Difference between Whiskey and Vodka

Key Difference: Whiskey or whiskey 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 helps drown out sorrows and other worries. They have practically become the 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, the process of making, etc. Whiskey and Vodka are two different alcoholic beverages. See the difference between Gin and Rum.

Whiskey or whiskey 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 anglicization 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 became consumable as a beverage. Whiskey first became popular as a beverage in Scotland before it spread to other neighboring countries.

See the difference: White Rum Vs. Dark Rum

There are various different types of whiskey and they differ in terms of the base product, alcoholic content, and quality. The main two types include malt whiskey and grain whiskey. Malt whiskey is made primarily from malted barley, while grain whiskey 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.

Whiskeys can further be classified under: 

  • Single malt whiskey: is whiskey that is from a single distillery and is made from a mash that uses only one particular type of malted grain.
  • Blended malt whiskey: is a blend of different malt whiskeys from different distilleries.
  • Blended whiskeys: is whiskey that is made from a mixture of malt and grain whiskeys along with neutral spirits, caramel, and flavoring.
  • Cask strength: These whiskeys are bottled directly from the cask and are undiluted or only a little diluted. These are rare whiskeys.
  • Single cask: Each bottle of a single barrel whiskey is from an individual cask with the cask number labeled on the bottle.

Whiskeys 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 whiskeys 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.

See Rum Vs. Brandy 

What is VodkaVodka 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 the 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 the European Union, requires vodkas to have minimum 37.5% ABV for any "European vodka" to be known as vodka. The United States requires a minimum of 30%.

Know how Rum and Vodka are different: Rum Vs. Vodka

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 the 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 whiskeys are used as ingredients in many cocktails.

See: Moonshine Vs. Whiskey

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