Vodka is a clear distilled alcohol that originated in Eastern Europe. Vodka is 40% alcohol, which is also known as 80 proof. It can be consumed neat or mixed with other alcohols and beverages to make cocktails and mixed drinks. It was originally used as a medicinal drink and became popular as an alcoholic drink around the 1400’s. It is widely consumed around the world today and is favored for its neutral flavor and the lack of alcoholic vapor detectable on the breath. So how is this spirit made? Read this article to find out.
How is Vodka Made?
Like most alcoholic beverages, vodka is produced by fermenting a starch or a sugar. Most vodka is fermented from grains such as corn, rye, wheat or sorghum. Other substances used to make vodka include potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice and sugar beets. Vodka can also be produced by fermenting crystal sugar and yeast. Vodka produced from wheat and rye is regarded as a superior quality spirit.
The grain or vegetable is fermented by adding starch releasing enzymes and yeast. This substance is then heated until the starch is released and converted to sugar. The liquid from the fermentation process is then siphoned off into a separate distilling vessel.
The liquid is heated to temperatures that are greater than the boiling point of alcohol, but less than the boiling point of water. This causes the alcohol to become vapor and condense in a tube attached to the distilling vessel. This tube is cooled and the vaporized alcohol becomes liquid and is collected.
Usually the first and last 2 gallons of vodka is town away because it contains high levels of methanol. This liquid may then be distilled again to increase the alcohol content of the vodka. During the process small samples are taken and the alcohol percentage measured to ensure a quality product.
Flavorings may be added to the spirit if it is to be flavored vodka. If the product is too flavorful or aromatic it may need to be filtered through a carbon filter. Once the required alcohol levels, taste and aroma are achieved water is added to dilute the vodka. It is then bottled and shipped to suppliers.