Apart from the alcoholic content, vodkas may be classified into two main groups: clear vodkas and flavored vodkas. From the latter ones, one can separate bitter tinctures. Most vodka sold in the U.S is fruit flavored vodka. Some of the major brands have come out with a full line of flavored vodkas. Stolichnaya, Ablolut, Grey Goose, Smirnoff, and skyy carry a large variety of flavors. For those of us who like ;to mix it up when we drink, This is a great time for vodka.While most vodkas are unflavored.
Vodka may be distilled from any starch/sugar-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grain. Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior. Some vodka is made from potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice, sugar beets and sometimes even byproducts of oil refining or wood pulp processing. In some Central European countries like Poland some vodka is produced by just fermenting a solution of crystal sugar and yeast. A common property of vodkas produced in the United States and Europe is the extensive use of filtration prior to any additional processing, such as the addition of flavourants. Filtering is sometimes done in the still during distillation, as well as afterwards, where the distilled vodka is filtered through charcoal and other media. This is because under U.S. and European law vodka must not have any distinctive aroma, character, colour or flavour. However, this is not the case in the traditional vodka producing nations, so many distillers from these countries prefer to use very accurate distillation but minimal filtering, thus preserving the unique flavours and characteristics of their products. When distilled correctly, much of the ;fore-shots and ;heads and the tails separated in the distillation process are discarded. These portions of the distillate contain flavour compounds such as ethyl acetate and ethyl lactate (heads) as well as the fusel oils (tails) that alter the clean taste of vodka. Through numerous rounds of distillation, or the use of a fractioning still, the taste of the vodka is improved and its clarity is enhanced. In some distilled liquors such as rum , some of the heads and tails are not removed in order to give the liquor its unique flavour and mouth-feel. Repeated distillation of vodka will make its ethanol level much higher than is acceptable to most end users, whether legislation determines strength limits or not. Depending on the distillation method and the technique of the stillmaster, the final filtered and distilled vodka may have as much as 95-96% ethanol. As such, most vodka is diluted with water prior to bottling. This level of distillation is what truly separates a rye-based vodka (for example) from a rye whisky; while the whisky is generally only distilled down to its final alcohol content, vodka is distilled until it is almost totally pure alcohol and then cut with water to give it its final alcohol content and unique flavour, depending on the source of the water.