Vodka, how it's made
Vodka it's a popular distilled beverage, colourless, near flavourless and usually has an alcohol content of 35% to 50% by volume. Russia has vodka as its national drink and the term vodka it's a diminutive of the word voda (water), in Russian, although this is not certain.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "vodka was originated in Russia in the 14th century.The origins of vodka cannot be traced definitively, but it is believed to have originated in the grain-growing region that now embraces western Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Poland. It also has a long tradition in Scandinavia."
Vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the whole world, any bar has it, and it's the best drink to do cocktails and liqueurs at home because of its "neutrality" of flavour. It can be used as an appetiser served with smoked salmon or caviar, and as an after-dinner drink being served very cold in small glasses. The Russians say that we should drink it in one "go" like a shot and very cold.
As said in the beginning, vodka is a distilled beverage that is made from any starch/sugar rich plant matter, such as rye, corn, wheat and sorghum, being rye and wheat vodkas generally considered superior. But some vodka is made from potatoes, soybeans, grapes, molasses, sugar beets and sometimes even byproducts of oil refining or wood pulp processing.
The process of making vodka it's the same as whisky, but while whisky is distilled at low temperatures, which gives the flavour of cereals, vodka is distilled at high temperatures, then submitted to chemical filtration to neutralize the flavours of the cereals.
First you need to obtain the moist, liquid formed during fermentation of some of the cereals mentioned above. With that, the liquid obtained will have a low concentration of alcohol (6 to 8%), and after that you use the distillation method and a rectification process to eliminate impurities. These 2 processes are repeated several times until it's obtained a 90% alcohol volume liquid that afterwards is blended with water to obtain the desired alcohol percentage. The next stages of filtration and purification, have the purpose of making the vodka more pure, by taking out the remaining impurities of the other stages. The method of filtration it's made by using charcoal and a membrane filter.
After all these stages, the final product is extremely pure, high concentrated, and generally odorless. Because of that, most vodkas after all these stages, pass through the process of flavouring.
There are several types of vodka, but it can be generally classified as:
Western - primed by its purity and crystal clear look, possess a neutral flavor and scent combined with smoothness. The production techniques made a vodka with minimal amounts of aromatic residues and flavour;
Polish - characterised by its purity, but it's more scented and flavoured, with a discreet sweet scent and a smooth taste, where the sweetness take time to disappear;
Russian - very smooth with a pleasant flavour, marked with a "burning" feeling after ingested.
But remember, vodka in excess may be lethal, as well drinking vodka and driving, so drink responsibly.
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