What is Kale Vodka?

By: Larry Taylor

Please tell me you’re kidding? Kale vodka sounds horrible, because, well, kale is horrible.

Everyone knows that the reason people put coconut oil on kale is so that it slides more easily into the trash bin when you scrape your plate. Right? The difference between kale and a bowling ball is that if you absolutely had to, you could eat the bowling ball (according to my friend Carl). All kidding aside, I really do like kale as much as I like kale jokes.

Is Kale Vodka For Real?

Ok, so let’s get started on this kale vodka nonsense. Firstly, a kale spirit’s alcohol source is from sugar. Usually plain table sugar. Like humans, yeast cannot survive in a healthy manner on sugar alone. There must be some other type of nutritional adjunct added to the wash to provide a more optimal environment for the yeast to produce as much clean ethanol as possible while also not producing lesser desirable compounds in the wash.

Lots of nutritional adjuncts have been used. Corn, breakfast cereal, baby food, and tomato paste to name a few. Some of these adjuncts do allow for a certain amount of flavor carry over after distillation. Some breakfast cereals do allow for a fairly respectable faux whiskey kind of spirit, for example. The grains used in the cereal carry over to the finished product during the distillation process.

Why Kale?

Kale, on the other hand, happens to be one of the nutritional adjuncts that allows for very little flavor carry over (thank gawd) after distillation. This lack of flavor also allows the distiller to operate a less than optimal rectification tower and still produce a relatively flavorless final product.

The other determining factor for kale use is that it can be very cheap and easy to grow in many regions. My friend Greg has a fairly robust kale garden. Plus, there may or may not be some other (human) health-related benefit to using kale? Certainly, the yeast don’t seem to mind at all. But yeast are super easy to trick, because, well, they’re just single-cell organisms. Just kidding. Yeast are actually terribly hard to trick and require quite a bit of careful babying in order to get them to be good, clean producers. However, yeast seem to play along quite nicely with kale.

Curious about kale? Give this a try and see what you think. It’s dead simple.

50 Gallon (200L) Kale Wash

  • 800 g kale blended with water
  • 40 kg white table sugar
  • 720 g bakers yeast

>> Ready to take your distilling to the next level? Contact the team at StillDragon today for advice on equipment!