The Difference Between Whiskey and Vodka

The Difference Between Whiskey and Vodka

Most people don’t understand the difference between whiskey and vodka. In this article, we look at the major differences between the two most the most sought-after drink in the world.

In Russia, strong alcoholic drinks are consumed most – 70-75% of the total alcohol consumption. But if vodka used to be an absolute leader before, then in the last years its share has significantly fallen due to cognac, whiskey, rum, and tequila. Although, not everyone knows the difference between imported liquors and Russian vodka.


Whiskey is a distilled beverage made from a fermented grain mash that may include:

  • Barley or malted barley
  • Rye or malted rye
  • Wheat
  • Corn

It is believed that whiskey has origins with the Greeks as far back as the third century when spirits were distilled to make fragrances. It was in Italy in the thirteenth century when whiskey was first distilled as drinking alcohol and medicine. It becomes an extremely popular drink in Scotland soon after.

Whiskey is categorized in several ways, primarily as a grain whiskey or a malt whiskey. Malting occurs when grain is first germinated before it is fermented.

After fermentation, whiskey is distilled then aged in a wooden barrel to gain its strength. Once bottled, whiskey does not continue to age. Whiskeys aged in charred wooden barrels gain an amber or golden-brown color.

Other whiskey classifications include:

Single malt: a whiskey made from a single type of grain and a single distillery

Blended malt: a mix of different whiskeys from multiple distilleries

Blended: a mixture of malt and grain whiskeys with added spirits, colors, and flavoring

Single cask: the bottle of whiskey is aged in an individual cask

Cask strength: whiskeys that are bottled without dilution directly from the cask

Whiskey’s flavor and aroma depend on where the product was made and how it was aged. Whiskey’s varied taste is primarily based on the type of raw materials used and its quality.

Whiskey or “whiskey” is an alcoholic drink produced from different kinds of grains like wheat, rye, corn, or barley. The process involves sprouting, fermenting, distilling, and aging the mixture in charred oak barrels. Whiskey may contain 40% to 60% alcohol. Its color can range from light gold to dark amber and it may have a light flavor or thick flavor depending on its age. Different types of whiskey are available depending on the type of grain used: corn whiskey, rye whiskey, wheat whiskey, rye malt whiskey, and more.


Vodka is a distilled spirit that starts with water, yeast, and fermented grains. Vodka grains may include:

  • Corn
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Sorghum

Vodka can also be made from potatoes or fruit.

The grains are fermented, drawing out their natural sugars. Yeast is added to the remaining liquid to help ferment the sugars. Following the fermentation process, the liquid is distilled multiple times to remove impurities. Through the distillation process, the liquid is heated to boiling and the resulting alcohol vapors are collected, which becomes the vodka product.

Vodka was first produced in medieval times and used as a medicine. It originated in Poland and became popular in Russia in the 1700s. Vodka was introduced to the United States in the 1940s. Today, many of the finest vodkas are produced in Eastern Europe.

Vodka is a colorless spirit, sometimes infused with fruity additives for additional flavor. Grain-based vodka offers a light, crisp taste, while potato-based vodkas are said to have a fuller, heavier feel on the palate.

In order to get a better understanding of whiskey and vodka, we’ll be looking at some of the major differences in this post.



Alcoholic drink produced from different kinds of grains like wheat, rye, corn, or barley An alcoholic drink that typically consists of water and rectified ethanol; made from starch-containing sources like beets, potatoes, grains, fruits, or sugar
The taste may range from light to thick; color may range from light gold to dark amber; the aroma is powerful Odorless, flavorless, and colorless; some brands may add artificial flavorings like chocolate, vanilla, pepper, etc.
Aged in charred oak barrels Unaged
May contain 40% to 60% alcohol Alcohol level starts at 37% to 40%
Not easy to drink; served with no other ingredients mixed; to be slowly consumed by “serious” drinkers, liquor enthusiasts, or people engaged in slow-paced conversations Easy to drink; can be served “neat” or mixed with other ingredients in a cocktail; for casual and social events

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