How to Distill Cheap Vodka

Stovetop distillers use the same principle as large-scale distillers.
Stovetop distillers use the same principle as large-scale distillers. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

For many of us, our taste buds are more sophisticated than our wallets. So in the liquor aisle, that cheap bottle of vodka on the bottom shelf may have your wallet saying “yes” but your mouth and stomach are saying “no.” One thing all of the top shelf vodkas have in common is the multiple distillations that they receive. Using a distillation process removes impurities, making for a much more refined product. To make that cheap, plastic jug of vodka something that you can proudly serve, distilling it at home is essential.

Things You'll Need

  • stove top distiller
  • hydrometer
  • heating source
  • cold water source

Fill the distiller with the cheap vodka. Some models of distillers may have a pressurized seal to the lid, which should be closed afterward.

Set up your cooling bath. The copper tubing that comes out of the lid of the distiller will get extremely hot during the process, which requires that the alcohol is cooled before it comes out of the other end. Follow the directions that were included with your distiller to set up the cooling bath.

Place the distiller on the heating source. Bring to boiling point, but not too hot. The tubing will have a thermometer attached to it. Watch the temperature, letting it get to 96 degrees before turning the heat down or off.

Collect the distilled alcohol. Out of the other end will come the newly distilled vodka.

Check the alcohol content using the hydrometer. Placing this device in the alcohol will tell you the alcohol content.

Dilute the alcohol to the desired amount. Adjust the alcohol content by adding bottled water with the hydrometer still in the vodka. Most vodka is around 80 proof, or 40% alcohol.

Repeat the process. Distilling will remove more impurities each time you distill it. Do so as many times as you like, but keep in mind that each time that you do, your finished product will be less than before you started.

Filter the vodka in a home water filter pitcher. To remove any taste that may have come from the distilling process, run it through a water filter a few times. Once you have used a filter for this, do not use it for water.

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