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Does filtering vodka through a Brita actually work? The science behind viral TikTok trend

Many TikTok users have claimed pouring cheap vodka through a Brita filter can make the liquor taste like water. But how does the viral trend actually work?

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 12 October 2022 20:45 BST
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The phrase “You get what you pay for” almost always reigns true, especially when it comes to buying cheap vodka. Often taking shots from a $18 bottle of New Amsterdam or a $16 litre of Svedka will elicit the same reaction: it tastes like rubbing alcohol, burns on the way down, and can leave you with an insane hangover the next day.

Luckily, a cheap vodka hack has gone viral on TikTok that has many people pouring their liquor through a Brita filter. The results? It apparently tastes like water.

This Brita filter hack isn’t something new. College students on a budget have been filtering their vodka through a Brita pitcher for years (The trend was also the subject of a 2006 MythBusters episode). Only now the hack has spread throughout TikTok and many users are sharing their results after filtering their vodka. Yet, there’s one question that still plagues the minds of these brave test subjects: How does it work?

Here’s the science behind the viral trend.

TikTok user Elliott Norris, who goes by @callmebelly on the app, received 5.4m views on a video this week when he filtered a $10 bottle of vodka from Trader Joe’s through his Brita pitcher.

“Do you think this is going to work?” he asked his friend in the video.

“I do not think this is going to work at all,” they responded.

After taste testing the unfiltered vodka and comparing it to the filtered version, Elliott was shocked by the results.

“It tastes like nothing,” he said.

“It tastes like water,” his friend added.

Then, friends Sydney and Katie decided to try it out for themselves with a bottle of Titos vodka. “I’m scared,” they said before taking a sip from the filtered shot.

“When I tell y’all it tastes like water,” Katie said after taking the shot.

“That is dangerous,” Sydney warned.

While the Brita filter seemed to make cheap vodka go down easier, TikTok users in the comments section couldn’t help but ask the most important question: “Will it make you less drunk?”

Surprisingly, no. A Brita filter will not filter out or change the chemical composition of a drink’s alcoholic content. Instead, a Brita filter – also known as an activated carbon filter – works by cutting chlorine taste and odor from tap water. This is why the strong smell and bad taste of the cheap vodka is gone after being run through the filter.

Cheap vodka tends to contain many more impurities than expensive vodka does, which can change the clarity, taste, and texture of the drink. High-end vodka brands are usually made from wheat or rye, while inexpensive vodka is made from lower-quality fermented grains such as molasses, soybeans, rice or potatoes. Plus, expensive alcohols are distilled more than cheap ones before they are put on the market, which is why they tend to taste better and go down smoother.

And before you ask, yes. The Brita filter hack does indeed work with other alcohols, like tequila and red wine. However, vodka is considered the most pure liquor, so pouring a bottle of Espolòn Tequila through a Brita pitcher might clog the filter and leave it with more residue.

With this viral Brita filter trend, every low-grade, bottom-shelf vodka will now taste any other high-end brand. Please drink responsibly.

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