TipsyGrrl on why you have a favorite vodka…
You know it’s true. I know it’s true. Although the recipe for vodka does not vary, you have your favorite brand.
You like the way it tastes. You like the kind of buzz it gives. You like the way it doesn’t give you a hangover. (Except that one time when… well, usually.)
And you have the brand you absolutely will not swallow, because it gives you memories of college parties that went outside the keg, and ended up outside of your memory.
But what is it that allows mixtures of 40% pure ethanol and 60% pure water to taste so different from one another?
Chemists (with TipsyGrrl-approved priorities) believe they’ve discovered what gives. Seems vodkas are not simple solutions of ethanol and water, but hold a more complex structure within their liquid.
In the 1950s Linus Pauling postulated that some substances dissolved in water will form clusters of molecules called hydrates. Using “high-tech” imaging instruments, scientists reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that the concentration and shape of the ethanol hydrates in vodka differed noticeably from brand to brand.
I’ve long wondered about the different kinds of buzz you get from varying types of swill, which all use ethanol to do the job. I’ll bet the diversity of hydrate-super-structure is the key.
Ahh, science. You taste so good.
Photo: Museum of Vodka in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. credit