How To Make Corn Vodka

How To Make Corn Vodka

Welcome to the world of vodka making! Our mission at Vodka Doctors is to share our passion for vodka, and today, we're diving into one of the most popular vodka ingredients - corn. Corn vodka has a distinct, smooth, and sweet taste that makes it perfect for both sipping and mixing in cocktails. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of making corn vodka at home, so you too can enjoy this unique spirit.

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The Basics of Corn Vodka

Corn vodka, like other types of vodka, is made through the process of fermentation and distillation. The main steps in producing corn vodka are:

  1. Preparing the corn
  2. Fermentation
  3. Distillation
  4. Filtering and bottling

Preparing the Corn

The first step in creating corn vodka is selecting and preparing the corn. Look for high-quality, organic corn if possible, as this will provide the best flavor for your vodka. You'll need to mill the corn, which means grinding it down into a fine powder. This can be done with a grain mill or even a powerful blender.

Once the corn is milled, you'll need to cook it. This process breaks down the starches in the corn, making them more accessible to the yeast during fermentation. Heat water and cornmeal in a large pot, stirring constantly to prevent clumping, until it reaches a thick porridge-like consistency. Ensure that it doesn't scorch; otherwise, it will affect the taste of your final product. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before moving onto the next step.


Fermentation is the process where yeast converts sugars into alcohol. To begin, add a specific amount of yeast to your cooled cornmeal mixture following package directions. This yeast will feed on the sugars in the corn, creating ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. It's crucial to maintain a consistent temperature during fermentation, ideally between 75°F and 85°F.

Once you've added the yeast, transfer the mixture to a fermenter - a large, food-grade container with an airtight seal and an airlock to allow gases to escape without letting contaminants in. Let the mixture ferment for at least a week, checking on it periodically to ensure proper fermentation. You'll know the fermentation process is complete when the bubbling in the airlock significantly slows down or stops.


Once fermentation is complete, it's time to distill your corn vodka. Distillation separates ethanol from water and other impurities in the fermentation mixture, resulting in a higher alcohol content. To do this, you'll need a still – either buy one or build your own.

Transfer the fully fermented mixture into the still and slowly heat it. As the temperature rises, the alcohol will evaporate and travel through the still's condensing column. The alcohol will then condense back to liquid form and be collected in a separate container. You may need to perform multiple distillations to reach the desired purity and alcohol content.

Cuts and Proofing

As the distillation progresses, different compounds will be released. These are commonly referred to as cuts, and they can significantly impact the flavor and quality of your vodka. The first liquid to come out is called the "heads," which contains undesirable compounds like methanol. The next cut, the "hearts," is composed of ethanol and is what you want to keep. Lastly, the "tails" consist of heavier, less desirable compounds.

After collecting the hearts, it's time to proof your vodka. This refers to adjusting the alcohol content to the desired level. Add purified water to your vodka until it reaches around 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).

Filtering and Bottling

The final step is to filter and bottle your homemade corn vodka. Filtering helps remove any remaining impurities, providing a smoother taste. You can filter your vodka through activated charcoal or carbon filters specifically designed for alcohol.

Once filtered, transfer the vodka to airtight bottles and store them in a cool, dark place. Your homemade corn vodka is now ready for consumption!

How To Make Corn Vodka Example:

Steve, an aspiring home distiller, decided to make his corn vodka following the Vodka Doctors' guide. He sourced premium quality organic corn, milled it finely, and cooked it into a thick porridge. After cooling and inoculating it with the appropriate yeast, he patiently waited for the fermentation to finish.

Upon completion of fermentation, Steve carefully transferred the liquid to his new still and began the distillation process. He meticulously performed two separate distillations, collecting the hearts with precision. After proofing and filtering his vodka, he bottled it and hosted a tasting party with friends, showcasing the delicious and smooth corn vodka he had crafted with the help of Vodka Doctors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is corn vodka?

Corn vodka is a type of vodka that is distilled from fermented corn. It's known for its smooth texture and slightly sweet taste, which distinguishes it from vodkas made from other grains or potatoes.

What makes corn vodka different from other vodkas?

Corn vodka has a unique flavor profile due to the sweetness of corn. It often has a smoother and creamier mouthfeel compared to other grain vodkas, which can be attributed to the high starch content of corn.

Is making corn vodka at home legal?

It's important to check local laws before attempting to distill alcohol at home. In many regions, home distillation for personal consumption, without the proper permits, is illegal and could lead to severe legal consequences.

What ingredients are needed to make corn vodka?

