An Elemental Mixology Vodka Excerpt


I am working tirelessly (okay, I admit that I am tired) on the 2014 editions of the Elemental Mixology Book and the Elemental Mixology Liquor Companion.  I have added a lot of bottlings and descriptions to the latter.  I thought I would share part of the description for vodka:

[As it exists today, vodka is just about the newest type of spirit.  Now, something called vodka has been made in Russia and Poland for centuries.  But for most of that time it was pot-distilled (as were all spirits before the nineteenth century), and would have tasted like whatever it happened to be distilled from.  It was not until usually-well-off, ex-patriot Russians began distilling something they called ‘vodka’ outside of Russia following the Russian revolution using newer, highly-efficient columnar stills that the flavorless spirit known today was born.  In the U.S.A., any product labeled ‘vodka’ must be distilled at least three times – and at the flavor-stripping strength of at least 190-proof at least once.  The one similarity between modern vodka and pre-1917 vodka is that the base ingredient is, and was, non-specific.  Peasants made it out of whatever they had that would ferment.  Modern, flavorless vodka is similarly flexible of base-ingredient since the flavor is distilled out, anyway.  Instead of specifying ingredients, federal requirements in the U.S.A. state that plain vodka must be produced “without distinctive character, flavor or aroma.”  This means that it has no flavor or aroma, and is of no noteworthy character.  Its underwhelming, insipid banality is also its great strength.  It is the alcoholic equivalent of tofu – in that it provides no flavor to the palate, but can be made to taste like just about anything.  Vodka is often the favorite of drinkers who don’t care for the flavors of more traditional spirits, and wish to sneak ethanol past their palates and into their bloodstreams.]

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