Kindred Spirits. Potato, Gold and Diamond… What is vodka made of?
Think vodka is a tasteless spirit, only good for mixing? Think again. It can have incredible subtleties of flavour and texture and things are only getting better; with new, single-estate vodkas that really tell the story of their ‘terroir’, vodka producers are really showing how fine this spirit can be.
What a mash up! How is vodka made?
Vodka can be produced from just about any agricultural material with starch and natural sugar that can be fermented and then distilled, be it vegetable (potatoes, beets), fruit (grapes), sugar, but the best-known ingredients are cereals: rice, corn and particularly wheat, barley, rye and buckwheat.
A ‘mash’ is made, which helps break down the starches, then the first fermentation creates some alcohol. What’s left then must be distilled, sometimes, several times, in order to purify the spirit and increase the alcohol content. While each ingredient reacts in a slightly different way to the distilling process, and will impart their own subtle aromas, flavours and texture to the vodka. Potato-made vodkas may have a distinct oiliness, while wheat vodkas tend to be lighter and citrussy; and grape vodkas may be grapey, even grappa-y. Rye offers up something particularly special when it comes to vodka and Dańkowskie Rye in particular, is capable of displaying unique characteristics and producing some exceptionally characterful styles of the spirit.
Deep dive into Belvedere’s Gold and Diamond mines
Dankowskie Gold Rye
Grown in the Mazovian plains of western Poland, the high-prized and rather scarce Dańkowskie Gold rye has a high starch content, and gives a soft but distinctive flavour. A pure expression of Dańkowskie Gold Rye can be tasted in the award-winning Belvedere Vodka: soft, nutty (Brazil nut, almond) lightly spiced (vanilla, white pepper) and creamy-smooth, the spirit is distilled four times using purified water from Belvedere’s own artesian wells. These four distillation that Belvedere is proud off is what helps give its vodkas their unique character.
Dańkowskie Diamond Rye
Dańkowskie Diamond rye is a rare baker grade rye, grown by a handful of Polish farmers, with less starch which means, less spirit is produced and it’s harder to make. It must be very carefully distilled but when it is, the result is a complex, broad spectrum of flavours and incredible texture. Belvedere vodka, already top of their game for their award-winning Polish vodkas, is now seeking to push the boundaries of what the spirit can do by offering vodkas from single estates using Dańkowskie Diamond Rye...
Single Estate Rye ‘Lake Bartężek’
In the cold and snowy Bartężek estate in Poland’s Masurian Lake District, the Dańkowskie Diamond Rye is stressed by the climate, which in turns yields a delicate, honeyed style of vodka. Leaving it unfiltered allows its true depth of lakeside characteristic to shine through. Sip it neat over ice to experience the subtle floral and spearmint aromatics, enhanced by marzipan and sugared almond notes.
Single Estate Rye ‘Smogóry Forest’
Very different from the Bartężek estate, the Smogóry Forest’ terroir yields a much richer, more robust, vodka thanks to its milder climate and lush, fertile soils. Over ice, you’ll find savoury caramel notes and a whiff of white pepper. It’s time to ditch the mixers, so grab a glass, drop in some ice and savour the subtle complexities of the finest vodkas.