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  • Ivan P. (WSET L2)

What comes to your mind when you hear the word vodka? Eeww, that nasty! You wouldn’t enjoy smelling or tasting undiluted vodka because of the spirituous hit to your nose and palate that most of the vodkas cause. But it still works relatively alright with adding mixers or in sweet cocktails, ey?

I will tell you something, there are people who drink vodka straight! Do you think they are crazy or they are masochists, not at all, there are different vodkas with different profiles and whether you drink it in cocktails or straight you would wonder what makes some vodkas disgustingly smelly and burning but the others smooth and drinkable.

Basically, vodka is a mixture of 40% by volume of pure neutral alcohol and 60% by volume of water. I’m not going to tell you that the true vodka must be a mixture of 40% of spirit and 60% of water by weight, like it is according to the ancient Russian recipe, it is a long story that I will tell you one day.

Sounds simple, mix the ingredients and voila! Nope, the devil is in the details, as usual. First of all, what about the pure alcohol you use to produce the vodka. It must be as neutral as possible. To meet that you will need to rectify or distil your wash multiple times. There must be no taste or smell of the initial product that was fermented before distillation, nothing. Otherwise you will get unaged whiskey, white rum, grappa, schnapps or brandy by using the common raw materials instead of vodka. So, you, as a producer, cannot use aromatic spirits or any aromatic additives to make a product called unflavoured vodka but how to hide the infamous repulsive smell and taste.

But what to do? You can add something that would polish or mask the vodka’s nose and palate. Sugar and glycerol, both take the sharp edges from the vodka but generally harmless and do not add anything to the end product except artificial sweetness. However, the producers cannot call their vodkas pure after such tricks with their recipes and what if a person drinking the vodka has glycerol intolerance in the end of the day, but there was not a word about the additive on the label to warn the consumer.

Hence, the only way to improve your vodka’s organoleptic features is to look at the water. What water is used to add to the pure alcohol to make a vodka? Different producers use differently prepared water to make their vodkas. The main requirement is that the water should be clean and safe. Manufacturers usually use boiled water or demineralised distilled water, which is technologically perfectly fine, but that makes the vodka nasty organoleptically. Simply, you can’t smell or taste it straight. That all affects your perception of the cocktails made with such vodka, they are rougher and “dumber”.

Filtered river water with the minerals retained can only be used to make a vodka (W. Pokhlebkin, 1991) that would be odourless on the nose and clean and smooth on the palate with no burning to your throat.

New Zealand is famous for its untouched nature with particularly clean fresh water sources that feature well balance mineral structure. This all makes water sourced from both of the Islands ideal to make one of the smoothers and crisp vodkas available on the Australian market, Broken Shed Premium Vodka.

Broken Shed Vodka is a golden standard of 40% (not 38%, no BS) of triple distilled spirit and 60% well balanced mixture of crystal clean spring water from the North Island and mineral water from 15,000-year-old aquifer from the South Island of New Zealand.

Broken Shed keeps the final proportion of each type of the water as a secret, but who cares when the end result exceeds all expectations. Even vodka “haters” report its smoothness and cleanness. Even having it straight!

We were talking about the 60% part of Broken Shed Vodka, but what about the rest 40%. The pure neutral alcohol that goes into Broken Shed Vodka is triple distilled from fermented whey (yes, WHEY, not wheat). The whey is widely available in New Zealand as a by-product of cheese industry and is sourced from milk of the cows that graze on the cleanest land of New Zealand.

Nothing else is added into the vodka, that means we have an all-natural, additive free, gluten and sugar free beverage based on well balanced spring and mineral water and ultra-clean spirit from whey.

Make the Rosemary Vodka Cocktail with Broken Shed Vodka to experience its smoothness.



Pour Broken Shed Vodka into a glass jar and add fresh rosemary. Make sure it is completely immersed and then seal with a tight-fitting lid. Store out of direct sunlight for few days. Double strain rosemary infused vodka over the ice, add lemon juice and tonic water on the top.

Or try chilled Broken Shed Vodka straight if you are brave enough! Nazdorovie!

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