14 May 4 things you should know about vodka
Poor vodka. It is such a misunderstood spirit. It’s one of the top three biggest selling spirits in the world by volume, but no one seems to appreciate it as much as, say, gin, whisky or rum. However, there are signs that vodka could make a comeback, thanks to the rise of craft spirits and more unique entries into the category.
Still, despite it being a relatively simple spirit category to understand, many people still don’t seem to know much about vodka. Here are five things you should know about the spirit.
1) Vodka is not only made in Russia
There is a long-running dispute between Russia and Poland about who exactly invented vodka (The name vodka is actually derived from the Slavic word ‘voda’, for ‘water’). But it doesn’t really matter who invented vodka, to be honest, since vodka can be made anywhere in the world.
Take Our/Vodka, for example – the brand is made in micro-distilleries in city centres around the world, including New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, London and Detroit, and each vodka is unique to the city it is produced in.
2) Vodka is not always tasteless
Yes, vodka is essentially a flavourless neutral spirit, but not all vodkas are completely tasteless (though many are). Some producers pride themselves for having a more flavourful vodka (and we’re not talking about flavoured vodka – that’s a whole different story altogether), one that retains the clean, clear nature of the category while offering subtle flavours derived from the source ingredients at the same time.
If you have doubts about this, we suggest you give Tried And True Straight Wheat Vodka a, er, try. Made with soft winter wheat grown and milled in France and proofed down to 44% ABV using RO demineralised well water from the Cognac region, the vodka has a creamy mouthfeel that carries a soft, subtle yet flavourful sweet grain note that makes this a great vodka for vodka-forward classic cocktails like the Cosmopolitan or Vesper.
3) Vodka doesn’t have to be made with only potato or grain
Actually, vodka can be made with just about anything. There are vodkas made from potatoes, wheat, sugarcane, and even grapes and apples. In fact, you could say that as long as it’s a neutral spirit without any added flavouring, it’s technically a vodka.
Take St George Spirits’ vodkas, for instance. Its All-Purpose Vodka is made by distilling its flagship pear brandy up to 95.1% ABV and blending it with a neutral base spirit. Then there’s the Green Chile Vodka, which is made from a variety of California-grown hot and sweet peppers (resulting in a spicy vodka that makes for an excellent Bloody Mary), and the California Citrus Vodka, which is made from real California-grown Valencia oranges, Seville oranges, and bergamot.
4) Vodka is still an essential spirit for any bar
Vodka is still a mainstay at any bar, like it or not, simply because of how versatile it is, and also the fact that there are so many classic drinks that require vodka.
Drinks like the Cosmopolitan, the Moscow Mule, the Bloody Mary, the White Russian… all these are iconic drinks with vodka. And of course, there’s also one of the most iconic drinks in pop culture – the vodka martini, shaken not stirred, ordered by James Bond himself (though we much prefer the Vesper).
Also, with the rise of craft distillers worldwide, some of whom are making some really excellent vodkas, many bartenders are starting to pay attention to the category once more.
Wholly Spirits Retail currently carries the following vodka brands, among others:
Tried And True Straight Wheat Vodka
Distilled in a five-column process from soft winter wheat grown and milled in France. Proofed down to a cocktail appropriate 44% ABV using RO demineralised well water from the Cognac region.
The producers have a zero additive policy: no citric acid, glycerine or sugar is added to its vodka. The result is Tried and True: a finely made, authentic, neutral vodka that craft barfolk can rely on.
Our/Vodka is a global family of vodkas made in micro-distilleries in city centres around the world, including New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, London and Detroit. Each vodka is unique to its city, as it is made by local people with ingredients sourced as locally as possible in order to convey the true spirit of the city in each bottle of vodka.
For the month of May, get four bottles of East Imperial Ginger Ale free with every purchase of 2 bottles of Our/Vodka, only at Wholly Spirits Retail.
St George Spirits
St George Distillery produces a variety of highly artisanal craft spirits, including pear brandy and gin.
It also has three vodkas in its portfolio, including the All-Purpose Vodka, the Green Chile Vodka (made from a variety of California-grown hot and sweet peppers), and the California Citrus Vodka (made from real California-grown Valencia oranges, Seville oranges, and bergamot).
A crisp, smooth and self-assured vodka. Subtle sweet grain with vanilla is followed by just a hint of icing sugar. A velvety-smooth mouthfeel precedes a warming finish.