I bought a Mason jar of that “legal moonshine” a while back and damn if it didn’t taste just like vodka to me. My cousin explained to me that whiskey is aged in oak barrels to get its color and taste. So now I’m wondering: Has anybody ever tried aging vodka (or gin) in barrels? What was the result?
Yes, you can get barrel aged gins and vodkas. The result is pretty much the same. It takes the harshness out of the liquor and adds a spicy/nutty flavor.
You would think that a good gin is already so infused with flavor that it couldn’t possibly benefit from further processing. But then you try something like Bar Hill Tom Cat gin and you wonder how you’ve lived so long without it.
Whiskey, the result is whiskey. Pretty much the only difference between any 2 spirits is what is done to it after it’s distilled. Everclear and white whiskey/moonshine is basically highly concentrated (rectified) grain alcohol, no additives, no aging. Vodka is just diluted and filtered grain alcohol. Whiskey is grain alcohol that was aged in charred oak barrels. Scotch is grain alcohol that is aged in recycled whiskey/bourbon/cognac barrels. Gin is just vodka with spices added.
Some types restrict (from a legal point of view) what the source of the fermentable sugar can be, i.e. barley, rye, grapes, potatoes, corn, rice, etc. but chemically speaking there’s no difference in the distilled result regardless of how much the marketers would like you to think otherwise. You can make a passable cognac from corn liquor if you to age it in a wine barrel. You can make a fine enough “bourbon” from potato liquor if you age it in an oak barrel.
Dammit, bring me another whisley.