A Brief Overview of Vodka

Vodka is an alcoholic beverage that is predominantly used in Eastern Europe.  Vodka is made through the fermentation and distillation of simple sugars made from grains and plants.  The most common ingredients in making vodka are grains, molasses, potatoes, beets, along with other types of plants.  Wheat and rye are considered the classic grain ingredients of vodka.  The best types of Russian vodka are made using wheat.  However, in Poland, most vodka is made using rye mash.  Distillers from Sweden and the Baltics are not really into wheat mashes.  Russian distillers on the other hand look down on the use of potatoes, but nevertheless look highly of the ones made by Polish distillers.  Molasses, a sweet residue made from sugar production, is being widely used in making cheap vodka.

Vodka Classification

While there are no uniform classifications for vodka, they are however graded by their purity – standard, premium, and deluxe.  In Russia, when a vodka is labeled as ‘osobaya,’ it usually means that the spirit is a high quality product which can be exported to connoisseurs around the world.  If it is labeled as ‘krepkaya,’ it means that the vodka is strong with 56% ABV (alcohol by volume).

In the U.S., vodkas that are made locally are considered by the regulations commission of the U.S. as ‘neutral spirits with a distinctive character, taste, aroma, and color.’  Since locally made vodka in the U.S. has a neutral taste, you will hardly find any distinction between two vodka brands.  The only reliable way of distinguishing them as concluded by drinkers of this alcoholic spirit are through its price and alcohol percentage.

Types of Vodka

Vodka tends to be more of a neutral spirit.  For this reason, it is widely being used in blending with other alcoholic beverages.  Back in the 19th century, the ‘Russian spirit’ had high levels of alcohol by percentage and Sherry producers back in Spain used the vodka in strengthening their wines.

Flavored vodkas are also available and have been produced since then.  The flavor was initially made to mask the taste of the primitive vodkas.  However, as distillers developed their skills, they were able to make different flavored vodkas.

Kubanskaya – this type of vodka is infuse with the flavors of orange peels and dried lemon.

Limonaya – this type of vodka has a lemon flavor with some touch of sugar being added into the mix.

Okhotnichya – this type of vodka ginger, cloves, coffee, lemon peels, anise and other herbs and spices.  This alcoholic drink is blended using sugar along with some wine to make the drink more unique.

Pertsovka – this type of vodka has a pepper flavor using both black peppers along with red chili peppers.

Starka – this is an old type of vodka, a relic from the early days of vodka production.  This type of vodka is often infused with other ingredients like brandy, dried fruit, fruit leaves, and many more.  Some starka brands age their vodka in oak casks.

Zubrovka – this type of vodka is flavored using buffalo grass, a grass which basically has aromas infused on it.

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