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Vodka's bonds may influence taste

Cagelike structures trapping ethanol vary from brand to brand, researchers suggest

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4:46pm, June 1, 2010

A certain secret agent’s preference for martinis that are shaken — not stirred — might be all about the bonds. Scientists who have zoomed in on the molecular structure of several brands of vodka propose that differences in water-ethanol interactions may account for drink preferences.

Some of vodka’s water molecules form cagelike structures around molecules of ethanol, a research team reports online May 21 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Disrupting these cages — via impurities or perhaps even shaking — may affect taste, says study coauthor Dale W. Schaefer of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

Schaefer cautions that no data link such structural differences to brand preferences. But with more research, a measure of vodka’s microstructure could serve as an all-purpose quality control measure, he says.

Schaefer and colleagues from Cincinnati and Russia used spectrographic techniques to as

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