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Difference Between Vodka and Rum

vodka_rumVodka vs Rum
In a recent news article, John Gomez, the vice president of marketing at Bacardi USA mentioned that vodka and rum drinkers are not mutually exclusive. While leading rum manufacturers like Bacardi are trying to displace vodka from its established seat among liquor and cocktail lovers, there are still tons of people who swear by their vodka. And there are some people who cannot do without their glass of rum.

The main ingredient behind rum is molasses and sugarcane. Molasses and juice of sugarcane is fermented and distilled to produce rum. The resulting clear liquid is left to age in oak casks.

Vodka, arising from the word ‘voda’ or ‘water’ in Slavic language, is made from potatoes and grains. These are fermented and along with ethanol or alcohol distilled to produce vodka. Across countries, in order to qualify as vodka, the drink should contain at least 37.5% of alcohol. A few vodkas originating from Russia and Poland have herbs added to them to create a more subtle flavor of alcohol.

Rum production typically occurs in areas like the Caribbean islands, India and Australia whereas most popular vodka brands come from Russia and Poland such as Stolichnaya and Smirnoff. Popular brands in rum are Bacardi Carta Blanca and Carta Oro.

Rum comes in different styles such as light rums, dark rums and golden hued rums. Light rums can be mixed with other liquids. Dark colored rums and golden runs can be used for cooking and cocktails.

Vodka, if containing less than 37.5% alcohol, can be ‘watery’ and accompanied by a ‘burn’ when drunk neat. Owing to its subtle flavor, vodkas are now being introduced in different fruity flavors such as vanilla, apple, orange and lemon. Drunk by itself or neat, rum tastes sweeter and smoother than vodka. This is owing to its chief ingredient ‘“ molasses and sugarcane juice.

Because vodka does not have much flavour by itself and can dilute other alcoholic drinks without destroying their unique taste and flavor, it is popularly used in cocktails. In fact, gin has now made way for vodka in recent martini concoctions. However, a few bartenders are increasingly using rum to prepare sweeter and more flavoured version of martinis.
Rum has always been associated with ships and pirates and romanticized in books and movies. The line, ‘ho, ho, ho and a bottle of rum’, became famous in Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, Treasure Island. Much recently, the release of the Hollywood movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, upped rum sales. Vodka, on the other hand, has little glamour apart from Smirnoff ads.

1. Vodka is made from potatoes, grains and cereals whereas rum is made from molasses and sugarcane juice.
2. Rum by itself has a better flavor than vodka due to molasses. Vodka, on the other hand, does not have flavor unless mixed with other drinks or flavored with fruits.
3. Owing to its very discreet flavor, vodka is popularly used by bartenders for making cocktails and martinis. However, bartenders are now using rum for sweeter versions of martinis

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  1. Nice article… I was not aware of this

  2. i don’t like the summary…very subjective “Rum by itself has a better flavor than vodka due to molasses.” Better flavor? No, i find rum to be quite nasty, frankly. More of a flavor? Sure, say that. But better, I think not. Also, various vodkas do have certain flavors, it’s just much more subtle.

    But other than that, good article!

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