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Kindred Spirits. Potato, Gold and Diamond… What is vodka made of?

Think vodka is a tasteless spirit that’s only good for mixing? Think again. It can have amazing nuances when it comes to flavor 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 truly be. 

What a combo! How is vodka made?

Vodka can be produced from just about any agricultural material that has starch and natural sugar that can be fermented and then distilled. It can be a vegetable (potatoes, beets), fruit (grapes), sugar, but the best-known ingredients are grains like rice, corn, and particularly wheat, barley, rye and buckwheat.

A “mash” is then made, which helps break down the starches, then the first fermentation creates some alcohol. What’s left must then be distilled, even several times, to purify the spirit and increase the content of alcohol. Each ingredient, meanwhile, reacts in a slightly different way to the distilling process and imparts its own subtle aromas, flavors and texture to the vodka. Potato-made vodkas may have a distinct oiliness, while wheat vodkas tend to be lighter and citrusy. Grape vodkas may be grapey, even grappa-y. Rye offers up something particularly special when it comes to vodka. Dańkowskie Rye, in particular, is capable of displaying unique characteristics and producing some exceptionally colorful styles of the spirit.

Deep dive into Belvedere’s Gold and Diamond mines

Dańkowskie Gold Rye

Grown in the Mazovian plains of western Poland, the highly-prized and rather scarce Dańkowskie Gold Rye has a high starch content that gives it a soft but distinctive flavor. 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, this spirit is distilled four times using purified water from Belvedere’s own wells. These four distillations  are what Belvedere is proud of and what gives their vodkas a unique character. 

 Dańkowskie Diamond Rye

Dańkowskie Diamond Rye is a rare baker grade rye grown by a handful of Polish farmers. It has less starch, which means less spirit is produced and it’s also harder to make. It must be very carefully distilled and when successful, the result is a complex, broad spectrum of flavors and an unbelievable texture. Belvedere Vodka, already at the 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 savory caramel notes and a whiff of white pepper. It’s time to ditch the mixers, so grab a glass, drop in some ice and savor the subtle complexities of the finest vodkas.