When looking at spirits, you have colored spirits that taste very different, such as whiskey or brandy. You also have clear-colored spirits, such as vodka and gin. However, how do they taste? Does gin taste like vodka too?
Gin tastes very differently than vodka. vodka is made to have a neutral taste, perhaps some faint sweetness, and a mild burn from the alcohol. Gin is the other way around.
When making gin, distillers infuse flavors from plants and fruits into the base alcohol. This gives the gin a stronger taste and sweetness.
This article explores whether vodka and gin taste the same and how similar they are. Finally, we discuss if you can turn vodka to taste like gin.
Are Gin And Vodka Similar?
Gin and vodka are similar, only to a certain extent. The main difference is that gin goes through an additional step before dilution. This step is called infusion, where flavors from plants, herbs, and fruits are infused into the liquor. Vodka does not go through this step and gets diluted and bottled immediately.
Gin and vodka are one of the most popular spirits in the world. They also have an external appearance that may cause people to think they are similar. However, they share some similarities and also differences:
Higher ABV (Alcohol By Volume): Both gin and vodka are usually diluted and bottled to an ABV of around 35-45%. Some forms of vodka and gin are bottled at even higher ABV, such as Navy Strength Gin or Pincer vodka.
Clear Spirit: In many cases, gin and vodka are clear in color. This is because they are generally not kept in casks or have colorings.
Not Aged: Most types of gin and vodka are not aged. This means they are diluted, immediately bottled, and sold in the market once distilled. This may explain why they do not pick up color from the wooden casks, such as whiskey or brandy.
Flavor: Gin generally has more taste and flavor than vodka. Vodka generally contains no taste, with a faint hint of sweetness and a slight alcohol burn on the throat during drinking. Gin, however, comes with various flavors, thanks to herbs, plants, and fruits. Common tastes and flavors may include Juniper berry, floral, fruity, and more.
Origin: Gin and vodka also have different origins. Gin may be traced back to 11th-century Italy but is more associated with England today. The English picked up gin drinking and making from the Dutch and Belgians, who first made them as Jenever. The world’s top-selling gins are English in origin.
Vodka may have its origin in Poland and Russia, with its first documented production as early as the late 9th century. However, vodka is made worldwide today, although most popular vodka brands are Russian in origin.
Botanicals: This may be the most essential difference between vodka and gin. Gin uses a mixture of herbs, plants, and fruits during the making process. They are collectively called botanicals. The flavors from these botanicals are then infused into the gin, giving it its taste. vodka does not use botanicals, which means they keep a neutral flavor.
Does Gin Taste Like Vodka?
Gin does not taste like vodka. This is because gin contains additional flavorings, thanks to the botanicals. The flavors of these herbs, plants, and fruits are infused into the gin, giving it a unique taste. Vodka does not contain botanicals, which retain a neutral, almost tasteless flavor.
Gin and vodka look clear and colorless. Despite having a similar physical presentation, gin and vodka do not taste the same. In fact, they taste rather polar opposites of each other.
This is because gin usually contains two different ingredients added to it that vodka does not have.
First is the botanicals. Botanicals are basically a unique blend of herbs, plants, and spices. Different gin markers may create their own blend of botanicals. However, common ingredients include juniper berries, citrus peels, or angelica roots.
These botanicals are washed and combined with the base alcohol to make gin. This process is called infusion and may be done differently by the gin maker. Some may steep the botanicals with the alcohol together, while some use steam.
The flavor of the botanicals eventually gets absorbed into the base alcohol, turning it into gin. This means gin also carries the flavor of the botanicals infused into it.
You generally do not use any botanicals in the production of Vodka. As a result, vodka usually retains the neutral taste of alcohol with a very faint hint of sweetness.
Certain types of gin, such as Old Tom Gin, may have added sweeteners. These sweeteners may be added during dilution, where distilled gin is diluted down to suitable ABV levels before bottling.
This means gin may taste sweeter than common vodka. Common vodka tastes neutral, with a faint hint of sweetness, and some alcohol burns on the throat.
Some flavored vodka may have sweeteners added to them. However, this is not common and may not be seen by many as pure vodka.
Can You Use Vodka To Make Gin?
You can use vodka to make gin. You first distill the vodka to increase its alcohol by volume (ABV) and then infuse the flavors from the botanicals into it. Then distill it again to purify it before diluting it to common ABV levels similar to gin.
In many ways, you can use vodka as the base alcohol to make gin. This is because vodka is clear and neutral in taste. You can easily infuse botanical flavors into the vodka and turn it into gin.
You first need to distill the vodka to increase alcohol by volume. Then you steep your botanicals into the vodka to infuse flavor. After 24 to 48 hours, you can redistill the vodka to remove any impurities.
At this point, your vodka has turned to undiluted gin. You can now dilute the gin to the desired ABV levels and convert vodka to gin.
While both vodka and gin are clear-colored spirits, they have distinct flavor profiles. Vodka is designed to be neutral in taste, whereas gin is infused with botanical flavors, resulting in a more complex and flavorful spirit.
While some vodka brands may have subtle variations in taste, they are generally not comparable to the distinct taste of gin. And while it’s possible to infuse vodka with botanicals to mimic the taste of gin, it’s always best to enjoy each spirit for its unique taste and characteristics.
So whether you prefer the smooth simplicity of vodka or the bold flavors of gin, always drink responsibly and enjoy your spirits in moderation.
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