Vodka’s taste, quality depends on variable microstructures

Thursday, June 3, 2010

WASHINGTON - The taste and quality of vodka depends on its microstructures, which can be altered by impurities and shaking, scientists have found.

Vodka’s water molecules, experts say, form cagelike structures around molecules of ethanol.

The study’s co-author Dale W. Schaefer of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio insists disrupting these cages can alter the taste.

However, no data yet shows a link between structural differences and brand preferences.

Nonetheless, Schaefer claims a measure of vodka’s microstructure could serve as an all-purpose quality control measure.

The team of researchers from Cincinnati and Russia used spectrographic techniques to assess the liquid structure of five brands of vodka: Skyy, Belvedere, Stolichnaya, Grey Goose and Oval.

Spectral readings of the vodka differed slightly from brand to brand, the researchers found, indicating structural differences in the water-ethanol solutions.

The differences, experts claimed, were linked to the proportion of ethanol molecules that were trapped in a cage of water.

Schaefer explained, when ethanol and water mix, water becomes more structured and the bonds between oxygen and hydrogen tighten up.

Water’s hydrogen atoms are pulled closer to the oxygen atom, imparting a more rigid structure that allows the molecular cages to form.

Belvedere and Oval appear to have more of this caged ethanol than other brands do, reports Discovery News.

The study has been published online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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