I never buy it, but the In-laws are comming into town and they actually like the cheap stuff. What better time to test?
Purchased 2 liter plastic Popov vodka new at an a gov't run alcoholic beverage store.
dumped out the water in my Breita and used the existing filter which was about halfway through it's life cycle.
poured a shot of Popov as a "control" then poured the bottle into the Brita and waited. When it had completely passed through, I funneled the vodka back into the bottle and repeated the process. I then tase tested and repeated the process again, for a total of 3 passes.
RESULTS AND OBSERVATIONS:
The Control tasted just like I remembered - very "grainy", and slippery on the palette, with a smell exactly like rubbing alcohol.
After 2 passes through the Brita, it still tasted like Popov, although it was smoother and had lost it's funky aftertaste.
3 trips in, there was a significant difference. The rubbing alcohol smell was gone, the taste was much cleaner, akin to a name brand vodka. The closest I can compare it with now is Seagram's.
It mixes well with tonic, standing on it's own instead of the usual "corn syrup" taste cheap vodka has.
The buzz is fairly clean yet numbing, as a vodka buzz should be. There is none of the headache and nausea associated with a cheap vodka buzz.
The filtering process was slow and a pain in the ass as the vodka did not completely fit in the Brita, so it had to be done in batches. It took about 10 min for the vodka to completely pass through each time.
I severely doubt that I will get a Grey Goose or even a Absolut out of this method - there is such a thing as "polishing a turd".
I will say that you can get an eminently drinkable vodka for much less than the name brands. I thing 5-6 passes would yield an excellent vodka that would rival any in the $20-30 price range, and will probably fool 99% of your Yuppie dipshit friends.
Now that I know the secret, I may buy a Brita just for this purpose. I'd also like to try the same thing with cheap whiskey and scotch.