The Great Vodka Whitewash

I recieved the following news articles about vodka from no less than three seperate people. In it, the article discusses the European Union members which raw materials should be allowed should be allowed in vodka.

EU member states are currently quarrelling over what raw materials should be allowed, with some countries saying any agricultural produce is acceptable and others arguing that real vodka is made only from grain or potato. (Emphasis is the BBC’s)

First, let’s be clear here. This isn’t about terroir or vodka purity. This is about adding entry restrictions to a billion dollar industry. The Scandinavian and Baltic states would like to keep the industries (and income) they have, while other countries would like to get a piece of that action.

Second, Vodka is a weird beast in that the better it is, the less it actually tastes of anything. In the perfect world, vodka is at least 40% pure C2H6O with the rest being pure H2O. Any flavor discerned in vodka comes from either the mineral elements found in the water and/or the distillation process itself. The amount of vodka “flavor” comes from the raw ingredient is so minimal as to be nearly irrelevant.

Or to put it another way, It’s possible that I can take a a bottle of scotch and a bottle of brandy, filter them both to the nth degree, and end up with vodka that is nearly indistinguishable from the other. A simplification to be sure, but I think it get’s my point across.

I can appreciate folks trying to protect their business. But to say that vodka can only come from grains or potatoes is akin to saying that sugar can only come from sugar beets or sugar cane.

Technorati Tags: Vodka, European Union (and money)


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