You will need corn, water, yeast, and enzymes to convert starches into sugar if they are not already included in your yeast. Some recipes may also call for additional nutrients to support the fermentation process.

How much corn is typically used in making vodka?

The amount of corn can vary depending on the recipe and the scale of production. Typically, you'd start with a grain bill that includes a majority percentage of corn, with quantities adjusted relative to your fermenter size.

Do I need specialized equipment to make corn vodka?

Yes, you will need several pieces of equipment, including a fermenter, a distillation apparatus, and possibly a mash tun, depending on your method. Additionally, a hydrometer and a thermometer are essential for measuring sugar content and temperature.

What is the fermentation process for making corn vodka?

The fermentation process involves mixing crushed corn with water and heating the mixture. Once cooled, enzymes and yeast are added to convert sugars into alcohol. This mixture, known as the mash, is then allowed to ferment for several days.

How do you know when the fermentation process is complete?

Fermentation is typically complete when there is no more activity in the airlock, or when specific gravity readings are consistent over a few days. This means the yeast has consumed all available sugars, converting them to alcohol.

Can corn vodka be made with different types of yeast?

Yes, different strains of yeast can be used to create variations in flavor and alcohol content. However, it's essential to use a yeast strain suitable for distillation as they can withstand higher alcohol concentrations.

What is the distillation process for corn vodka?

Distillation involves heating the fermented mash to vaporize the alcohol, which is then condensed back into a liquid form with a higher alcohol concentration. This process is usually carried out in a column still or pot still.

What is the role of charcoal filtering in making vodka?

Charcoal filtering is an optional process that can remove impurities and further refine the flavor of the vodka. It helps in creating a smoother and cleaner-tasting spirit.

How many times should corn vodka be distilled?

The number of distillations varies based on the desired purity and quality. Typical vodka distillation ranges from 2 to 5 times. More distillations can lead to a purer and oftentimes smoother product.

What should the final alcohol content be for corn vodka?

Most commercial vodkas have an alcohol content of around 40% ABV. However, the final proof may be higher immediately after distillation and should be diluted with water to reach the desired strength.

How long does it take to make corn vodka from start to finish?

The entire process, from preparing the mash to the final distillation, can take several weeks. The fermentation process alone typically takes about 5-10 days, depending on several factors like temperature and yeast activity.

How can the flavor of corn vodka be influenced during the production process?

The flavor can be influenced by the strain of yeast used, the purity of water, the distillation process, and the number of times it is distilled. Some producers also choose to introduce flavoring agents after distillation.

Is aging required for corn vodka?

Unlike whiskies or rums, vodka is not typically aged. However, leaving it to rest a few weeks after distillation and filtering can help mellow any harshness and improve the overall smoothness of the spirit.

What are the quality indicators of a good corn vodka?

Quality indicators include clarity, a smooth taste with no harsh bite, a clean aroma, and the absence of impurities. It should have a pleasant, subtle sweetness and creamy texture from the corn.

Can gluten-free vodka be made from corn?

Yes, corn vodka is naturally gluten-free and can be an excellent option for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, provided it's distilled and processed in a facility that avoids cross-contamination.

How should corn vodka be stored?

Corn vodka should be stored in a cool, dark place. Vodka does not age like wine or whiskey, so there is no need to store it in oak barrels. It's also important to ensure the bottle is sealed tightly to prevent oxidation.

What distinguishes craft corn vodka from mass-produced brands?

Craft corn vodka is often made in smaller batches and might focus on quality and unique flavor profiles. Mass-produced brands may prioritize consistency and higher output, sometimes sacrificing the nuances of flavor that smaller distilleries cherish.

Is it possible to infuse flavors into corn vodka?

Yes, it's possible to infuse corn vodka with a variety of flavors such as fruits, herbs, and spices. This can be done after the distillation process and before bottling, allowing the spirit to take on the unique characteristics of the infusions.

Well, there you have it - your comprehensive guide to making corn vodka! We hope this article serves as a helpful resource on your journey, and if you're curious to explore more vodka topics or need recipe inspiration, don't hesitate to check out more articles on Vodka Doctors. If you found this guide interesting and informative, we encourage you to share it with your friends and fellow vodka enthusiasts. Happy vodka making, and cheers to your new skills as a corn vodka connoisseur!

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Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

About Ferdynand Scheuerman

Ferdynand is Vodka importer, exporter and specialist with over 30 years of experience in the Vodka industry. He knows the subtle in's & out's of Vodka. Spending most of his time discovering new brands, new blends and new cocktails.

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