Vodka is the only spirit that can be made from any agricultural product containing starch or sugar and majority of the brands don’t retain the flavours of the raw material used…interesting isn’t it? Colourless, odorless and tasteless were the three words that briefly described Vodka. Because of this neutral character it can easily take on the flavour of the ingredient mixed with it, resulting in an ideal base in mixed drinks & cocktails.
A bit on it’s history. Vodka originated from Eastern Europe and it means little water in Russian. The argument still continues over who were the creators of Vodka, Russia or Poland? Never the less today, the highest consumers of Vodka are the Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. Today Vodka is produced & drunk globally.
Most fine vodkas produced in the West are neutral in character and to achieve that, the vodka undergoes numerous distillation and finally finishes off with rectification, meaning the spirit is then filtered, often with charcoal to remove any undesired flavors, esters, oils etc. resulting in a clean, smooth and neutral spirit ready to be drunk neat in shots (the traditional way) or as a base in a cocktails. The Europeans create their vodkas with the intention of retaining certain flavour & personality of the raw material used. According to them good vodkas should be flavourful, aromatic and have a soft mouth feel which is derived from the quality of the ingredients it has been distilled from. Few premium European Vodkas are made from the finest grapes, making it sort of “un-aged brandy”.
Unlike the aged spirits that brag about the ancient pot still process used, the extended years of maturation and numerous flavor profiles of the spirit; Vodka has very less to talk about. Creative marketers have come with various strategies of differentiating and marketing their brand, ranging from filtration through diamonds to placing a scorpion in the bottle.
Article by: Rohan Carvalho