College is expensive AF. Even aside from those hefty tuition bills and food plan payments, things just tend to add up, especially when it comes to the social scene. On average, about 1/4 of my money goes towards going out (i.e. alcohol, chasers, and the mass amounts of Papa John's I order late night). Unfortunately, I have to stick to those bottom-shelve varieties of vodka- or else by bank account will be in the negatives...eek.

How It Works

How it works

herb, relish, condiment, salt, cereal, coffee
Alex Frank

The MVP of this whole process is activated charcoal. Just like the big-shots do, the way to distill vodka is through a charcoal filter. Charcoal is known to have many benefits such as teeth-whitening capabilities and possible a cure for your hangovers. This is due to the tiny porous particles that filter out the microscopic impurities, which does wonders for vodka. Basically, the striking difference between Grey Goose and Smirnoff is that Grey Goose is filtered many more times than Smirnoff, making it more pure and smooth. 

This sounds simple right? Well, I'm all for a little science experiment (and saving money). So we gave this concept a try, and even compared it to some classy Grey Goose to give you the low down.

Let's Get Building

cream, ice
Alex Frank

What You'll Need:

1 cup

1 coffee filter

1 funnel

2 tbsp activated charcoal

cheap and gag-worthy vodka

bread, dough, cream
Alex Frank

The idea here is simple: line your funnel with a coffee filter, put it in a cup, pour in some charcoal, and add your nasty vodka. Now, you may be asking, does one filter do the trick? The answer is a hard NO. There have been a lot of trials with both this process and the like-minded Brita filter process; both of which recommend 3-4 filters. Knowing this, we tried it after each shot anyways, and can affirm that four filters is the sweet spot

How it Ranks

water, liquor, wine, alcohol
Alex Frank

I am NOT a fan of regular Smirnoff, so I was extremely nervous for what was to come. Now, we had been periodically testing the filtered vodka to see it progress (and the difference was obvious), however, now we wanted to compare different levels to see how it really holds up to its competition.

First shot was the good ol' sting of original Smirnoff. 2/10, no words needed, we all know this experience. Next, we tasted the 4x filtered Smirnoff, which now had a suspicious black tint to it. Just, Wow. This vodka just went from gag worthy liquid hell to pure magic, no joke...9/10 (not quite to Grey Goose level). Just for the hell of it, we took a shot of Grey Goose to "compare" 10/10...obviously.

liquor, ice, vodka, alcohol, water
Alex Frank

Maybe it's because I'm writing this article 6 shots deep, or maybe it's because I just saved college kid's and vodka-lovers alike hundreds (thousands?) of dollars, but I feel like this deserves a nobel prize. The total cost of this apparatus, which includes 50 times the charcoal needed, was $20, you do the math, I'm thinking money-saver of the century.

Now, some of you may be thrown off by the odd black color the charcoal may be giving your vodka, but listen up. Charcoal has many benefits such as whitening your teeth and detoxing your body, so not only did you just make your vodka taste better, you also just made it healthy! Well sort of. Either way, I'm never going back.