Vodka is a type of liquor with a rich history originating from several countries across eastern Europe and Scandinavia, most notably in Poland, Sweden, and Russia. In many of these countries, vodka has been produced and enjoyed for centuries. Its popularity has grown and spread throughout the world. It is typically made without flavor, but various flavors can be added in the distilling process, and this versatility, along with its high alcohol content of 40% abv or above, has made vodka one of the most iconic types of liquor. Whether you enjoy it neat or as part of an after-work Moscow Mule, or as a Cosmopolitan on a Friday night, or as a Sunday morning Bloody Mary, you may be wondering if you should choose an organic vodka on your next trip to the liquor store.
How Vodka is made
Like many other spirits, vodka is produced in a distillery. It can be distilled from any sugar- or starch-rich plant matter. Typically, it is made from grains such as wheat or sorghum but it is also frequently made from potatoes or rice as well. Many distilleries in the U.S. and in Europe make vodka from 95% pure grain alcohol. In the U.S., grain alcohol is commonly produced from corn.
This base spirit is distilled and filtered several times and then diluted with water to produce the desired alcohol level. Flavors can be infused after the distillation process by the addition of herbs, fruits, or spices.
What makes a Vodka Organic?
Organic vodka is produced entirely from organic ingredients, and the distilling process is conducted in smaller batches than non-organic vodka and without anything that would disturb the organic nature of the beverage.
To be labeled organic, vodka must meet the requirements to be certified USDA organic. This means that all ingredients must be organic and non-GMO, and all agents used in the processing, such as flavors, filtering aids, cornstarch, must be organic and non-GMO as well. The grains/crops used to make the vodka must also be grown on an organic farm without toxic synthetic pesticides. Another factor that can’t be overlooked is the water used in vodka. A vodka that is 80-proof is 60% water by volume and the quality and purity of the water can have a huge effect on the vodka’s taste. Organic vodka brands tend to be highly selective and careful with the water they use. These brands typically choose smaller local distilleries that put a lot of pride into the taste and quality of their product.
In short, a lot more care goes into the distilling process than conventional vodka brands. The higher quality natural ingredients means that drinking organic vodka is not only healthier for you and the environment, but it often has a richer and more unique taste to it.
Try these American-made Organic Vodkas
- Ocean Organic Vodka– Ocean Vodka is distilled in Hawaii from organic sugar cane grown on the island of Maui and deep ocean mineral water from 3000 feet below the Kona coast. The brand is certified USDA and gluten-free.
- Frankly Organic Vodka- Frankly Vodka is another USDA approved vodka made from organic sweet corn as well as organic fruits. It comes in unflavored as well as apple, pomegranate, strawberry, and grapefruit flavors. This smooth and slightly sweet vodka is distilled in small batches in Austin, Texas. The brand contributes 1% of its revenue to animal welfare causes.
- Prairie Organic Vodka- Prairie Vodka is made from organic yellow corn grown on Midwestern family farms. The brand is based in Minnesota and its vodkas are all USDA-organic and gluten-free. The brand distills an unflavored vodka and a cucumber-flavored vodka that are the recipients of numerous awards. Their distilling process is done in small batches and is powered 100% by renewable energy. The brand makes it a point of emphasis to not let anything go to waste by sharing excess grains with animals on neighboring farms and by contributing excess spirit to the production of corn oil for biofuels.
- American Harvest Organic Vodka- American Harvest vodka is made from organic wheat grown in Idaho and water from beneath the Snake River plain. This 100% American-made vodka is certified USDA Organic. One-third of the power used in the distillery comes from windmills which shows the brand’s commitment to sustainability. In addition, by-products of the distilling process are used for cattle feed. One-dollar of each purchase is donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross to help medical professionals and engineers improve the living conditions in Ukraine in light of the recent Russian invasion.
Your choices at the liquor store and bar matter
The next time you make a trip to the liquor store to pick up some vodka for your upcoming festive gathering, you may want to consider one of the organic vodka brands listed above. In addition to improving the quality of your drinking experience, choosing organic vodka supports organic farming practices and is better for the environment.
Is your favorite vodka not on our list? Let us know by leaving a comment or contacting us here.