Author Topic: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'  (Read 2266 times)

HipGnosis

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Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« on: March 04, 2020, 06:58:06 AM »
https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-crappy-cheap-vodka-taste-like-good-stuff-0152103/

"Yes, it's true, pouring vodka several times through an ordinary water filter like a Brita or Pur can really improve the taste of vodka. A test by America's Test Kitchen showed a marked improvement in flavor, especially when the vodka was used in cocktails or cooking. You have to run it through the filter four or five times to get a noticeable difference in taste."

RWD

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2020, 08:16:09 AM »
I remember hearing about this around a decade ago and there was a question of whether it was actually cheaper because of the cost of Brita filters. I see the article didn't try to do any actual cost calculations.

A Brita filter needs to be replaced every 40 gallons of water (probably more often for Vodka, but I couldn't find any numbers). Cost of a filter is around $5. They say you need to run it through 4 times. So $0.50/gallon added cost best case scenario which sounds reasonable.

This article claims it doesn't actually make much difference though:
https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/to-brita-or-not-to-brita-your-cheap-vodka/

dcheesi

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2020, 09:00:34 AM »
In my personal experience, it's better/easier to identify the type of commercial vodka that has the best taste/price ratio for you. For me, it turns out that I like corn-based vodka, which tends to be moderately priced; YMMV of course.

Many USian vodkas are made from corn, and I find it provides the best combination of neutral flavor and minimal after-burn. I honestly prefer it over the likes of Grey Goose, etc., which tend to have too much alcohol-burn on the back end. My initial discovery of corn vodka was with a relatively pricey local distillery, but I later found Tito's, which is a moderately priced national option with similar flavor.

SpacemanSpiff

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 03:38:13 PM »
Mythbusters did an episode on this.  They brought in a vodka connoisseur, and put 11 different levels of filtration of a cheap vodka in front of him, Jamie, and Adam (or maybe just one of Jamie and Adam?) - not filtered, filtered once, filtered 2x, filtered 3x... up to filtered 10x.  Each taster then tried to arrange the samples from least to most filtered.  Jamie and/or Adam had no idea and could not tell the difference at all.  The connoisseur perfectly ordered them, but emphasized that the improvement was so slight that it was still significantly worse than even a slightly nicer vodka.

Moral of the story: the only people who can tell the difference are people who are going to want much nicer vodka than 10x filtered cheap vodka.

TLDR: Probably not worth the time (or minute savings left over after paying for filters, etc). 

dcheesi probably has the right idea above: "better/easier to identify the type of commercial vodka that has the best taste/price ratio for you"

Maenad

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2020, 05:23:11 AM »
Years ago the NYTimes did a taste testing of vodkas, and found that the "cleanest", with the least taste (which is what vodka is supposed to be) was Smirnoff. That's what I've used ever since for making vanilla extract, liqueurs, etc. They found that cost != quality.

Davnasty

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2020, 09:43:41 AM »
You can also buy activated carbon by the pound so that you're not paying for all the plastic that comes with a Brita filter.

Filling a hose/pipe/funnel with carbon and running the vodka through would be more efficient all around. With a Brita filter you're filtering through the same tiny bit of carbon again and again. You need much more carbon to get noticeable results. When I distilled my own alcohol I ran it multiple times through a 6' hose holding several pounds of carbon until the taste was clean. Using Brita filters to do the same thing would have taken thousands of runs through and probably hundreds of filters.

In principal using Brita filters make sense but the scale is way off.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 09:48:30 AM by Davnasty »

GuitarStv

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 09:48:11 AM »
There's a much simpler way to make cheap vodka taste better - increase consumption.  About the fifth or sixth shot and the taste is much less of a problem.

HipGnosis

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2020, 11:36:14 AM »
You can also buy activated carbon by the pound so that you're not paying for all the plastic that comes with a Brita filter.

Filling a hose/pipe/funnel with carbon and running the vodka through would be more efficient all around. With a Brita filter you're filtering through the same tiny bit of carbon again and again. You need much more carbon to get noticeable results. When I distilled my own alcohol I ran it multiple times through a 6' hose holding several pounds of carbon until the taste was clean. Using Brita filters to do the same thing would have taken thousands of runs through and probably hundreds of filters.

In principal using Brita filters make sense but the scale is way off.

Dang, just when I gave up on this idea....

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Buy cheap vodka, make it taste like 'good stuff'
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2020, 07:42:29 PM »
NPR just did an episode of planet money about vodka, the results were basically the cheap stuff is not much different from the expensive stuff at least based on science tested for impurities.