Vodka. Good old vodka. A classical spirit that can be consumed on its own, or mixed with pretty much anything. It is an alcohol that has gained a lot of popularity in the cocktail world due to it being an incredibly versatile spirit.
Ketel One Vodka and Tito’s Handmade Vodka are two very popular brands of this spirit. They are both companies that are passionate about providing a good quality product.
This article will be comparing the two, covering how their spirits are made, what they taste like and some fun cocktails you can make with their vodkas!
Before we go into all that, let’s unpack some of the history behind vodka and what it’s actually made of.
A Brief History Of Vodka And How It Is Made
Vodka is one of the most popular spirits on the market today. It is a strong, clear liquid that is said to have originated in Russia and Eastern Europe.
There are arguments on whether Russia or Poland is its true home, as the word was said to have been written first in 1405 in some court documents in Poland, whereas the first documentation for vodka in Russia was in the 1700s. Therefore, the argument is still ongoing.
‘Vodka’ is said to mean ‘water’ in Russian, and was popular in Europe before spreading to the rest of the globe. It is a spirit that is consumed widely in Russia, Poland, and Belarus, where locals tend to drink it pure.
Its main ingredients are water and ethanol, and it is generally produced through the fermentation of grains such as wheat, rye, and sometimes potatoes. It is then distilled to purify it and remove any unwanted elements.
Unlike gin and tequila, which take on the flavors of the ingredients used, such as agave and juniper berries, vodka is a spirit that isn’t supposed to take on any flavors used in its ingredients.
This is what makes it so versatile, as it doesn’t have a flavor that will contrast with many mixers.
Some brands distill the vodka several times to ensure it is of the highest quality. An example of this is the French vodka brand, Ciroc, (see also: Best Ciroc Flavors)which is distilled five times.
Depending on the water quality used, some vodkas are then passed through a filtering system or are demineralized to prevent cloudiness from forming.
Some are filtered through quartz crystals or charcoal to remove unwanted impurities. Depending on what the vodka has been filtered through will depend on the final taste and aroma of the product.
The typical alcohol content of vodka is around 40%, but there are some with a much higher content. These brands, such as Devil Spring, must be mixed with other non-alcoholic liquids and should not be consumed on their own.
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A definite crowd-pleaser, Ketel One has been producing vodka for nearly 40 years! The family-run business is based in the Netherlands and has produced this crystal clear vodka (see also: Crystal Head Vodka Review)entirely from wheat, which creates a softer spirit.
Once it has been distilled in column stills, some of it will be further distilled in copper pot stills that are coal-fueled, which adds to its flavor.
It carries a sweet, herb aroma, that is soft, resembling notes of citrus. Its taste is very smooth, offering you a grainy sweetness along with a texture that is soft. Its finish has some peppery notes that linger on your tongue while still remaining sweet.
This vodka is said to be super soft and clean, making it a good option for pouring over some ice and consuming it neat.
Devoted to meeting the needs of all their customers, Ketel One provides you with a variety of cocktails you can try at home using their signature vodka.
This classic cocktail is a staple in bars and is said to improve a hangover!
The ingredients are 2 ounces of Ketel One Vodka, 3 ounces of tomato juice, 1 ounce of Harveys Bristol Cream, 8 drops of Tabasco, 4 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce, 2 dashes of celery salt, 2 grinds of black pepper, and 2 rings of chopped yellow bell pepper.
Start by adding the pepper to the bottom of a shaker and add in the rest of the ingredients. Rather than shaking, you are to rock the shaker with ice and then strain the liquid into a glass filled with ice.
The usual garnish for this cocktail is a celery stick, but some prefer to be creative and use some unusual options such as beef jerky and lobster.
A simpler, less ingredient-heavy cocktail than the beloved Bloody Mary is this Almost Famous option. This is perfect for a warm summer’s day, as it is fruity and refreshing.
All you will need is one ounce of Kettle One Vodka, one tablespoon of fresh lime juice and agave syrup, 1 ounce of fresh guava juice, and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters.
Just shake all the ingredients together along with some ice and strain it into a glass. You can garnish it with a nice chunk of ice and there you go!
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While Ketel One Vodka has been created in the Netherlands, Tito’s Homemade Vodka originates in Austin, Texas. This product is distilled from corn, and is, therefore, gluten-free, and has been certified as so by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.
This vodka has been distilled using a pot still and is then filtered through activated carbon and every bunch is taste-tested. Its taste resembles that of black pepper spice, along with a sweet creamy feel.
Its aroma is spicy and peppery and has an aftertaste that is also peppery.
Rather than using a fancy glass bottle that makes vodka look expensive, Tito’s uses a regular bottle with a brown label he designed himself in 1994.
This adds to the authenticity of the brand of vodka, and he states himself that he did not want to have to spend more money and energy designing a bottle when that time and money could be invested in making the best alcohol out there.
For those of you who prefer not to drink vodka neat, but can appreciate it in a yummy cocktail, Tito’s Handmade Vodka can be used in several cocktails, with recipes provided by Tito himself! Here are a few:
Tito’s Cucumber Cooler
Perfect for those summer evenings when you need to cool down, this simple cocktail will do just that!
All you need is 1 ½ ounce of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 3 ounces of green tea (iced), ½ an ounce of lemon juice (fresh if possible), 5 cucumber slices, 5 mint sprigs, and some agave is optional.
All you need to do is combine the mint and cucumber in a shaker and add the vodka, green tea, lemon juice, and ice. Shake this about and strain the liquid over some cool fresh ice.
Garnish it with a cucumber slice (you can cut it into any shape of your choice if you want to be creative) and some mint, and you’re good to go!
Tito’s Spiked Strawberry Smoothie
Fancy adding a little fun to your afternoon smoothie? Try this simple fruity smoothie that is guaranteed to cool you down and add a little spice to your day.
You’ll need 5 ounces of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 4 ounces of Lemonade, 8 sliced strawberries, 2 cups of ice, and some blueberries for your garnish.
Just throw all of your ingredients into a blender, blending until you are left with a smooth texture. Pour it into your favorite glass and add your blueberries as garnish!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kettle One Vodka Good Quality?
Kettle One vodka is known as one of the cleanest and smoothest vodkas on the market, making it a high-quality option. It is meant to be a good option if you enjoy vodka on its own over some ice.
It’s also popular for making vodka martinis or vodka tonics due to its smooth taste and texture.
Is Ketel One Made With Potatoes?
Ketel One is made from grains such as wheat. Others made with grains are brands such as Smirnoff and Grey Goose. Brands that do use potatoes when producing their vodkas are Woody Creek, and Boyd & Blair.
Does Vodka Make You Gain Weight?
There are some links between alcohol and weight gain in people. Many types of alcohol have lots of sugar and carbs. Consuming alcohol can also lead to people eating more unhealthy foods when intoxicated, which could be a contributing factor to weight gain.
When it comes to choosing between these two brands, it is down to personal preference. Ketel One is known for being slightly smoother than Tito’s, whereas Tito’s is a completely gluten-free option.
They are both highly regarded brands, passionate about this spirit, and take time and effort to provide their customers with the best product possible.
No matter which you select, it is safe to say you will not be disappointed. Cheers!