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Defining Vodka

Vodka stands out among liquors as the leader without any serious rival. It outsells all other categories many times over. The strange thing about Vodka, however, is that of all the liquor categories, it is probably the least defined in terms of its production procedures and requirements.

Whiskey, for example, is subdivided into many sub-genres such as Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Canadian, and so forth. Each of these has its own requirements for the percentage of the wash that must be made with corn, barley, or other feedstocks. In the case of Scotch, particular types of peat moss must be used to smoke the malt. Bourbon has to be aged for at least three years. And this is just the beginning for the Whiskey category.

Similar wild rules exist for other categories of Spirits such as Gin, Tequila, Rum, and Brandy – but not for vodka.

Vodka is made from many feedstocks including Potatoes, Corn, Sorghum, Rye and Wheat. I’m just waiting for someone to make Carrot Vodka. Don’t laugh, it will happen.

The reason is quite simple, of course. Vodka is such a pure form of ethanol and water that it doesn’t really need a lot of definition other than the requirement that it not taste or smell like anything in particular. Watered down ethanol is probably the best description one can come up with for Vodka – good vodka that is.

All this begs the question. Is Vodka the undisputed king of Liquors because it is undefined? Or is it undefined because it is produced by so many different types of distilleries using so many different feedstocks, and distilled in so many different ways.

That’s a rhetorical question of course; however it may lend some credence to the cliché that variety is the spice of life!

You can get more information about Liquor and Mixed Drinks at www.drunkmansguide.com.

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December 17, 2007 Posted by | Liquor | , , | 3 Comments