Vodka—What's the Dif­fer­ence?

Cape Coral Living - - Culinary -

Col­or­less and odor­less, vodka is one of the most mix­able and pop­u­lar spir­its on any bar shelf. Sim­ple yet com­plex, it’s also a cash cow with more than 66 mil­lion cases a year sold in the United States alone. Most of­ten made from dis­tilled fer­mented grains and fil­tered wa­ter, vodka can also be made from pota­toes, fruit and rice. Dis­till­ing and fil­tra­tion meth­ods, along with the qual­ity and type of in­gre­di­ents, give a vodka its per­sonal fla­vor pro­file. Many vodka lovers are ve­he­mently brand loyal, cas­ti­gat­ing la­bels they per­ceive to be noth­ing short of scorch­ing ethanol. But can they re­ally tell the dif­fer­ence? I put that ques­tion to the test with a blind vodka tast­ing. The bot­tles we tested were scraped bare and ob­scured in brown paper bags. The ea­ger panel of eight, rang­ing from bar pro­fes­sion­als and vodka en­thu­si­asts to ev­ery­day con­sumers of spir­its, gath­ered at Twisted Vine Bistro’s new Bar­rel Room in down­town Fort My­ers. With the help of bar­tender Da­mon Cock­er­ton, we poured the first round neat and at room tem­per­a­ture. Each was then tasted on the rocks. No mix­ers al­lowed. The re­sults were sur­pris­ing to some; most could not iden­tify their fa­vorite. The seven se­lec­tions came from around the world. Most were wheat based; one con­tained po­tato and one corn. Chopin Vodka ($25), pro­duced in Poland, is made from pota­toes. Dis­tilled four times, it smelled and tasted a bit in­dus­trial, funky and pep­pery. This was the least fa­vorite for drink­ing in a mar­tini or straight up. Use it for a Bloody Mary. Tito’s ($20) is one of the most pop­u­lar top-shelf vod­kas, for, as one pro­fes­sional put it, “of­fer­ing a filet mignon at a pot roast price.” Hail­ing from Texas, Tito’s is made from corn, dis­tilled six times and made in a process sim­i­lar to sin­gle-malt scotch. Its taste was spicy and a bit hot, with just a hint of sweet­ness. Ice smoothed it out some while main­tain­ing its com­plex­ity. Even so, Tito’s landed be­tween

A blind tast­ing re­veals the truth

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