Spirits are made from four main ingredients:
1. Base Ingredient — A sugary or starchy base
ingredient, whose sugars can be fermented, as in
the process of making beer or wine.
2. Yeast — A single-celled organism that converts the
sugar from starchy or sweet base
ingredients into alcohol.
3. Water — As with brewing, local water is frequently a
key factor in the quality and style of the
spirit, especially for grain-based spirits such as
whisk(e)y and vodka.
4. Flavorings — Some spirits owe their character to the
addition of distinctive flavoring
ingredients. These can include herbs, spices, honey,
fruits, and vegetables. The sky’s the
Vodka originated in the Nordic countries and Russia in the 14th
century. The name vodka is derived from the Polish phrase, meaning
the “water of life.”
Traditionally vodka was made from the cheapest and most plentiful
starch available locally — originally potatoes in Russia and Poland.
Most commercial vodkas today are based on grains such as barley,
rye or wheat (potato vodka remains as a specialty style).
Most vodkas are distilled repeatedly in a continuous still to achieve the
clean, neutral taste that makes them such popular mixers. To further
enhance the flavor purity, many vodkas are refined by charcoal
filtration, leaving only the slight scent and flavor. Flavoring essences
such as fruits and spices may be added at this point to make them
Although there are no official classifications, many vodkas tout the
quality of the grain or water source used, and their purity owed to
multiple distillations and painstaking filtration.
Vodka is almost always bottled without aging.
The ultimate mixer, vodka plays a starring role in many classic
cocktails including the Martini, the Screwdriver, the Cosmopolitan and
the Bloody Mary.
To properly mix a Bloody Mary, “roll it” before you garnish: build the
ingredients with ice in your mixing or serving glass, then pour the
entire mixture into the metal half of your mixing tin, then back into the
glass. This distributes the vodka and seasonings, for a better-tasting
drink. (But, don’t shake — shaking tomato juice creates an
FLAVOURS OF VODKA:
Some popular vodka flavors: Apple * Berries (currant, raspberry) *
Citrus (lemon, lime, orange) * Peach * Pepper * Vanilla,
Wine Flavoured Vodkas – Italian made – DUE means two in Italian –
Grain and Grape
Made FromMade From ComesComes
Classification /Classification /
Grain — mostly
are also traditional
but uncommon. By
brands add back
Poland and other
parts of eastern
produced in most
promote the number
of distillations as an
indication of purity.
Cape Cod or
Sex on the
How to taste vodka.
"You have nothing to lose but your ice!"
Preparation To begin with, vodka should be frozen. Specifically, it should be stored
in the freezer overnight, or at least for a few hours. This will bring the liquor to its
proper consistency and flavor.
"On the rocks"? NO. Alcohol is nature's anti-freeze. Pour vodka over rocks and the
Drinking. Vodka has become so popular because many consider it the "perfectly
neutral" base for mixed drinks. Get yourself a nice 2-3 oz., clear glass. Pop in in the
freezer for an hour. Then pour in a healthy shot of your frozen vodka. Let the
vodka warm up just very slightly, holding the glass in your hand. This will take just a
bit of the freeze off it. If vodka is too cold, it will freeze your taste buds and you will
not get an adequate tasting. If it is too warm, the flavor mix becomes too complex.
Tasting. There are three senses involved in a tasting of vodka: smell, sight and
First taste by sipping, letting the vodka rest on your palate while exhaling through
your nose. Then swallow and take note of the aftertaste.
Second, after cleaning your mouth (lukewarm water is the best), try downing the rest
of the shot you poured (or pour another shot) "straight down," without letting it linger
on your palate this time. Compare these two experiences and the aftertaste.
Third, taste the vodka with some food, especially breads, potato dishes, salty dishes
and fish. This will help round out your sensations and impressions of the vodka.
Appearance. Packaging and presentation are also important criteria. Does the
bottle have a cork or a twist-off cap? How well does the cap seal the bottle? Does the
packaging match up with the impression the company is trying to convey of the
brand? Does it give a "premium" feel? Is it stylish and attractive? Is it glass (don't
even get us started on plastic bottles!)? Don't think this is all that important? Think