A white, generally neutral-tasting spirit, distilled from cereals, root vegetables or grapes. Potatoes, rye, barley and wheat are the most common bases used to make vodka. Vodkas flavoured with fruit, such as cranberry or citrus fruits, are increasingly popular, but they’re not new (bison grass and plums, for example, are traditional flavourings).
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Vodka varies widely in price. It’s unlikely that the quality of some ‘super-premium’ vodkas, tricked out in fancy packaging, is in line with their hefty price-tags, so approach these with caution. Likewise, the least-expensive vodkas can have an unpleasantly harsh flavour, so choose wisely.
Vodka, particularly the unflavoured varieties, can be kept for long periods after being opened.
Most vodkas are filtered after distillation, which makes them very pure and ideal for mixing in cocktails. Vodka can be used in cakes and for curing foods such as salmon.