vodkaVodka is the easiest spirit to discuss stylistically. As defined by law
in the United States, vodka must be a pure spirit with no additives
except water, non-aged, and basically tasteless and odorless.
Generally, vodka is made from grain or potatoes, with grain
accounting for well over 90 percent of the production on the
international market. Vodka is a rectified spirit, which means it is
distilled at least three times, a fact that some brands like to remind
us of in their advertisements. The final and very important step in
vodka production is filtering through charcoal, though some brands
claim to use diamond dust, glacial sand, or even quartz crystals.
The stylistic differences between vodka brands are subtle, since
strong flavor is not a consideration. The first and most obvious
difference is between grain and potato vodkas. The most distinctive
of all the vodkas I tasted in either category was Luksusowa, a
potato vodka from Poland that actually has pronounced flavor. I
would definitely recommend it to vodka drinkers, but not in a
Martini; it should be taken chilled and straight as a sipping vodka.
Other potato vodkas readily available in the United States, such as
Chopin and Teton (both made with potatoes) and Peconika (made
with a potato and grain mix), are almost indistinguishable from
regular grain-based vodka. Remember, this spirit is distilled to 190
proof—almost pure alcohol—and then filtered. The impurities that
give lower-proof spirits their characteristic flavor, called congeners,
are almost completely distilled out of vodka.

The second stylistic difference in vodka is its texture on the tongue,
or mouth feel. I find that two of the very popular imported vodkas
represent the two prominent styles: Absolut has an oily, almost
viscous texture that is often described as silky with a sweet finish;
and Stolichnaya has a clean, almost watery texture and a slight
medicinal finish. Along with the texture, the Absolut-style vodkas
have a hint of sweetness in the aftertaste that is missing in the
Stolichnaya. That hint of sweetness and the oily texture are due in
part to glycerin, a by-product of distillation present in trace
amounts in all spirits. Scandinavian countries tend to produce
vodka in the silky style with the hint of sweet in the finish; Russian
and Eastern European countries produce vodkas with the clean,
almost dry medicinal finish.
The third stylistic difference is heat. I find that vodkas are either
hot, rough, and raw, or smooth, round, and finished. Most are 40
percent alcohol, but some reveal their proof on the tongue more
aggressively than others. Usually, less expensive bulk vodka will
aggressively than others. Usually, less expensive bulk vodka will
burn in the mouth and throat, while vodka made by a master
distiller feels smooth and round. The premium and super-premium
brands are a good choice for the Martini or a straight shot of vodka
to accompany caviar or other hors d’oeuvres.


Value Vodka Brands :

* Smirnoff, United States, 80 proof
* Olifant, Holland, 80 proof
* Wyborowa, Poland, 80 proof
* Luksusowa, Poland, 80 proof (potato)
Premium Vodka Brands :
* Absolut, Sweden, 80 proof
* Finlandia, Finland, 80 proof
* Skyy, United States, 80 proof
* Peconika, United States, 80 proof (potato/grain)
* Teton, United States, 80 proof (potato)
* Tanqueray Sterling (Diageo‘s brand), England, 80 proof
* Boru, Ireland, 80 proof
* Stolichnaya, Russia, 80 proof
* Frïs, Denmark, 80 proof
Super-Premium Vodka Brands :
* Belvedere, Polish, 80 proof
* Chopin, Polish, 80 proof (potato)
* Grey Goose, France, 80 proof
* Rain, United States, 80 proof
* Cristall, Russia, 80 proof
* Mor, Estonia, 80 proof (potato)

flavoured vodkaFLAVORED VODKA :
Although flavored vodkas are relatively new to Americans, the
Russians have been flavoring their vodkas for hundreds of years. So
do you need flavored vodka at your home bar? Sure. If you want to
make a great Cosmopolitan, then you need citrus vodka. How about
whipping up a fabulous Espresso Cocktail with Stolichnaya Vanil,
Kahlúa, cold espresso, and cream? Choose your favorite flavor and
have some fun with it.

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History of Vodka