What is American Vodka? The New Generation of Smoothness and Drinkability

American Vodka

American vodka is a new generation of vodka known for its smoothness and drinkability. Unlike traditional vodkas from Russia and Eastern Europe, which are often harsh and astringent, American-made vodka uses high-quality ingredients and advanced production techniques. American-style vodka is known for it’s creamy texture and natural sweetness. This results in a cleaner, more refined spirit. Sugarcane vodka, a notable type of American-made spirits, achieves its smooth character naturally, without additives. This innovation reflects the maturity and advancement of vodka-making methods.

I have always been drawn to vodka because of its diverse mixability and its relatively clean palate to develop cocktails. However, I didn’t always appreciate the overwhelming bitterness, harsh aroma and alcohol burn associated with old-world, grain-based vodkas. While grains are ideal for my beloved bourbons, grains like corn are simply not the ideal source for vodka.

After growing-up in the spirits and hospitality industries, it was only intuitive to me that vodka had been in a period of arrested development. It seemed to be stuck in a dark, stodgy world of foul-tasting medicine and outdated traditions that on the surface did not make sense. The notion that vodka had to be harsh and unpleasant to drink has been shattered, and I don’t think we’ll be going back in that direction ever again. This is the story of American distilling.

Tim Kelly – Master Distiller, Felene Distillery

The vodka industry has undergone a significant transformation over the years. This transformation has been particularly evident in the emergence of American vodka. American vodka has redefined the standards of smoothness and drinkability, distinguishing itself from the harsh varieties historically associated with Russia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. In this article, we will explore the concept of American-style of neutral spirits, focusing on its evolution and the unique qualities of sugarcane vodka. By comparing it to traditional vodka styles, we will highlight how the American version has reached a new, classic standard.

Defining American Vodka

American vodka represents a new generation of spirits. Unlike its traditional counterparts, American vodka emphasizes smoothness and drinkability. This shift has been driven by advancements in vodka-making techniques and the use of high-quality ingredients. The result is a spirit that is more palatable and enjoyable.

Certified Organic: A New Era of Transparency

organic logo

Certified organic vodka ensures transparency in ingredients and production. It uses organically grown ingredients, free from synthetic pesticides. Production methods are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Consumers trust its purity and high standards. This builds confidence and meets demand for responsibly produced goods. Certified organic vodka represents quality, purity, and environmental care.

Redefining Flavored Vodka

flavored vodka
Felene Flavors uses only natural ingredients and no sweeteners for its flavored vodka.

A superior and smoother base in vodka production allows for more natural flavors without tasting over-processed. A clean base spirit provides a neutral canvas that lets natural flavors shine through. This purity means fewer additives are needed, resulting in a more authentic taste. The natural ingredients, like fruits, herbs, or botanicals, are more pronounced and balanced. This makes the vodka taste fresher and more genuine, appealing to those who seek quality and authenticity.

The Historical Context of Vodka

Vodka production in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia was driven by necessity. Harsh climates and limited access to quality ingredients led to the creation of vodkas that were often astringent and rough. These early vodkas were made from whatever grains or potatoes were available, resulting in a spirit that was strong but not necessarily smooth. Had the early distillers of vodka had access to quality sources of fermentable sugar, they surely would have used them instead of grains to make vodka.

The Evolution of Vodka-Making Techniques

As vodka-making techniques evolved, the focus shifted towards creating a smoother, more refined spirit. American distillers have been at the forefront of this evolution. By utilizing advanced methods of filtration and distillation, they have been able to produce vodkas that are exceptionally smooth and clean-tasting.

Sugarcane Vodka: The Ultimate Agricultural Product

sugarcane fields

One of the most significant advancements in American vodka production has been the use of sugarcane. Sugarcane vodka is defined by its unique standard of smoothness and character. Unlike traditional vodkas, which often rely on additives and sweeteners to achieve smoothness, sugarcane vodka achieves this naturally. The result is a spirit that is not only smooth but also free from artificial flavors.

The Emergence of American Sugarcane Vodka

The emergence of American sugarcane vodka represents the maturity and advancement of vodka-making techniques. By using sugarcane, producers can create a vodka that is both high-quality and sustainable. This approach reflects a commitment to excellence and innovation in the vodka industry.

Comparing American Distilling to Traditional Styles

To understand the significance of the American style, it is helpful to compare it to traditional vodka styles. Russian, Eastern European, and Scandinavian vodkas were often harsh and astringent. This was due to the use of less-than-ideal base ingredients and rudimentary production techniques. In contrast, vodka made in the U.S., particularly sugarcane vodka, is smooth and drinkable. The difference is dramatic and definable. This difference can be likened to the evolution of boat-building. The comparison is simple and obvious. Years ago, boats were made from wood out of necessity, modern boats use advanced materials for improved performance. Similarly, the American style spirit represents an evolution in vodka production, utilizing superior ingredients and techniques to create a better product.

The Role of Advanced Filtration Techniques

Advanced filtration techniques have played a crucial role in the development of the American style of neutral spirits. By using state-of-the-art filtration methods, producers can remove impurities and enhance the smoothness of the vodka. This process results in a cleaner, more enjoyable spirit.

The Importance of High-Quality Ingredients

High-quality ingredients are essential to the production of the new style of vodka made in the United States. By using the best grains, fruits, and sugarcane, producers can ensure that their vodka is of the highest quality. This focus on quality sets American vodka apart from its traditional counterparts.

Vodka ingredients that contain readily fermentable sugars, such as sugarcane, are superior because they simplify the fermentation process. These ingredients naturally convert into alcohol without needing additional enzymes to break down complex starches. This results in a cleaner, more efficient fermentation, leading to a smoother and purer final product. Moreover, using such ingredients reduces production time and the potential for off-flavors, ensuring consistent quality and a superior taste profile in the vodka.

The Sustainability of Sugarcane Vodka

Sustainability is another key aspect of American sugarcane vodka. Sugarcane is a renewable resource that can be grown and harvested with minimal environmental impact. This makes sugarcane vodka a more sustainable choice compared to vodkas made from grains or potatoes.

The Future of American-made Vodka

The future of American spirits distilling looks bright. With continued innovation and a commitment to quality, American vodka producers are poised to lead the industry. As more consumers seek out smooth, drinkable vodkas, American vodka will continue to gain popularity.

Our Take on the American Style

American-style vodka represents a new generation of spirits that prioritize smoothness and drinkability. By utilizing high-quality ingredients and advanced production techniques, American distillers have redefined the standards of vodka. Sugarcane vodka, in particular, exemplifies this new standard, offering a unique and sustainable option for vodka lovers. As the industry continues to evolve, American-style of neutral spirits will remain at the forefront, setting new benchmarks for excellence.

Kim Laderer

Kim Laderer-Veiga is the President of Felene Inc. Kim's unique and close-up knowledge of the on and off-premise alcohol business has given her a look into the trends and staples of the liquor industry. In the Kim Factor blog, Kim shares her expertise, her discoveries and her observations of the spirits business.

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