drinking is very well a part of the Russian cultural custom. One of the most popular and entertaining party tricks is balancing a vodka glass on someone’s chin. Stolichnaya vodka is one of the most famous in Russia. Both Polish people and Russian people contest over the origin of their Vodka. However, vodkas of both regions are close to the heart.
Grain vodkas made in Russia include Smirnoff Black, Stolichnaya, Moskovskaya. The last one of the lot has sodium bicarbonate. Sugar content is a bit higher in Stolichnaya. Some of the flavors popular in Russia regarding Vodka are honey, pepper, citrus banana, orange cherry beet, cinnamon, pear leaves, coffee, cloves, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, etc. Usually, these flavors are added post-distillation.
Due to state monopoly or undertaking, Rosspirtprom is one of the essential state-run companies, and it controls nearly forty percent of the total manufacturing in Russia. However, Kristall has the top rank having at least 70 brands or even more than their manufacturing list.
If we move away from Russia and Poland, there are also great contenders in making the drink.
What is Absolut Vodka made from
Now, one of the most popular and ancient brands in the USA is Absolut Vodka. What is Absolut made from?
1979 was the year when the USA, instead of New York, launched Absolut Vodka. The recipe for this famous brand is around thirty years older. A Stockholm antique store had this recipe in a medicine flask that dates back to the 18th century.
It has a specialty that it has nothing other than natural ingredients. Also, no added sugar is used here. In 1879, its founder Lars Olsson Smith, introduced this Vodka which was distilled multiple times, giving its unique taste (ironically, that itself is ensured by its tastelessness).
Water, along with winter wheat, are the essential ingredients of Absolut vodka. The water is mostly very much pure. This is because the primary water source is a deep well situated in Ahus, and hence it is free from several impurities.
Winter wheat is produced differently than most other crops. It usually takes a year. You sow it in one fall and harvest it in the following one. Thus, for this, it has a hard texture in its grains. Fertilizer usage is also minimal, giving Absolut Vodka the flavor famous in the world.
What is Tito’s Vodka made from
Tito’s Vodka is way more recent than the Absolut vodka. Bert Tito Beveridge launched this in 1995. He got the very first permit legally to start distilling in Texas. They created the famous Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Interestingly, Tito, born in Austin, Texas, was a student of water geology in the USA. He was never really a vodka guy. But, circumstantially, he took high interest and mastered the titbits of vodka production. Tito took this to a whole new level and almost can be credited with revolutionizing the Vodka making business. He founded his own company and brand.
After substantial hard work, the company took its present stature. The time for that spanned eight long years.
Tito’s Vodka is typically gluten-free. Usually, wheat is the primary ingredient here. But, often, corn mash is a unique feature of Tito’s vodka drinks. The new guidelines suggest that alcohols produced from anything other than wheat are gluten-free.
Tito’s Vodka is famous for its rich smoothness. Tito aimed to make it so smooth that his customers would always love sipping on it, especially women.
This brand of Tito Beveridge is known to popularly use a pot still ways to manufacture single malt of scotches and French cognacs, which are high end. This same method is applied to make Tito’s Vodka which involves a hundred percent corn mash.
Types of Vodkas
So, don’t you think we have had enough of the question about what Vodka is made from? Let’s take a look into different types of Vodka that exist all over the world. Otherwise, what is Vodka made from will not have an answer which is ultimately fulfilling.
Well, the types of vodkas, while on the one hand vary widely from brand to brand, but on the other, it doesn’t cover a vast spectrum.
There usually are three basic types depending upon their primary constituent. Vodka has different flavors, including types of fruit vodkas and plain vodkas.
Traditionally, straight vodkas have a 95% alcohol share. It has no such taste. But you can very well enjoy the smoothness of a distilled and purified spirit. That’s the thrill of having plain Vodka.
The infusion process is a part of fruit vodkas. The production time takes a bit longer hours when it involves such procedures.
Flavored vodkas aren’t new. Even cigarettes have flavors nowadays, with nothing but smoke, so why exclude vodkas? Also, flavored vodkas have massive popularity in the market.
Brands of Vodka
Some of the best-selling brands of this drink include:
- Grey goose
- Ketel One
So, now you have this massive list of brands, know how people produce vodka, its spatial differences, and its rich histories. Next time you drop your body in a bar and soothingly sip into a cocktail having a vodka mix, let that be an educated sip. Say cheers to the drink that you know a great deal about!