What Are The Different Types Of Vodka?
Jul 26, 2020
When we talk about vodka, the first thing that comes in mind is a plan, flavorless liquor you mix your OJ with, in the parties. Fun stuff, but that is not what vodka is limited to. There are various types of vodka – the plain kind is definitely a popular variety, but there are flavored and fruit vodkas that would blow your mind.
All of them have their unique taste profile and alcohol quantity, so next time you pick up a bottle, look for more variety to spice up your life.
There are four types of vodka:
- Plain vodkas
- Flavored vodkas
- Fruit vodkas
- Grain vodkas
Types Of Vodka
This type of vodka has an extremely high alcohol content, in the higher 90s. Many consider this a benchmark drink and don’t really care a lot about the taste. This is your base drink for other cocktails. They are pretty pure, with a very minute amount of impurities, and often does not have any taste.
Although, some companies have been testing this with key ingredients to enhance the plain flavor. You can find plain vodka with a hint of spice, fruit, and sharp notes from good brands like Pristine Vodka. But at its core, plain vodka does one job very well, provide the kick we need in our drinks.
The taste of the plain vodka itself varies largely based on what type of alcohol was used to make it. The starting range is 95% alcohol, which is passed through repeated distillations to dilute the tail (last distillation up to 5%), preserve the heart (made of pure alcohol) and balance the head (the first distillation of up to 4%).
The companies that capture this process well have some really smooth and intense vodka quality that can be enjoyed on the ice or with water, without needing any other mixers.
These vodkas have become insanely popular in the last few years for one reason; they are a lot less work because they already have a flavor profile. You don’t need to buy mixers and juices to be able to enjoy them once you find a flavor you like. And the flavor profiles can be quite astounding —Cinnamon, blueberry, orange, green apple, lemon, lime, and so much more.
Major brands producing vodkas come from Russia, Finland, Sweden, and the USA. Vodka is one of the highest-selling drinks, surpassing the numbers for whiskey, gin, and brandy.
Flavored vodkas are not the same as fruit vodkas. But they start similar to how plain vodka is created, with 95% alcohol, and through distillation, the flavor profile is infused to give a distinct taste. All these vodkas are 40% proof.
The basic ingredients remain the same as plain vodka. You can produce vodka from fruits, grains, potatoes, etc. Then at least 5% sugar is added in the drink to smoothen out the harsh notes of the plain drink. This type of vodka is considered dry. The sugar quantity increases to around 40% of what is called crème. In the middle of this spectrum, you have the semi-sweet variety, which can contain about 22% sugar.
It usually varies from one brand to another what kind of taste profile they are going to create. As a result, when you buy lime vodkas from two different brands, you will not find the same taste. There might be some experimentation involved in figuring out the perfect flavored vodka, but it is worth every drink you take.
As the name suggests, these types of vodkas come from fruit infusions. There are also herb-flavored vodkas that are created in the same method and can be clubbed in this category. Producing these kinds of vodkas takes much longer than normal, plain vodka. But their flavor profile, smell, and color are simply much richer than any other type of vodka that is made in bulk for mass consumption.
The base of these vodkas starts with 50 to 80% alcohol. This is infused with the fruit blend for up to three weeks to soak out the complete fruit flavor in the liquor. After the three weeks are over, the rind is filtered carefully not to disturb the alcohol.
At this point, the vodka could be mixed with any other flavors to give it a more complex body and profile. And then the drink is set down to age for a time where it develops the rich flavor. The aging process, which is similar to other expensive liquors like wine, and whiskey, is what contributes to a majority of the flavor profile of the drink. It slowly builds up the volatiles, which are particles in the drink that hold the flavor and slowly release it.
This is one of the driest types of vodka to exist and starts from over 96% concentrated alcohol. The alcohol is usually pure rye, and this is mixed with water to start the infusion and distillation process. Safe to say, this is not everyone’s cup of tea, and only extreme vodka enthusiasts try and love this kind.
Usually, most of the grain vodkas are sold in countries that have extremely strong winter seasons, and this drink is considered great for warming up during this time. Needless to say, you will not find this type in your average supermarket liquor aisle.
Although this sounds like the making of the purest, burning and sharp plain alcohol, grain vodkas do go through some enhancement that does not take away from the alcohol content but adds a flavor to it. Usually, lemon or lime skins, pepper, bison grass are common ingredients for flavoring these types of vodkas.
Vodka is the most sold liquor in most countries because of its versatility. Even people who do not enjoy the taste of alcohol very much can enjoy this because of the cocktail making potential. Now that you know all the categories of vodkas, you can start refining your taste and find the brand that wows you the most.