Palatable Cheap Vodka?
First – a precautionary statement. We acknowledge this posting isn’t very “foodie” of us, in fact it’s a little immature and reminiscent of frat parties…but we certainly had a good time and thought we would share our adventure.
We’ve heard the urban myth that you can filter cheap vodka using a water filter and you end up with better testing vodka – it works for water, why not vodka? For those who know me, you know why I chose Brita, for those who don’t, it’s the #1 brand in water filtration so it makes perfect sense. But would it work? Being curious, we simply had to find out. Brita pitcher and filter in hand, we set forth for the ABC liquor store. Having never shopped the ground floor shelf of the vodka aisle we were amazed at the selection of cheap offerings. We explained our intent to the ABC employee who knew all about this little test (he has regular customers who swear by it!), he recommended we start with Aristocrat vodka. We bought two bottles of Aristocrat – 1) to filter, and 2) to taste unfiltered. Then we wanted to compare against a mid-tier brand, we didn’t think we would get to the taste level of a premium brand such as Grey Goose, so we chose Smirnoff (don’t roll your eyes, it is a mid-tier brand and priced 3X above Aristocrat!).
What better place to do this little taste test than at the Low Country Boil (previous posting) party – between the Boil and our taste test we all had a great time! We decided if we’re filtering the vodka we might as well try to get it as good as possible, so we ended up filtering the cheap stuff SIX times in our Brita filter. Sound like overkill? We’re talking about cheap vodka here, by itself it’s pretty rough. Our first round of tasting was the unfiltered version…and wow did it burn (visions of a supreme hangover danced in our heads)! Our second tasting was the filtered batch, and we have to say the filtered batch was much (MUCH) better…dare we say it was “smooth” with really no burn to it?!?! Finally, we tasted Smirnoff, and the burn promptly returned. Hands down the filtered Aristocrat tasted far better then it’s unfiltered version and surpassed the Smirnoff version too. It was unanimous among our tasters and we call our test a huge success.
Granted, it was filtered six times. A few lingering questions in our minds….first, does it improve the taste that drastically if it’s only filtered once? Second, should we compare against a premium brand like Grey Goose, obviously our expectations were too low going into this test! More research is clearly needed on this topic. Our honest conclusion at this point – filtering really did taste better but we don’t think it’ll ever reach premium level, and once it’s mixed with other things you’re not likely to really notice the difference. That’s our viewpoint, like it or not.