Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vodka Basics

Bullet Points:
  • Vodka is a neutral spirit, distilled to such a high proof that very few congeners, aromas and flavors remain and bottled at around 80 proof.
  • Vodka can be made virtually anywhere and from virtually anything. It is usually clear and colorless although few exceptions exist.
  • The raw materials that can be used to create vodka is almost limitless. Most are made using common grains such as wheat, corn, rye and barely. Others use vegetables like potatoes and sugar beets or fruits like grapes.
  • Vodka became popular amongst Americans in the mid-1950’s due to successful marketing campaigns. By 1976, Vodka had become the number one consumed spirit in America.

Principle Cocktails:
  • Moscow Mule
  • Bloody Mary
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Screwdriver
  • Vodka Martini
  • Vodka and Tonic
  • Vesper Martini
  • Bay Breeze/Sea Breeze/Madras

Popular brands:
  • Grey Goose: French, created in 1997, premium French wheat, filtered through Champagne limestone, distilled in Cognac, France.
  • Ketel One: Netherlands, founded 1983, Dutch for “Pot Still One”, 100% Wheat, filtered over loose charcoal, aged in a tile lined tank.
  • Tito’s: Austin, Texas, created 1995 by Tito Beveridge, the brand was awarded Texas’ first distilling license, distilled six times using yellow corn in pot stills making it a very labor intensive product.
  • Square One: Founded 2006, distilled in Rigby, Idaho using 100% organic rye from the Teton Range in Wyoming, the label is even made from paper-free blend of bamboo, sugarcane and cotton and 25% of the distillery’s power is provided by local wind farms.
  • Purity: A well awarded premium vodka with great depth and character. It is from Ellinge Castle in South Sweden. It is distilled a whopping 34 times! It is made from an all organic blend of Winter Wheat and Malted Barley and is certified organic. Extremely labor intensive!
  • Boyd & Blair: Distilled in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania using mostly local potatoes, created in 2005 and reaching large market shares around 2009, in June 2011, Spirit Journal ranked Boyd & Blair the 22nd-ranked liquor on the planet and the highest-ranked vodka on the list.
  • Smirnoff: Founded in the 1860's by Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov in Moscow. It is said to be the world's most distributed vodka, with distilleries in India, Ireland, Italy, the U.S. and the U.K. distributing to 130 countries.
  • Absolut: Another Swedish vodka. It is the third most consumed spirit in the world next to Bacardi and Smirnoff. Founded in 1879, it did not become a global spirit until 1979 and is now sold in 126 countries. It is made from 100% winter wheat.
  • Stolichnaya: A Russian spirit but bottled and distributed internationally from Latvia. It was introduced in 1901 and is made from wheat and rye grains.

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