Our Vodka Assortment
Vodka, the crystal-clear 'little water' without added flavourings, is one of the world's most popular spirits with at least 37.5 percent by volume. The high-proof spirit from the Slavic region is now distilled worldwide and surprises with a wide range of varieties. Served ice cold, flavoured or as a base for cocktails, good vodka with its soft, almost neutral taste is a special treat.Read more
Vodka, the crystal-clear 'little water' without added flavourings, is one of the world's most popular spirits with at least 37.5 percent by volume. The high-proof spirit from the Slavic region is now distilled worldwide and surprises with a wide range of varieties. Served ice cold, flavoured or as a base for cocktails, good vodka with its soft, almost neutral taste is a special treat.
Slavic 'water' with centuries of tradition
The history of vodka goes back to the 15th century. To this day, it is not definitively clear whether the first vodka was distilled in Russia or in Poland. What is certain is that the invention of the spirit can be traced back to a huge surplus of grain in both regions. While large quantities of wheat had to be processed in Russia, a lot of rye was available in Poland. The first written mention of Polish vodka was in 1405 in Sandomierz in the Kingdom of Poland.
Until the 19th century, grain remained the only raw material for distilling vodka. After that, the potato, imported from South America, gained importance in Eastern Europe as the basis for vodka. From Poland and Russia, the high-proof spirit began its triumphal march to the Ukraine, Finland and Sweden. The grain distilled in northern Germany can hardly hide its kinship to vodka.
The Russian communists' ban on vodka led to many vodka producers emigrating between 1917 and 1925 and popularising the art of making the Slavic national spirit in Western Europe and North America. In the 1950s, vodka became a cult drink worldwide as an indispensable ingredient in cocktails.
Rye, potatoes or grapes: raw materials for vodka production
The basic ingredients for the production of vodka are grain, potatoes or molasses. While rye and potatoes are mainly used in the Slavic region, Finnish vodka producers like to use wheat. Vodka made from rye is mild and mellow with a slightly sweet note. Vodka made from potatoes, on the other hand, is heavier and tart. It also has a sweetish nuance in the finish.
In South Africa, Brazil and the United States, molasses, a by-product of sugar production, is used as a low-cost raw material for vodka production. Molasses makes the spirit recognisably sweet.
In recent years, French vodka distilled from selected Chardonnay grapes has made a name for itself. In Asia, vodka is distilled from soy, rice and corn. These spirits may only bear the name vodka if they have been distilled using traditional vodka methods. The raw materials must be named on the label.
It's all in the water: The basics of vodka production
Since vodka consists of 60 per cent water, its quality is of particular importance. Vodka producers prefer very soft water, which often comes from their own wells and springs. The rule is: the softer the water, the faster and more thoroughly the raw materials are boiled down. Minerals and salts hinder this process.
In recent years, water for vodka production has been extracted from glaciers off the coast of Newfoundland, among other places. This is precipitation water that is thousands of years old and has never come into contact with fertilisers.
As far as the raw materials are concerned, vodka and whisky are related. The main difference lies in the production process. Vodka lives from the quality of the water used for distillation. The special character of whisky comes from the maturation in the barrel.
To distil vodka, the crushed raw materials are mixed with water and heated. At temperatures between 150 and 160 degrees Celsius, the starch contained in the basic ingredients is converted into sugar. This produces the so-called wort, which is viscous and sweet. It is fermented using yeast for three to five days at a temperature between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. The result is a thick mash with an alcohol content of six to ten percent by volume.
The actual vodka distillation is still carried out using a traditional method from the 19th century, in distillation apparatus according to Dorn and Pistorius. A horizontal column divided into two segments, the analyser and the rectifier, is used for this purpose. The analyser is fed with hot steam from below and the mash from above. The mash heats up in the downward movement and the alcohol it contains evaporates. It is fed into the rectifier, which is also heated, and purified.
A final filtration with charcoal granulate from beech, oak or birch removes unwanted aroma substances and achieves a very high degree of purity. Per litre of vodka, 30 milligrams of foreign substances are permitted; for cognac or whisky, the figure is 2,600 milligrams.
Blending dilutes the vodka to enjoyment strength, which is traditionally an alcohol content of 40 percent by volume.
The European Vodka Dispute
In 2007, a bitter dispute broke out in the European Union over the high-proof 'little water'. Slavic and Scandinavian countries insisted that the name vodka could only be used for spirits made from grain or potatoes and demanded a purity law for the drink.
The dispute was settled by an EU regulation of January 2008, which imposes the following requirements on spirits called vodka:
- produced from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
- obtained by fermentation with yeast
- Minimum alcohol content of 37.5 percent by volume
- Flavouring only permitted with natural flavouring substances originally contained in the raw materials
- Vodka distilled from raw materials other than grain or potatoes shall be marked accordingly on the label
Vodka, deliciously flavoured & the diversity of its distilleries and varieties
Flavoured vodka has a long tradition in Poland and Russia. In addition to wild berries, spices, herbs and fruits, grasses are also used for flavouring. Polish Zubrowka, distilled from strong rye, is famous for its strong, distinctive character. It has been delighting connoisseurs for 600 years. Zubrowka is refined with typical bison grass and other herbs.
Premium Vodka is characterised by particularly high quality. It is primarily intended for pure enjoyment. The French label Grey Goose has recently made a name for itself with particularly fine drops. The brand's vodka is distilled from the best grains and limestone-filtered spring water from the Cognac region. Its elegant wheat note is rounded off by a sweet note reminiscent of almond biscuits.
The triple-distilled EIKO Vodka from the Japanese island of Hokkaido impresses with liquorice and sugar aromas and long-lasting freshness.
The exquisitely smooth Chiroc Vodka is distilled five times on the basis of noble grapes from the French Galliac region.
The Ukrainian luxury vodka from the traditional Lvivska distillery in the Precarpathian Mountains is distilled from rye and wheat. The noble drop falls many times below the prescribed maximum limit for foreign substances.
Beluga Vodka combines the clear, ice-cold purity of the Siberian expanses. The small Siberian distillery Mariinsky distils the best wheat with particularly soft water from the region. Much of the work is done by hand to ensure the exclusive quality of the vodka.
The top Polish brand Belvedere is said to have fascinated James Bond alias 007. It is one of the best-sounding names in the field of premium vodka.
American Skyy Vodka has a good dose of Russian fire. It is distilled from high-quality American wheat varieties and quadruple distilled with crystal-clear spring water. Triple filtration rids the drink of all particles that can cause headaches or the dreaded 'hangover'.
Russian vodka from the Smirnoff dynasty is one of the most popular spirits in the world. In the meantime, the production of vodka of this brand is no longer reserved for the Russians alone. Smirnoff is also distilled in Great Britain and the United States.
The almost tasteless spirit is suitable both for pure enjoyment and for making cocktails and mixed drinks. In addition to traditional vodka, the brand also offers flavoured variants. Smirnoff Ice is a mixed drink with a citrus flavour and reduced alcohol content.
It is recommended to store vodka bottles upright. Unlike wine, prolonged contact of the drink with the bottle cap should be avoided. The alcohol could attack the materials of the cap and make the bottle leak.
During storage, the bottle should always be tightly closed to preserve the flavour of the spirit.
By the way: Did you know that the most expensive vodka bottle is worth 1.3 million euros? It is made of white and yellow gold. Its closure is decorated with the double eagle of the Russian tsars. The bottle fell victim to theft and was recovered without its contents.