Their report, ‘Shaken not Stirred, Y’all! A Comparison of Select Texas Vodkas’ was presented at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Dallas yesterday.
The research covered 17 vodkas distilled commercially in the state, with lead researcher Diana Mason and her team examining group tasting results from 50 men and women who each sampled multiple, small shots of the state’s vodkas.
"The Texas vodka industry is just exploding," said Mason, who is a professor emeritus in the Chemistry department at the University of Texas.
Texan vodka industry explodes
"Two years ago when we started the study, there were only six vodkas in Texas. Now there are 17 and counting. And Texans are supposed to be beer drinkers!” she added.
Each participant consumed only one ounce of vodka at most and used the ‘swish and spit’ method favoured at wine tastings.
The two most popular brands among tasters were those with the most dissolved salts, which are detected by the tongue as are other tastes such as sweet and sour.
Besides conductivity – the test researchers used to detect the salts – the team also checked the vodkas for color, acidity, cost and density.
But they found that conductivity was the sole factor separating the favorite brands from the rest, and even the vodka source – corn, wheat, rye, barley, potato, berries and cactus – irrelevant.
Graduate student Timothy Stephens, who is part of Mason’s team, plans to conduct further taste studies on Texas-made bourbons, whiskeys, gins and rums.