Key Difference: Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash. Depending on the geographical region or type of whiskey that is being made, whiskey can be made from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. They are often aged in charred barrels. 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.
Alcoholic drinks serve a variety of purposes today. It is present at almost every event such as a party or a get-together. It can also be served as an ice breaker on a new date or as many people claim it help drown out sorrows and other worries. They have practically become a main part of our culture. There are a variety of different alcoholic beverages that can be consumed including vodka, whiskey, gin, rum, scotch, tequila, etc. However, each drink differs in terms of flavor, appearance, process of making etc. Whiskey and Vodka are two different alcoholic beverages.
Whiskey or whisky is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from any form of fermented grain mash. Depending on the geographical region or type of whiskey that is being made, whiskey can be made from barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn. They are often aged in charred barrels. According to Wikipedia, the word ‘whiskey’ is the anglicisation of the Gaelic word ‘uisce|uisge’ meaning “water”. Distilled water was known in Latin as aqua vitae meaning “water of life”. The process of distillation can be dated back to the Greeks in Alexandria around the 3rd century AD; however they did not distill alcohol only spirits for fragrance purposes. The distillation process was passed down through the ages to Italy in the 13th century AD where the first distillation process of alcohol took place and alcohol was distilled from wine. The alcohol was originally used for medicinal purposes before it become consumable as a beverage. Whiskey first become popular as a beverage in Scotland before it spread to other neighboring countries.
There are various different types of whiskey and they differ in terms of base product, alcoholic content and quality. The main two types include malt whisky and grain whisky. Malt whisky is made primarily from malted barley, while grain whisky is made from any type of grain. Malting is when the grain is put under the process of germination. Germination requires the barley being placed in water for a certain amount of time and being constantly turned to ensure proper soaking. Whiskies can further be classified under:
- Single malt whisky: is whisky that is from a single distillery and is made from a mash that uses only one particular type of malted grain.
- Blended malt whisky: is a blend of different malt whiskies from different distilleries.
- Blended whiskies: is whiskey that is made from a mixture of malt and grain whiskies along with neutral spirits, caramel, and flavoring.
- Cask strength: These whiskies are bottled directly from the cask and are undiluted or only a little diluted. These are rare whiskies.
- Single cask: Each bottle of a single barrel whiskey is from an individual cask with the cask number labeled on the bottle.
Whiskies must be strengthened and aged in a barrel. They do not mature in the bottle, hence if a person keeps the whiskey bottle over a long time, it would not become any stronger in flavor or alcohol content. The alcohol content and mash content varies depending on the regulations of the geographic region. The whiskies require a charred oak barrel during the aging process, which provides them with the golden brown and amber coloring. Additional flavors and colors can be added to the alcohol depending on the regulations.
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. The 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.
Though the major similarity in vodka and whiskey is that both of them require fermentation as well as distillation in order to turn the mash into alcohol, they are different in terms of content, strength and flavor. Vodka can be offered in a variety of fruit flavors and has a sweet taste to it compared to whiskey. Whiskey also has a milder taste. Whiskey must also be aged, while vodka does not require any aging. Both vodka and whiskies are used as ingredients in many cocktails.
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