Whether you mix, sip, or gulp it straight down in an ice-cold shot, the Vodka is a legendary spirit. In most clubs and cocktails, there are only but a few staples that are needed behind the bar, Vodka is the chief of the few. If you’re trying for new drink ideas for nightclubs or cocktail party, this spirit would be where to start. Some people share the notion that this spirit is tasteless and has the taste you won’t like to encounter again. Although this can’t be far from the truth, however, in recent times, there has been a wide variety of vodkas specially formulated to suit the different palate and even dietary requirements.
WHAT IS VODKA?
Vodka is basically a neutral spirit, which is devoid of any distinct characteristics such as odor, taste, or color. Its basic constituents include water and ethanol, and sometimes there are traces of impurities and flavorings in the spirit. Quite similar to whiskey, vodka is made by distilling the liquid from cereal grains, fruits, sugar, or potatoes that have been fermented.
HISTORY OF VODKA
Vodka has grown from an unknown Russian drink to the most widely used cocktail drink. Although the history of vodka is not so lucid, however, its origin has been widely attributed to a grain growing around a region that we know today as Poland, Western Russia, and Ukraine. The word ‘vodka’ has its pedigree from the Russian word ‘voda,’ which translates to water. The first record of vodka was around the 9th Century. The first known distillery was in the 11th Century, in Khylnovsk, Russia.
The early process of distillation of vodka makes use of crude implements. Due to the near crude technology applied in its production, many impurities stay behind the finished spirit, giving it an unpleasant and unwanted taste. To mask this abnormally, the early distillers introduced flavors to the vodka, notable among them being mint, absinthe, anisette, juniper, pepper, and peppermint.
Many of the master distillers fled from the country following the Bolshevik Revolution, which placed a ban on all private distilleries in Russia. Vladimir Smirnov, one of the renowned distillers, fled to France, where he set up his distillery. There, he acquiesced with an American businessman and created the Smirnoff (the French version of his family name) brand. Vodka was publicized as a ‘white whiskey’ that left you ‘breathless.’ The 1950s and 60s saw the colossal rise of vodka. The vodka revolution, which could be credited to the spirit being odorless and tasteless, made it a perfect component in cocktails. In no distant time, Vodka surpassed Bourbon (American whiskey) as the largest selling hard liquor.
In contemporary vodka production, the use of fermented whole grains like sorghum, or wheat, corn, rice, rye, potatoes, fruits, or even just sugar, is the ideal.
The production of vodka centers on the fermentation of any foodstuff that contains sugar or starch. The fermentation process involves adding sugar to yeast, which results in more alcohol been produced. The product is distilled, and its alcohol rate increases as well.
The fermentation process results in a product with only about 16 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), which is considered too low for spirits. To increase the ABV, distillation is the key to upping this number. The disparity in the boiling points of both alcohol and water plays a huge role here. As alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, the distiller collect’s the evaporated alcohol, separating it from the water. Most vodka has an ABV rating of 40. Some brands like the American brand Everclear goes for up to 95 to 96 percent ABV.
THE HEALTH BENEFIT OF VODKA
- It relieves stress
- Serves as a natural disinfectant and antiseptic
- Reduces the risk of arthritis and diabetes
- It soothes toothaches
- Used as a skincare product
- It increases blood flow and circulation
There are a lot of vodkas to pick from, making selecting the best brand to seem much like a colossal task. Each of these brands promises to offer a great drink experience, with a refreshing taste and stylish bottles. To help you narrow down your choices, these are our top picks based on age-long dealings with diverse brands.
Absolut vodka has its origin from the small town of Ahus in southern Sweden since 1879. The wheat and water are both sourced from there. Its bottle, which has given it some unique distinctions, was fashioned after an old Swedish medicine bottle. The spirit is distilled hundreds of times until all of the impurities are removed.
Chili pepper flavored vodka was the first flavor of the Absolut Vodka. Other common flavors now in use include raspberry, citrus, mandarin, peach, pear, currant, vanilla, and grapefruit have also joined the ranks.
In 1691, Joannes Nolet established a distillery in Holland. After many generations, the family is still in the business of vodka production.
It is distilled in small batches from wheat. After distillation, it is then filtered through loose charcoal. The Citroen and Oranje are the flavors produced by Ketel One.
Skyy vodka is a product of Skyy Spirits in California. Bottled with a cobalt blue bottle, which is also its renowned distinct feature. This vodka is made to have lower levels of impurities.
Skyy vodka flavors include spiced, vanilla, and berry. The Skyy Infusions include citrus, cherry, passion fruit, raspberry, and grape.
Smirnoff Vodka is one of the most popular brands, and one of the best selling vodka in the world. It began in Russia by the son of illiterate peasants in the 1860s.
The flavor line-up includes a variety of fruit flavors such as Green Apple Twist, Vanilla Twist, Melon Twist, Passion Fruit Twist, Blueberry Twist, and White Grape Twist.
Named after the presidential palace in Poland and has a picture of the palace on the bottle. The Dankowskie rye and purified well water are the ingredients in this vodka.
Belvedere flavored vodkas are made using mostly natural fruit. The flavors comprise of much to be desired pink grapefruit, orange, black raspberry, and citrus. Also, they produce Belvedere IX, which is a combination of guarana, ginger, ginseng, jasmine, cinnamon leaf, sweet almond, eucalyptus, black cherry, and acai juice.
Chopin is a Polish potato vodka that boasts seven pounds of potatoes in every bottle. It is named after the composer, Frederic Chopin, and was introduced in Poland in 1993 and later in the United States in 1997.
Made from potatoes, Chopin is distilled four times. It is also distilled in small batches, and each batch is tasted for quality. If any defect is found in a batch, the whole thing is thrown out.
Commonly known as “Stoli” or “Stolis,” this is one of the most popular Russian vodkas. It offers a variety of flavors and delivers a smooth taste for the price.
Stoli Bluberi is the newest addition to the Stoli flavors. Other flavors include citrus, orange, cranberry, vanilla, raspberry, and strawberry.
Many brands of vodka are available, each offering close but unique taste and alcohol rating. Although the above listed are all top of the class, I always believe that wines and spirits are very personal. The best spirit is always the one you enjoy the most!