Vodka Production

Vodka production is a fairly simple process but the finer quality vodka takes longer to process than the less expensive product. The raw material for vodka production can be potatoes, grains such as rye or wheat and even sugar beets and corn. The more costly vodkas are usually made from grain.

Whatever the manufacturer is using will be heated until the starch is released and turned into sugar. This product, called mash, is then fermented and distilled several times until all the spirit is extracted. The more it is distilled, the high alcohol content the product will have. Near the end of the process the vodka will be repeatedly filtered for purity. The last steps are to add water to decrease the alcohol content and any flavoring that’s been chosen. The vodka is then bottled for sale and shipped to retailers.

The laws that formerly governed vodka production stated that in order to be called vodka the drink could have no color, odor or flavor. For that reason it was the ideal mixer for cocktails. The exception was the very popular pepper vodka that has been served for centuries in Russia. In fact, an 18th century governor of Moscow is said to have had such affection for pepper vodka that he trained a large brown bear to serve it to guests. If a guest refused the drink the bear would remove their clothing, much to the amusement of all.

Most vodka is 80 proof which means it is 40% alcohol. This is a standard set by Alexander III of Russia, more for tax purposes than quality control.