Vodka is the most popular spirit in America even though it has no distinctive character, aroma, taste or color. Potatoes were traditionally used to make vodka, but today vodka is made from pure grain neutral spirits distilled from fermented corn, rye, or wheat. Vodka is then filtered through charcoal to remove any remaining hint of the grain flavor.
Rum is is distillate of the fermented juice of sugar cane. The spirit then spends at least one year in oak barrels. At this point, the rum is clear and normally designated as “white” rum. “Gold” rum is aged in wood at least three years and caramel color is added for color.
Tequila is made from a Blue Agave plant. In order to be called Tequila, the product must be harvested in a designated area of Mexico within about a 40 mile radius of the town of Tequila. Blue Agave plants are usually 10 years old when harvested. The juicy core of the plant, called the Pina, is cut into pieces and baked in huge stam ovens. A sweet juice is then extracted, fermented and distilled.
Whiskey is produced from any grain. When placed in barrels it is a clear liquid. The whiskey obtains its amber color, flavor and aroma from the wood of the barrels. Scotch and Canadian whiskies are spelled without the “e” – whisky. Irish and American whiskies use the “e” – whiskey.