Difference between Vodka and Gin

Key Difference: Vodka is a distilled spirit that is composed of water and ethanol. Gin is a spirit that is derived predominantly from juniper berries.

There are various different types of alcoholic beverages that are available for consumption including beer, whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, etc. All of these have similar purposes to get the person intoxicated. Some alcohol aficionados drink such drinks with only water or specific additions to maintain the flavor. Vodka is a similar drink that is drunk either with water or neat. Vodka and gin are two different drinks, though they make look similar. They differ in taste and the process through which they are made. Don’t become fooled on how they look.

First of all alcoholic drinks are created by juice of some product (barley, wheat, grapes, etc.), to which then yeast is added to remove the sugar from the product. After the yeast removes the sugar, the drink then becomes alcohol with a very low proof. Now, if the drink is supposed to stronger then it is distilled (a process of evaporation) a few times till it is the strength that is needed. The process of distillation removes the water from the alcohol, leaving purer substances which are stronger. The strength of the drinks is then placed on the bottle in terms of proof; ever notice the 75 or 80 proof on the bottles?

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Vodka is a distilled spirit that is composed of water and ethanol. It is made by distilling juices from various fermented substances such as grains, potatoes and sometimes sugar or fruit. The distillation from sugar and fruit are also sold as flavored vodka. Vodkas were introduced in the United States after 1940s, before this time it was sold in countries such as Belarusian, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian. The traditional vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 80 proof. In European Union, requires vodkas to have minimum 37.5% ABV for any "European vodka" to be known as vodka. United states requires minimum 30%.

The term ‘vodka’ is derived from the Slavic word voda (water) and is often believed to refer to vodka as little water due to its clear color. Traditionally, vodka was a drink that was expected to be consumed neat (without any additives) in the vodka belt countries of Eastern Europe. However, these days vodka plays a main ingredient in many cocktails including Bloody Mary, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Moscow Mule, White Russian, Black Russian, etc. It can also be consumed with soft drinks or is often great for mixing with gin and tonic.

Gin is a spirit that is derived predominantly from juniper berries. It is the flavoring of other spirits with extracts of juniper berries to give it a certain taste. The spirit is made using any fermented grain mesh such as barley, rye or any other grains.Originally, gin was consumed as medicine before evolving to its current alcoholic status. The main flavor of gin is the juniper berries; however the flavor of the berries varies depending on different places. The history of gin dates back to the 11th century, where monks were known to flavor crude distilled drinks with juniper berries and it was also unsuccessfully used as remedy for the black plague. However, the Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius is credited for inventing gin. The term gin is derived from either the French ‘genièvre’ or the Dutch ‘jenever’, both of which mean “juniper.”

There are four different types of gin:

  • Juniper-Flavoured Spirit Drinks: These are the earliest class of gins, which are produced by pot distilling fermented grain mash. They are approximately 68% ABV in strength and are then redistilled with aromatic compounds.
  • Gin:  These are also juniper flavored, however they are not distilled with juniper or aromatic compounds, but the juniper flavor is added later on. It must have the predominant flavor of juniper in order to be sold as gin.
  • Distilled gin: Distilled gin is made by exclusively redistilling ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin and has an initial strength of 95% ABV. It is also added with additional juniper berries and other natural botanicals.
  • London gin: Wikipedia describes London gin as, “London gin is obtained exclusively from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with a maximum methanol content of 5 grams per hectolitre of 100% ABV equivalent, whose flavour is introduced exclusively through the re-distillation in traditional stills of ethyl alcohol in the presence of all the natural plant materials used, the resultant distillate of which is at least 70% ABV. London gin may not contain added sweetening exceeding 0.1 gram of sugars per litre of the final product, nor colorants, nor any added ingredients other than water. The term London gin may be supplemented by the term ‘dry’.”

In short, gin can be known as flavored vodka. Vodka and gin do vary in taste and when consumed side by side a person can often tell the difference among them. Vodkas are also available in a variety of flavors including apple, orange, lemon, lime, etc.

Image Courtesy: delood.com, melissafoodie.blogspot.com

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