The Artisan Scottish Vodka Wave: Is Vodka The New Gin?

Gin has enjoyed a healthy boom in the past few decades, and it seems as though new Gin companies are popping up faster than you can count. So much so that the market is now seeming rather over-saturated without much room for further innovation. However, an increase in interest in the niches of spirits has given rise to a new boom in spirits: vodka. Rooted in hundreds of years of tradition, the centre of this revolution may in fact be in Scotland with the artisanal vodka scene thriving in and amongst the other spirits being produced there. Although vodka sales, on the whole, have been declining in recent years, this trend is solely influenced by the lower end of vodkas, whereas premium quality vodkas sales have been growing rapidly.

What is the difference between gin and vodka?

The clearest and most obvious difference between the two is taste, but this also has to do with the way they are made and how they are used. Gin typically has a distinct herbal base, which can be chalked up to its distillation process that involves juniper berries and botanicals to provide the right flavours. Vodka on the other hand has traditionally had a neutral taste to it, something that is slowly changing with the introduction of new types of vodka, like our heritage barley deduced blend. Typically, vodka is made from rye grain. The distillation process for vodka is also different, deriving from water and yeast. The resulting flavours mean they are used differently.

Vodka is normally best served chilled and is often kept in the fridge or freezer at home, whereas gin being served chilled is optional. Taste, texture and temperature preferences for the two spirits mean they are used in different cocktails. Popular examples of cocktails used with vodka include the Bloody Mary, the Moscow Mule or the Black Russian, whereas popular cocktails used with gin include the Martini, White Lady or the Vesper. This is traditionally the case, but as we learn new ways to give vodka a refined taste, we are finding playful and inventive ways to use vodka in cocktails.

Why was gin so popular?

There’s no denying that gins have been popular for some time now. It mostly comes down to a few things: variety, versatility and taste. Another key factor among lower-end brands has also been its affordability. But as palettes are becoming more adventurous and more players are entering the market, vodka has quietly been making a name for itself when it comes to the cocktail popularity contest.

Artisanal Vodka Gaining Popularity

Part of the reason for vodka’s recent rise in popularity comes down to it checking the same boxes as gin. New and innovative production methods have resulted in vodkas that have unique and subtle flavour profiles, and as a result, more and more cocktails using vodka have been appearing (if you want a guide on some of the best cocktails using vodka that we’ve tried, be sure to check out or cocktail compendium).

Not only this, but vodka can actually be healthy for you. Yes, that’s right vodka can actually be healthy. When consumed responsibly, vodka is very heart-healthy – reducing cholesterol and increasing blood flow circulation. It also can be considered a low-calorie alcohol.

Artisanal vodka specifically has been addressing some aspects of the industry that were perhaps ignored a little too often. Sustainable production and a regard for ecological footprint have been a common theme in upcoming vodka brands, and X Muse is no different. Careful consideration of the ingredients and materials being used has been a trend that many are getting right. Scotland in particular is host to a great selection of grain and water sources to be used in the distillation process.

What makes X Muse vodka good?

Our X Muse vodka is the first blended barley vodka distilled in Scotland, a country with a long tradition of making spirits. Heritage barley was chosen due to it being more sustainable and environmentally friendly than traditional barley, as well as its taste.

Our inspiration for the way we create our vodka was drawn from the process, not the myth, and from the elements, ingredients, and ingredients themselves. However, we always keep an eye on the future, adopting science and technology when they are useful, even when we study the many spirits-making traditions and their roots in alchemy. We firmly believe that vodka should not be tasteless and senseless, instead, we strive to make a spirit that is complex in both taste and nose.