Here’s a potato vodka question for you trivia buffs. What is the best use of the common potato? Potato chips? French fries? No! The answer, and you would know this if you knew how to appreciate the good things in life, is potato vodka.
Of course potatoes are not necessary to make vodka. Vodka is basically just pure distilled alcohol (ethanol) and water. Therefore, vodka can be distilled from any sugary or starchy plant and these days is most commonly made from grains such as wheat, rye, molasses, sorghum, corn and even rice. Other ingredients such as grapes and sugar beets can also be used to make passable vodka. But, as many true aficionados of fine vodka will tell you, some of the best and smoothest vodka is made from the simple, humble potato.
Long ago, before vodka became popular and mass produced in distilleries, many people made homemade potato vodka. Potatoes were used because they are one of the simplest ingredients to prepare and ferment. They were also fairly common in most areas where vodka was popular. Once mass production began, other things, namely wheat, were more plentiful and cheaper and became the primary vodka ingredient. This continued for years with only a few smaller distilleries, mostly in Russia and Poland, producing potato vodka. Fortunately, there’s been a fairly major resurgence of potato vodka. There are popular potato vodka brands available in most markets. Though knowing how to make potato vodka is a great skill to have and making your own is fun, there are plenty of quality potato vodkas on the market.
The polish potato vodka Chopin, named after the Polish composer Frederick Chopin, is often viewed as the top quality potato vodka on the market. It was the gold medal recipient in both the prestigious 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the 2011 Los Angeles World Sprits Competition. It is considered a luxury potato vodka and requires at least seven pounds of potatoes for each liter of vodka produced. Though Chopin might be considered by many to be the world’s best potato vodka, it certainly doesn’t have to be your only choice.Due to the extremely strict practices in the brewing process and the ingredients used, Chopin vodka is considered kosher and does not require the special certification of inspection that many other vodka brands require. It may also be approved for consumption during the Jewish Passover celebration.
Blue Ice Potato Vodka
Although when we mention potato vodka, we usually speak of either Polish or Russian potato vodka, other countries also produce some fine beverages. One of those is the United States, whose Distilled Resources, Inc. distillery produces Blue Ice Vodka, which is currently the only brand of potato vodka produced in the United States. Blue Ice vodka is made from the popular Idaho Russet Burbank potato. This vodka is consistently rated among the best vodkas in competitions across the United States.
Gluten Free Vodka
Gluten is a protein product that is found in wheat products. It has been identified as a substance which a certain portion of the population are quite allergic to it. This is known as Celiac disease and can cause huge problems for those affected. Most vodkas – even those produced directly from grains – are considered to be gluten free since they are produced via multiple fractional distillations. This results in a high degree of purity and makes it very unlikey that any gluten could be carried over into the final product. However, for anyone who is highly sensitive or otherwise paranoid of the possibility of coming into contact with gluten, vodka made from potatoes would be our number one choice for allaying those fears – though there are several other options.
Potato Vodka and Passover
Foods and beverages that may be consumed during Passover must meet exacting standards in several areas. Fermented beverages made from grain are not permitted due to the production of chametz during the fermentation process. Chemetz is not produced during the production of potato vodka, making it a popular celebratory drink for Jewish worshipers during Passover.
Potato Vodka Calories
At seven calories per gram, it is true that alcohol packs a lot of calories – more than protein or carbohydrates, which give four calories per gram, and almost as much as fat which give 9 calories per gram. Interestingly alcohol does not fit into any of those other nutrient categories, so you will see manufacturers making misleading (but true) claims that their liquor is “low fat” or “low carb”. However the fact is your body will exclusively burn the alcohol in your system until it is all gone before getting back to processing the other nutrients. So if you are on a diet and trying to burn fat to lose weight, or gain muscle by taking in extra protein, then drinking alcohol can slow the process and this should be taken into consideration by anyone who is on a body modification program. If you are simply counting calories, you should add a bit over 100 calories for each 1.5 oz shot of 80 proof vodka you drink.
So besides being delicious, pure and high quality, Potato Vodka is also kosher and drinkable during Passover. If those aren’t enough reasons for you to try potato vodka, there’s always the simple pleasure of drinking a beverage that’s somewhat out of the mainstream. But if that’s your reason for trying potato vodka, you’d better move fast because its popularity is growing every day.