When it comes to vodka, the quality of your ingredients directly impacts that quality of vodka you make. We source our corn locally, from a farmer who plants non-GMO corn. (Because we use corn, our vodka is also gluten free.) The great care we put into making our vodka happens even before we’re producing it. It starts at the farm.
Before even getting to mashing, we have to ground the corn down to cornmeal so it can be hydrated. By adding it to a hydrator, we’re able to turn it into a wet and consistent slurry—consistency is key! We can’t have any clumping. The slurry goes along its way to our Mash Tun.
Know what happens in the Mash Tun? You guessed it: mashing. It’s here that we use enzymes to break down our corn’s starches into fermentable sugar. By keeping the slurry hot, adjusting the temperature accordingly, and adding the right enzymes at the right time, we’re able to break down the slurry into a consistently high-quality wort. At this point, we separate the spent grain we used and give it back to the local farmers to use as high-quality feed. We take special care to ensure our wort doesn’t contain things it shouldn’t.
And on we send the wort to ferment!
All vodka comes from ethanol. We’re unique in that we make our ethanol in-house all the way from farm to flask. Using specialized fermentation tanks, we turn our wort into a low-wine by adding yeast. The yeast feeds off the sugars, leaving us with a by-product ethanol, which we need to make vodka. This wash contains water, ethanol, and congeners. We need to clean things up and get nearly pure ethanol before we even think to make vodka.
Distilling, Blending, Filtering
This is where things get tricky. If you make a mistake, at best, you’re going to end up with a bad distillate (and ultimately a pretty bad vodka). At worst, you might get seriously injured from an explosion. When people say their vodka is craft, they mean it’s made by specialists trained in all the subtleties and nuances distilling entails. Our highly skilled distillery artisans put great care into making our vodka remarkable.
Without getting too sciency, our smooth 5x-distilled starts here: wash from our fermentation is heated by hot steam pumped into our pot still. As it wash comes to a boil, it separates and we are left with low wine. The low-wine is transferred to another pot still with a 25 ft vodka column, where the low-wine is heated, the steam rises to heat a series of plates. Adding the heated low-wine, it flows down the still, coming into contact with these heated places. This contact with heat causes ethanol to vaporize separating it from more impurities and congeners. In the end, after the ethanol condenses from vapors into liquid, we’re left with an impressively high ABV: roughly 96% alcohol (192 proof). In case you didn’t know, vodka is only 80 proof. So how do we get to vodka from here?
We blend it. Using the ultra-pure water from the Black Creek aquifer, we cover all our bases by running it through a reverse osmosis filtration system. Now you have whatever is purer than ultra-pure. This is what we use to blend our ethanol from 192 proof to 80 proof. And before we bottle this vodka up for you to enjoy, there two more things: we pass it through our proprietary six-step filtration using activated carbon. After filtration, we let our vodka rest. It may sound silly, but distillation is a very chaotic process. Allowing the water and ethanol to rest guarantees consistent quality. Our vodka rests for up to one week before it’s bottled.
It’s at this point, we taste our vodka, to absolutely ensure it meets our uncompromising standards of excellence.
Because of the immense amount of care and pride our distillery artisans put into their job, you can look forward to a truly remarkable vodka this summer. Whether you’re at a bar, restaurant, or even at home, and whether you drink your vodka straight or in a cocktail, you can always come to expect that Social House Vodka will never disappoint. If you ask us, that’s some damn good vodka.