There isn’t one single recipe for French vodka — the source materials and processes vary as much as any other type of vodka. But French vodka is always of the highest caliber, made with the most premium source ingredients grown in the lush French countryside.
These deluxe materials, in addition to the attention to detail and inventiveness that has made France’s name as a culinary leader of the world, make French vodka the best vodka on the market today, whether you’re drinking Ciroc, LeSin Vodka, or Grey Goose. Discover the artistry of French vodka, from the fields of Cognac to the shelf at your local liquor store.
The artistry of French vodka begins with a high-quality, superbly tended starchy crop. Most French vodkas on the market today use either winter wheat, grown for several months longer than summer wheat, or grapes, often the same grapes used in French wines, grown in the French countryside.
Most of these deluxe ingredients, which will become the fermented mash that serves as the base alcohol for French vodka, are grown in the south of France. Some French vodka-makers, like Ciroc, use a special process to snap-freeze fine grapes, which are then fermented and distilled. Brands like LeSin Vodka and Grey Goose use carefully grown winter wheat, which has an excellent flavor from the terroir in France’s agricultural regions.
Cognac is a popular location for French vodka makers because it’s home to the most important ingredient for French vodka makers: water. Cognac is home to the world-famous Gensac Springs, the lauded source of mineral-rich, sweet-tasting water. Gensac Spring water is sought after for use in vodka and other spirits because it is filtered naturally by the long stretches of limestone. As the water passes over the limestone, it’s infused with minerals that make the water taste round, buttery, and sweet. This water is used in some of the most popular French vodkas, like Grey Goose and LeSin, and it makes a massive difference in the taste of the vodka.
Bottled vodka is made of 60% water. The distilled alcohol is diluted before it’s bottled so that the alcohol is a consistent and approved ABV for American or European markets. Since water makes up so much of the vodka you buy, vodka makers should pay the utmost attention to the water they’re using.
This precision is what makes French vodka so artful. Down to the water used to dilute the final product, French vodka makers are using the best-tasting, highest quality ingredients to create an elegant, delicious experience. They take the focus and mastery of winemaking and apply it to vodka, resulting in light, clean finishes and dry, botanical flavors.
It’s true that a huge part of what makes French vodka so much better than the rest is this process crafted and executed with care and attention. Making vodka is a relatively simple process — the mash is fermented, then distilled a number of times, then filtered, diluted, and bottled. There are variables in the source of the mash, the number of distillations, the filtration process, and the water used to dilute it. But the end goal is to create a clean, odorless, flavorless liquor, by definition.
As such, it’s easy to think that the process of making vodka doesn’t require thought or care. But a refined palate is much smarter than that. Even though all vodka might seem the same by definition, sophisticated drinkers can taste those differences in source material and water. They can tell whether a copper pot still was used for the final distillation. They can taste the love and care that goes into the final product: a perfect bottle of delicious French vodka.
Each French vodka maker, and all vodka makers around the world, have their own distillation processes. The artistry of French vodka really comes through in these processes because they show how much attention, care, and thought go into each and every bottle. There’s a reason that every French vodka is considered premium or ultra-premium — and that badge is well-earned. Next time you have a glass of LeSin Vodka and tonic, think about all the beautiful ingredients, deluxe water, time, and attention that went toward creating your perfect glass of French vodka.