Gin and vodka are two very contrasting spirits. One is strongly linked with pine and herbal flavors, while the other is often known as an odorless, tasteless entity. Yet the two are well-known alternatives for each other in popular cocktails like Vodka/Gin and Tonic or Martini. It’s very easy to think of gin as pretty much-flavored vodka, but several factors differentiate between the two brands. Nonetheless, here are outlining differences and similarities between gin and vodka.
Vodka was made to be flavorless (except if the company decides to spice things up, making it flavored vodka), transparent, and in all ways light. Governments of advanced countries have referred to vodka as “neutral spirits or alcohol” that is filtered or treated “so as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.”
Linked to 14th-century Russian heritage, vodka is a neutral spirit old-fashionedly lacking a distinguishing character, aroma, taste or color. Nonetheless, with recent changes in trends, most vodka brands currently have products infused with fruit flavor and aroma. Gotten from the word “Voda”, which is the Russian word for water, also vodka in Russian means ‘little stream’. Its characteristics are well known to be colorless, clear and smooth. Think of Vodka as a pure spirit with a very neutral taste. It is generally distilled from the mixtures of potatoes or grains and can also be gotten from corn, wheat or even more innovative items such as grapes.
Known around the world to be one of the heaviest drinks, it’s known to have about 40% or more of alcohol content. In the EU, Vodka has a standard of about 37.5%, in Nigeria, the limit remains at 40% and sometimes higher. In Russia and Eastern Europe where vodka originated, people consume more than three times that amount.
Gin is the flavored spirit that is created by re-distillation of a high proof neutral spirit with juniper berries and other flavoring components. Its origin is dated back to Holland (17th century). The history of gin was dated back to the 11th century, where monks were known to spike crude distilled drinks with juniper berries and it was also badly used as a treatment for the black plague.
Nonetheless, the origin of the drink is credited to Franciscus de la Boe (popularly known as Doctor Sylvius); he was a seventeenth-century physician and professor of medicine at the University of Leyden. Gin was first named “Genièvre” by Boe in connection with the French word for “Juniper berry”, but English distillers abbreviated it to Gin in the late 17th century.
Gin basically gets its taste and spark from whatever product it’s re-distilled from and is produced mostly in the United Kingdom, Holland(Netherland), and the United States of America. The four recognizable types of gin are Dutch, London Dry, Plymouth, and Old Tom.
Differences Between Gin and Vodka
The notable difference between gin and vodka is particularly in the raw materials used in the production of both spirits, apart from the respective countries of origin. We can classify the differences into different sections such as distillation, taste, classification and how it’s served.
Distillation & Components
While vodka is made from the processing and purification of potatoes, rye or wheat, gin is made with the aid of distillation of malt or grain and then blended with the flavor of juniper berries. The major component of Vodka is water and ethanol while the primary part of Gin is Juniper berries.
Without a doubt, gin and vodka are both clear, uncolored spirits, but taste-wise, they both have huge differences. Vodka is basically neutral and tasteless, while gin usually has distinctive, herbal notes. But what really differentiates the flavor between these two spirits is that while vodka is water-based alcohol which attaches itself to more of a flaccid, clean finish, gin comes with eight herbal extracts used to get its unique, juniper-infused flavor.
While gin may be categorized as flavored vodka in many occasions, vodka cannot be seen as a gin. This is because gin can be re-distilled from vodka, only with added flavors and herbal extracts.
How it is served
When it comes to how these two drinks are served and taken I feel it’s clearly based on personal preference. However, Vodka is best served chilled while gin can be served without refrigeration. Consumption wise a chilled glass of vodka gives a better mouthfeel as the drink has this thick consistency at ice-cold temperatures. Gin, on the other hand, already has aromatic flavors that make up for it in taste when it is not served chilled.
There is no doubt that both Gin and Vodka are two of the most consumed alcoholic substances in the world. However, as much as we want to differentiate them there isn’t much of a difference as they are intertwined. The major factor behind the differences all come down to personal preferences, whichever way you like it, or whatever brand you like it’s always vital you remember the golden rules “Don’t drink and drive” and “Drink responsibly”.