There are times when you can substitute gin for vodka, say in a Martini, or served with tonic water. The two drinks can be interchangeable in many of their uses, but there are also distinct differences between them...
Vodka is pretty much flavourless and colourless on its own, although these days many brands on our supermarket shelves add a colourful twist of aromas and flavours to tempt consumers into a purchase. Vodka can be made from potatoes or wheat and other grains and has a pretty high alcohol content. The first vodka dates back to around the 14th century, and its name derives from a Russian word that translates to ‘little stream.’
Gin, like vodka, is similarly colourless until other ingredients are added. But gin is made from juniper berries, so has more of a flavour to it. The history of a juniper based spirit goes back a bit further than vodka, to the 11th century when some early version of it was made by monks. However, the name ‘gin’ is a shortened version of a French word, and it came into popularity around the 17th century. Gin is mostly made in the UK, the USA and Holland.
When you drink vodka, you probably want it to be chilled, whether you drink it with or without ice, simply because it has a better texture at low temperatures, whereas gin can be drunk at room temperature without hampering the drinking experience. When you’re mixing drinks, both vodka and gin are really versatile for a range of standard and innovative cocktails, but nothing beats gin and tonic for a simple easy drink that’s packed with a subtle flavour.
Now, to complicate matters, it is possible to make both gin and vodka from all kinds of other ingredients, and you can find on the market gin that has been re-distilled from vodka, with extras added to make it more gin-like. Strictly speaking though, that’s not gin.
If you’re after our recommendations for gin and vodka brands, just scroll through the Redh stock online to see our latest brands and bargains. Any drinks cabinet worth its name should have both gin and vodka on the shelves, so place your order ready for those spring and summer garden parties you’re planning. We also have some excellent mixers for you to experiment with, so you can host a cocktail party and impress all your friends and family with your newfound trivia knowledge of these two well-known drinks.