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.