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Episode 826: The Vodka Proof

Dan Pashman

A bottle of fancy vodka, like Grey Goose, costs about $35. A bottle of the cheap stuff can be under $10. That's a wide range, but, by definition, vodka is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. So, could there really be a difference between vodkas? Or is the difference all in the marketing?

Today on the show, we get to the bottom of the question. We go to a distillery and find out how vodka is actually made. We hear the story of the genius who created the whole concept of super premium vodka. We find out where a lot of vodka really comes from. And then, we'll see if we can make our own.

This episode is a collaboration with the Sporkful food podcast. Find more of their episodes .

Music: "Sideswipe" and "Take the Lead"

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: March 2, 2018 at 12:00 AM EST
In a previous version of this podcast, we said Grey Goose vodka is four times distilled. In fact, it is distilled only once.
Alex Goldmark is the senior supervising producer of Planet Money and The Indicator from Planet Money. His reporting has appeared on shows including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Radiolab, On The Media, APM's Marketplace, and in magazines such as GOOD and Fast Company. Previously, he was a senior producer at WNYC–New York Public Radio where he piloted new programming and helped grow young shows to the point where they now have their own coffee mug pledge gifts. Long ago, he was the executive producer of two shows at Air America Radio, a very short term consultant for the World Bank, a volunteer trying to fight gun violence in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and also a poor excuse for a bartender in Washington, DC. He lives next to the Brooklyn Bridge and owns an orange velvet couch.
Dan Pashman