The Great Vodka Experiment


More New Year’s photos on flickr

So, it worked. That’s the first thing you need to know. I’m starting the story at the end, but sometimes you can get away with that.


Quite some time ago, I read this scientific paper on the filtration of vodka. The gist of it is that you can filter a cheap vodka through a charcoal filter (such as, for instance, a Brita water purifier) and get it to taste like a very expensive vodka.

I passed the link around to some friends, since it amused me, and then thought no more of it.

New Year’s Eve, my friend Kevin shows up at my place with three part bottles of flavoured Absolut (one raspberry and two vanilla), his Brita jug, and a fresh filter. He doesn’t even have to say anything to me. I know this is my fault.

I start smiling.


So after four filtrations, the raspberry vodka was significantly smoother. Kathleen’s theory was that the Brita was leaching alcohol from the vodka, which I thought plausible, but I figured it was more likely that impurities were being pulled out of the drink instead.

We also filtered one of the bottles of vanilla, but with one thing and another (you know, New Year’s), we never drank it. After the party I put it in the freezer.

Where it froze solid.

So it appears that Kathleen was right; it looks like the vodka loses alcohol, but tastes better, when it’s filtered like that.