Discovering Vodka: A Brief Dive into the Spirit's Origins and Craft

Vodka is a beloved spirit that is renowned for its versatility and long history. For something that is considered “plain”, you’d be amazed by just how much flavour difference there is depending on the type and brand of vodka you choose.

Here's a little guide to help better you understand vodka:

What is Vodka?

Vodka is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage. It's famous for its purity, often being called a "neutral spirit". It also makes an excellent base for countless cocktails and mixers. Vodka's history is shrouded in legends and stories, with its origins traced back to Eastern Europe and Russia. It was initially used for medicinal purposes before evolving into a popular spirit. Over time, it became a symbol of celebration and camaraderie in various cultures, influencing art, literature, and traditions.

Vodka is like the mother of all spirits. You could almost say that every spirit spends some time as a vodka. A spirit starts by becoming a beer or wine through fermentation. It’s then distilled to what you could consider to be a vodka. This versatile base becomes a canvas for diverse creations and can be manipulated in many ways to create other spirits. Add juniper through distillation, and you've crafted gin! Allow it to age, and behold, whisky is born! Albeit in very simple forms.

What is vodka made from?

Vodka is generally made from potatoes or grains, but it can be created from almost anything. The world of vodka-making has expanded to embrace a diverse range of base ingredients.

Unlike many vodkas made from the traditional grain, Vachellia is made from sugarcane. Notably, sugarcane has emerged as an advantageous choice for vodka production. With its efficient sugar conversion, sugarcane offers a smooth path to creating flavourful vodka. This base material brings a subtle sweetness and natural richness to the spirit, setting it apart from traditional grains and other alternatives.

Despite being traditionally made in Poland or Russia, vodka can be produced anywhere around the globe. Just like how we create Vachellia in South Africa!


Styles of vodka:

  1. Plain Vodka:
    • Neutral Vodka: Due to multiple-column still distillation, these vodkas are smooth and have a light flavour profile. 
    • Characterful / Craft Vodka:  A vodka where the choice of base material plays a significant role the finished spirit. Vachellia Premium Vodka is an example is of characterful/craft vodka its creamy and smooth texture and a lovely floral element on the palate.
  2. Flavoured Vodka:
    • Flavoured Vodka: These can be flavoured with ingredients such as fruits or peels using a variety of techniques. Some are natural, others are made using essences and colourants.
    • Botanical Vodka: As the name suggests, this is a vodka where the botanicals have been distilled into it. 

In essence, vodka's simplicity belies its rich history and artistry. From its diverse ingredients to its storied past, vodka continues to captivate the world's palate, both as a cherished drink and a key player in mixology.


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