Vodka, the name itself sounds so much of Russian that you really do not need to write that Vodka seems to be originated from Russia. And not only it originated from there, it still remains the most preferred drink there. I read somewhere that there is no wedding, no funeral, no grief and no happiness if there is not a bottle of Vodka on the table. When I think of Vodka, I imagine a pure, odorless, white and strong aromatic drink which when taken gives you a special burning feeling. So why its color less and how its prepared.
Well, if you want to know then read on. I am hoping that next time you had our ‘Absolut’ or ‘Smirn-Off’, you are going to enjoy more.
Vodka is traditionally prepared from vegetables. Infact initially it was mostly done out of Potatoes but it would be more correct to say that this class of alcohol comes out of vegetable fermentation. Modern day vodka, in North America especially, is done also out of grains.
The other important thing about Vodka is that its called ‘Neutral’ spirit because its distilled at a high proof. Proof is a degree of measurement of alcohol with each proof being equal to half-a-percent of alcohol. So when proof is as high as 150, there is no taste or odour left. Water is added to make it drinkable.
So lets get down to step-by-step process of vodka preparation.
Step1 – Mash Preparation
Grain/Vegetable is broken down using machines. A ground malt meal is usually added so that starch converts to sugar quickly.
Step 2 – Sterilization against bacteria
Mash, thus prepared as part of Step1, is then heated. Its done to sterilize it against bacteria. After heating, lactic acid is added which aids in fermentation. After adding lactic acid, acidity is checked and when the wanted acidity is achieved, its inoculated once more to ensure that bacteria growth can be prevented.
Step 3 – Fermentation
Mash is put in large vats of stainless steel. Yeast is added and its left for 3-4 days for fermentation. The enzymes in the yeast convert the sugar to alcohol.
Step4 – Distillation and rectification
Alchol is moved out of vats and stored in stills. These stills are stainless steel columns made up of vaporizing chambers, one on top of other. As part of any other distillation, the alcohol is heated and the vapors are condensed. This way, impurities are removed. This keeps on happening till you have only some grain left and all the alchohol has evaporated.
Step5 – Add Water
The concentrated vapor is all alcohol so its very close to 100% alcohol. Water is added to make it drinkable. The alcohol precetage is reduced to 40 odd percentage.
And you are done. Glass bottles are used to store since its non-reactive. One other interesting fact about Vodka is that it was not a popular drink about 60 years ago. In 1950, not much of Vodka was sold. These days you can find Vodka in every drink or a cock-tail and its almost beating whiskey.
So enjoy your dry Vodka. Cheers !!