What is Vodka?
In short, Vodka is a clear distilled alcoholic beverage mainly composed of water and ethanol. Some vodka can contain traces of impurities and flavorings.
Vodka is traditionally made by distilling liquid from fermented cereal grains and potatoes. Brands that are more modern may use corn, sugar cane, fruits, honey and maple sap as the base instead!
In Europe, the minimum alcohol content for a vodka to be considered as a vodka is 37.5% Alcohol By Volume (ABV). In the US however, vodkas must have a minimum alcohol content of 40%. In general, standard vodkas have been at least 40% ABV.
By Stacey Clarke
Why are vodkas so popular?
Vodka is one of the top selling spirits in the world and for good reason, it is an incredibly cheap spirit and has a taste that is non-intrusive which makes it great for mixing with sodas and for use in cocktails to add an alcoholic punch!
Its versatility makes it a go-to drink during parties where it is usually mixed with drinks like Coke, Sprite, Green Tea, etc. Many parties are organized and attended by youths, which have lower purchasing power, making a cheap spirit like vodka the perfect choice with its low price point.
Vodka is also a spirit that is timeless with little to no taste, great for those that are looking to consume alcohol without much of the taste.
How is vodka made?
A vodka is made by combining water and ethanol from the fermentation of any starch or sugar rich plant matter. Fermentation basically means feeding sugar to yeast to allow the yeast to produce alcohol.
Vodka today is mostly produced from fermented grains like corn, rye, sorghum or wheat. Many vodkas also use other base ingredients (like potatoes and fruits).
After the fermentation, the byproduct usually stands at about 16% ABV which is too low for spirits. To increase the ABV, distillation is used. Distillation is the process of heating the fermented product in a container called a still. Since alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, the evaporated alcohol is collected and separated from the water.
Vodka is usually distilled multiple times until the desired alcohol content is present. This is tested by lighting the vodka on fire, if it doesn't light up, it means that they alcohol content is too weak and have to be distilled again.
Once distillation is completed, the vodka is cooled and returned to its liquid state. The finished vodka has an alcohol content of approximately 40% ABV.
Different Types of Vodka
Traditional vodka is basically a near tasteless alcohol, the smoother and less taste it has, the better its quality.
In recent times, flavored vodkas have rapidly gained popularity. These are made by infusing pure vodka with fruits, spices or extracts.
Fruit vodka is another type of vodka, made by fermenting a type of fruit and then distilling it. This is different from flavored vodka which is done by infusing the spirit with flavor.
Grain vodka are made from different types of grains like corn and wheat. This type of vodka tastes different from regular vodka, with a earthier or nuttier taste.
How to drink vodka
Vodka can be taken straight since it tastes fairly neutral with a full-bodied mouthfeel, its commonly taken as shots at room temperature. High quality vodkas can also be enjoyed as a sipper.
A more popular way of enjoying vodka is having it mixed into a cocktail. Vodka is incredibly versatile and can pair well with almost any ingredient. These are some of the more popular vodka cocktails:
- The Cosmopolitan
- Moscow Mule
- Vodka Martini
- The Lemon Drop
- Vodka Cranberry
Another interesting way that vodka can be drank is by infusing it with various flavors. Although there are flavored vodkas, you can make your own unique infused vodka drinks. One such drink is made by infusing gummy bears into a glass jar of vodka, seal the glass and let it infuse for several hours and you can enjoy your very own sweet treat!
— Most popular Vodka brands
There are hundreds of different vodka in the market. Here are the two most popular ones in Singapore: Absolut vodka & Grey Goose.
Aside from these brands there are many popular vodka from the US, Russia, Poland, France & Netherlands.
Absolut vodka is a brand from Sweden that was first launched in 1979. The clean and natural taste is well loved internationally, catapulting Absolut into one of the most sold vodka in the world!