Top Rated Vodka Brands
- Grey Goose
Everyone who has had vodka knows what it’s like. It’s a fairly unforgettable beverage. You can enjoy vodka even more if you understand what it is, and where it comes from. If you understand certain attributes about each vodka you have, you’ll be able to pick them out from drink to drink and be on your way to becoming a true vodka connoisseur.
Nothing is more vitally important to vodka production than the “still”. A still is a large mechanism, usually copper, that is designed to boil and vaporize liquids in order to purify a certain chemical. In the case of alcoholic beverages, the still purifies a magical little chemical known as ethyl alcohol. Usually the same liquid is run through a still multiple times. With every round through the still, the alcohol content increases.
Advances in still technology – and several bright revelations by those longing for a more potent drink – brought us the techniques we use for modern alcohol production. Throughout the 1800’s, there was a sort of slow-paced race between brewers to see who could reach the highest level of alcohol content. Though their wives might not have been too enthusiastic, the brewers were overjoyed as the maximum alcohol content soared from 14% to 60%, 80%, 90%, and ultimately nearly-pure ethyl alcohol.
As you can probably imagine, the beverages got more and more undrinkable as the alcohol content went up. So the brewers were faced with a new challenge – making drinks that are actually somewhat pleasant to drink, but still have a fairly high alcohol content. Their efforts resulted in vodka, rum, whisky, tequila, gin, and many other drinks that we enjoy today.
The filtration of the vodka is of utmost importance in making vodka drinkable, since it removes ingredients that may add an unpleasant flavor to the drink, or even become harmful in large amounts. Vodka is usually filtered through charcoal to remove things like methanol, which forms during the fermentation. It can be toxic if a lot is ingested. Filtration also takes care of other things that would give the vodka a distinct taste, color, or smell. This is very important since it is regulated under the laws of many countries.
Distillation techniques vary from brewery to brewery, but charcoal is by far the most popular technique. The alcohol is first diluted, and then filtered through charcoal. The charcoal removes lots of unnecessary chemicals that would otherwise make the drink taste unpleasant. Early in the history of vodka, distillers would use honey, spices, and even fruit to improve the taste. Nowadays this is less likely. Distillers will aim to create pure, flavorless vodka, then add flavor in later if necessary.
If you get vodka from different distilleries, you should find out about their production before you try them. Were they made from grapes, grain, or something else? What sort of distillation techniques were used? If you find these things out, you can judge for yourself how the affect the taste and the quality of the vodka.
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