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Rice Vodka

Updated: Jul 19

Popular ingredients for making vodka include wheat, corn, and potatoes. While not commonly used for making vodka, rice from the Fruge family's farm in Branch, Louisiana makes for a spirit that is like no other.

Rice vodka cover with a bottle of JT Meleck and rice grains
JT Meleck Rice Vodka is a handcrafted Louisiana rice spirit

Introduction to Rice Vodka


Well known ingredients for making vodka include wheat, potatoes, and corn. Especially in the United States, corn is the most commonly used starch for making vodka owing to its popularity, high availability, and low cost.


Most vodkas are distilled multiple times in order to achieve a spirit that has little to no flavor, however, raw materials used during the fermentation process will have a discernible effect on the final product. Raw materials that have the greatest effect on the taste of a vodka are the water and starch used.


Many people assume that rice vodka is similar to sake, and while rice is used to make both, sake is a wine while vodka is a spirit.


How to Make Rice Vodka


Like all vodka, rice vodka is made by first creating a mash. The mash is a mixture of a vegetable or grain ingredient (such as rice, wheat, or corn), water, yeast, and malt meal. The grain ingredient provides starches which will be converted into sugar. Malt meal facilitates the conversion from starch into sugar while the yeast allows the extraction of oxygen from sugars in the mixture to create alcohol.

Fermentation tanks at JT Meleck's rice vodka distillery
A mash is held in a fermentation tank to allow sugars to be converted into alcohol

After the mash is cooked, the yeast will begin doing its job and over the course of two to four days, sugars in the mash will be converted into ethyl alcohol.


Once fermentation is complete, the resulting mixture is technically a beer. This mixture will then undergo a process of distillation which results in a concentrated alcohol solution commonly known as a spirit.


The JT Meleck Rice Vodka Difference


Many vodka brands boast the number of times their spirit is distilled, and the result is a vodka that tastes like nothing. JT Meleck Vodka is different in that it allows the flavor of the rice to come through in the final product. Thanks to this subtle flavor, the number of great cocktails you can make with JT Meleck Vodka is greatly increased.

Bottle of JT Meleck rice vodka

Taste Profile of JT Meleck Vodka


The taste of JT Meleck Rice Vodka has been described as a “smooth and creamy vodka that is truly grain to glass.” It’s smooth enough to be enjoyed neat over ice or as the perfect kick for your favorite martini.


When enjoyed in a Bloody Mary, JT Meleck Rice Vodka provides an exquisite balance to the acidity of the mix, and the sweetness of the vodka makes it a very popular choice when making a traditional dirty martini.


JT Meleck Rice Vodka’s Louisiana Roots


JT Meleck Vodka is one of only a handful of rice vodka brands in the world. With rice being a major crop grown by Louisiana farmers, it’s fitting that Louisiana’s rice vodka brand is located in Acadia Parish near the heart of Acadiana.


The history of JT Meleck goes back to 1896 when Founder Mike Fruge’s great, great uncle JT first started farming rice where the distillery is located today.

Delivery truck with rice vodka decal in front of a grain silo.
JT Meleck's rice vodka is distilled on the Fruge family's rice farm in Branch, Louisiana






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