In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, Vodka gets “no respect.”
Because like Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus’ repertoire, you may not publicly admit to enjoying it, but you sure don’t mind belting out a few lyrics when you think no one’s looking.
The thing is, Vodka doesn’t judge. So, here’s a crazy thought: maybe we shouldn’t judge it, either. Truth is, it can be every bit as nuanced and complex as Whiskey or Tequila.
What we’re saying is, Vodka deserves every second of the spotlight.
So, ladies and gents, put your hands together for... Vodka!
Let’s get back to basics for sec: what exactly is Vodka? Essentially, it’s a clear, distilled spirit made from fermented foodstuffs containing sugar and starch. Although potatoes have historically been a popular option, Vodka distillers have also been known to ferment cereal grains (like rye and sorghum), rice and even grapes or beets. It’s typically regarded as a neutral Spirit — something flavorless that can be easily tossed in with a mixer, drunk and forgotten.
But don’t dismiss it that easily — Vodka does have flavor. The ingredients used to make a particular bottle — especially the water source — can lend Vodka subtle tasting notes. Some are slightly sweet to the taste, others a touch medicinal. The mouthfeel can differ from bottle to bottle, usually as a result of the water being used.
And the world loves the stuff. It’s the most consumed spirit in the U.S. and Russians have been known to take it down like it’s fresh spring water, drinking a whopping 17.3 shots per month on average.
While Russia and Poland may have been the first to distill it, today, Vodka is made all over the world. Take Pau Maui, for instance. It’s a Hawaii-based Vodka distilled from pineapples (so appropriate). Then there’s Death Wish Coffee Vodka, a caffeine-fueled sipper made from cold brew coffee in Albany, New York. And finally Volstead Vodka, named after Congressman Andrew Volstead that started that whole nasty business of the National Prohibition Act of 1919, sometimes called “The Volstead Act”.
So whether you’re taking back shots of smoky Volstead Vodka or sipping a tropical concoction on the shores of a Hawaiian island, there’s probably a really good chance Vodka’s a headlining act. Cheers!
1) Vodka knows no bounds. it can be made anywhere. As for where it originated, it’s a toss up between Poland and Russia, but trust us — that’s not a fight you want to get in the middle of.
2) The craft movement isn’t just relegated to beer. Craft Vodka is very much a thing, with more producers going back to high quality ingredients and looking for ways to flesh out long-ignored flavor profiles from the spirit.
3) There’s a reason why people stick their Vodka in the freezer. Keeping the bottle ice cold not only tames some of its fiery heat, but it brings out some of the richness and viscosity of the Spirit.
4) Hate hangovers? Start cozying up with your old pal Vodka. A study found that the severity of a hangover can be reduced by drinking clear alcoholic beverages (ahem).
5) Unbelievably, Vodka has no sugar, carbs, fat, cholesterol, fiber, sodium, vitamins or minerals. Consumed on its own, it’s just straight up ethanol and water.
6) Vodka makes a great addition to your first aid kit. It’s a disinfectant, an antimicrobial and an anesthetic that can wash out wounds, prevent infection and sterilize equipment.
7) Today, Vodka comes in all sorts of crazy flavors: bacon, maple syrup, PB&J, dill pickle and even smoked salmon — BYO-blinis and caviar.
What's in the box
Death Wish Coffee
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Westward currently offers several distillery experiences where you can learn everything from how to turn Beer into Whiskey, to how to craft the perfect cocktail.
Westward Whiskey founder Christian Krogstad graduated from the Seible Institute of Technology—America’s oldest brewing academy.
The Hawaiian word hali'i means 'a covering' or 'blanket'. Maile is a native twining shrub with fragrant, shiny leaves.