When it comes to vodka, the quality of your ingredients directly impacts the quality of vodka you make. We source our corn from a local farmer in North Carolina. Since we use corn, our vodka is gluten-free & made from 100% North Carolina products.
First, we ground the corn down to cornmeal so it can be hydrated. By adding it to a hydrator, we’re able to turn it into a wet and consistent slurry—consistency is vital here, as well as no clumping. The slurry then goes into our Mash Tun.
The mashing starts by using enzymes to break down our corn’s starches into fermentable sugar. By keeping the slurry hot, adjusting the temperature accordingly, and adding the right enzymes at the right time, we’re able to break down the slurry into consistently high-quality wort. At this point, we separate the spent grain we used and give it back to the local farmers to use as high-quality feed. We take special care to ensure our wort doesn’t contain things it shouldn’t.
All vodka comes from ethanol. We’re unique in that we make our ethanol in-house from farm to the flask. Using specialized fermentation tanks, we turn our wort into a low-wine by adding yeast. The yeast feeds off the sugars, leaving us with by-product ethanol, which we need to make vodka. This wash contains water, ethanol, and congeners.
Distilling, Blending, Filtering
This is where things can get a bit tricky. If you make a mistake, at best, you’re going to end up with a lousy distillate (and ultimately a pretty bad vodka). At worst, you might get seriously injured from an explosion. When people say their vodka is a craft, they mean it’s made by specialists trained in all the subtleties and nuances distilling entails. Our highly skilled distillery artisans put great care into making our vodka remarkable.
Without getting too scientific, our smooth 5x-distilled starts here: wash from our fermentation is heated by hot steam pumped into our pot still. As the wash comes to a boil, it separates, and leaves us with a low wine. The low-wine is transferred to another pot still with a 25 ft vodka column, where the low-wine is heated, the steam rises to heat a series of plates. Adding the heated low-wine, it flows down the still, coming into contact with these heated places. This contact with heat causes ethanol to vaporize, separating it from more impurities and congeners. In the end, after the ethanol condenses from vapors into a liquid, we’ve left with an impressively high ABV: roughly 96% alcohol (192 proof). In case you didn’t know, vodka is only 80 proof. So how do we get to vodka from here?
We blend it. Using the ultra-pure water from the Black Creek Aquifer, we cover all our bases by running it through a reverse osmosis filtration system. Now you have whatever is purer than ultra-pure. This is what we use to blend our ethanol from 192 proof to 80 proof. And before we bottle this vodka up for you to enjoy, there two more things: we pass it through our proprietary six-step filtration using activated carbon. After filtration, we let our vodka rest. Distillation is a very chaotic process, and by allowing the water & ethanol to rest guarantees consistent quality. Our vodka rests for up to one week before being bottled.
It’s at this point, we taste our vodka, to ensure it meets our uncompromising standards of excellence.
Because of the immense amount of care and pride our distillery artisans put into their job, you can look forward to a remarkable vodka this summer. Whether you’re at a bar, restaurant, or even at home, and whether you drink your vodka straight or in a cocktail, you can always come to expect that SOCIAL HOUSE® Vodka will never disappoint. If you ask us, that’s some damn good vodka.