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Vodka Myths

At the risk of shattering some dreams, here we attempt to debunk some of the great vodka myths!

Myth #1 All vodkas are the same.
All vodkas are not the same. While vodka is, by legal definition, “A neutral spirit without distinctive character,” without distinctive character does not mean “no flavor.” Vodka is a delicate spirit that can be easily overpowered in cocktails. Many different vodkas will taste the same in your favorite drink. However, when evaluated straight or with a little water, individual attributes will shine through.

In addition, the nose and cleanliness — absence of “heads” and “tails” of the vodka — impact your experience.

Big differences between vodkas result from the quality and type of the raw materials used, the distillation technique and the quality of the bottling.

See Rain section for information on “heads” and “tails”

Myth #2 All vodkas are made by the brand owner or marketer.
All vodkas are not made by the brand owner or marketer.

Due to cost considerations the majority of vodkas are distilled by large ethanol producers located in Europe and America, who in turn sell grain-neutral spirits to rectifiers and bottlers.

Myth #3 All vodka is made from potatoes.
No. Very little vodka is made from potatoes. The primary ingredient used in the manufacture of vodka is corn.

Myth #4 There is no water in a bottle of vodka.
Not so.

Vodka comes off the still, by law, at 190 proof. The average bottle of vodka is sold at 80 proof. At this point please retrieve your calculator!! If no calculator is at hand, the short answer is 57.89474 percent water.

Myth #5 The best vodkas are imported.
Not Necessarily!

While many imported vodkas are excellent and America was a mere 800 years late to the vodka-making party, vodkas made in the United States are of excellent quality, offering a great variety of tastes.

Myth #6 The more expensive, the better it is.
Not so.

Many less expensive vodka brands are excellent and offer a real value. The key to quality lies in the type of raw materials being used, the distillation technique and the quality of the bottling.

With packaging costs often exceeding the product cost many times over, don’t be misled by an expensive, shiny package.

Myth #7 Vodka is supposed to be odorless and tasteless.
With no odor or taste, we would have water.

Of course vodkas have tastes and odors. Some are very light and are easily overpowered by mixers such as orange juice. Some vodka brands are known for their oily character. Vodkas gain their character from the grain source used to make the initial spirit and from the distillation process.

Myth #8 Some vodka brands will not give you a hangover.
Hangovers are a function of over-consumption.

The only prevention of a hangover is responsible consumption.

That said, some vodkas are “cleaner” than others as a result of the distillation process. “Dirty” vodka, in which many congeners and impurities remain after distillation, is thought to have an effect on the severity of a hangover.

Myth #9 Nothing is added to vodka.
No. By law, during the production process, small amounts of “blender” or “flavor additives” can be added to vodka.

Myth #10 It doesn’t matter what vodka you use in a mixed drink.
Higher proof vodka brings out the flavor in whatever it is mixed with.

For example: a screwdriver mixed using 100 proof vodka will have much more of an orange flavor than one mixed with 80 proof vodka.

Myth #11 “Vodka - A Liqueur“ is genuine vodka.
It is not.

“Vodka - A Liqueur“ does not meet federal government standards of identity for vodka. It is a “specialty“ according to the government.

“Vodka - A Liqueur“ contains 51% vodka, the remaining 49% being a significant amount of “other than standard wine“ and at least 2 1/2% sugar.

Before you try these type of products, you should ask the maker to supply you with the relevant nutritional facts, i.e. calorie and carbohydrate content.