1 There’s a vodka belt
The vodka belt comprises the Nordic countries (minus Denmark), the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Russia, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia. Vodka is a huge part of local culture in these northern countries. It is too cold for grapes, so their vodka is mainly distilled from grain or potatoes.
2 Fewer toxins = Less hangover
Darker drinks such as red wine, whisky or aged rum contain higher levels of toxins, the by-products of fermentation, than white wine or white spirits. Our bodies struggle to process these toxins, also known as congeners, which will worsen your hangover. For example, bourbon has 37 times more chemicals than vodka.
3 Vodka can be made from various ingredients
Vodka can be made from potatoes, barley, rye, corn, whey, grapes… These all contribute to the flavour of the spirit (yes, there is flavour in vodka!).
4 Vodka IS gluten-free
Vodka is gluten-free, even when it is made from wheat, barley or rye. The distillation strips away the harmful gluten proteins, causing it to become free from gluten. When gluten-based ingredients have been used in the production, these bottlings are not allowed to be labelled as gluten-free, even if there is no gluten protein left in them.
5 Vodka is lighter than water
The density of water is 1.00g/ml and ethanol 0.79g/ml. So, one litre of water weighs 1000 grams and one litre of vodka around 950 grams as the vodka will have some water added to it before bottling.
6 The US definition of vodka sucks
The US definition for vodka describes it as ‘a spirit without distinctive character, taste, aroma or colour’. It basically says vodka has no flavour, which is not accurate at all. The EU, on the other hand, defines vodka as ‘a spirit drink produced from either potatoes and/or cereals, or other agricultural raw materials’, and it also describes how various methods can be used ‘to give it special organoleptic* characteristics’.
* The aspects of food or other substances as experienced by the senses, including taste, sight and smell.
7 Filtering is not necessary and doesn’t guarantee quality
The point of filtration is to remove unwanted impurities and to help produce a pure and clean spirit. However, distillation will already do most of this, therefore filtration after distillation is not necessary.
So, when a brand says their vodka is three times distilled and twice filtered, it doesn’t mean the product is any better than a vodka which is not filtered. In fact, if the spirit is treated too many times it will take a lot of the real character away, and the final spirit may be bland and flavourless. Sometimes, several distillations and filtrations can be used to disguise low-quality base ingredients by stripping out all the bad flavours!
8 Vodka is served cold on purpose
Chilling vodka will add texture and make the spirit smoother. Vodka-drinking countries tend to serve vodka with food, and when vodka is served chilled it will help to cleanse your palate.
9 Vodka has an expiry date
Well, in theory, vodka will last pretty much forever if unopened and stored away from light, but once opened, it is recommended to be consumed within 12 months. After opening, the alcohol starts to evaporate, and when the proof percentage starts to drop it will affect the quality of the spirit. If you think the spirit is starting to smell funny or the colour of the liquid is different, I recommend you don’t drink it anymore.
10 Gin is vodka
Did you know gin is basically flavoured vodka? It is not easy to make a great vodka – you have nowhere to hide when it comes to the flavour. If a distillery is producing a tasty and smooth vodka it is likely they will also create a flavoursome gin.
Any other interesting vodka snippets I may have missed?