Vodka an alcoholic spirit made by distillation of cereal grains or potatoes that have been fermented, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar.
The word Vodka is derived from the Slavic word Voda, meaning “water,” then K was added and it became Vodka.
Origin of modern vodka can be traced to the Poland and Russia. These two countries are in a disagreement to this day, trying to determine who was first to create this iconic drink.
Historically speaking, the first record of the production of vodka comes from the 9th century Russia, and the first distillery was mentioned in the Russian newspaper Vyatka Chronicle two centuries later in 1174. Polish clam of the discovery of vodka goes back to the 8th century, but as this was a distillation of wine it might be more appropriate to consider it a crude brandy.
Popularity of vodka began to rise during 14th century. By then, vodka was used for over 2 centuries as a medical remedy, but according to legend, monk called Isidore from Chudov Monastery in Kremlin made a first recipe for Russian vodka. Using his knowledge of distillation, he created the drink that became very popular in the entire country.
In the 14th century a British emissary to Moscow first described vodka as the Russian national drink and in the mid-16th century it was established as the national drink in Poland and Finland.
Vodka’s popularity spread throughout the 19th century, helped by the presence in many parts of Europe of Russian soldiers involved in the Napoleonic Wars.
After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks confiscated all private distilleries in Moscow. As a result, a number of Russian vodka-makers emigrated, taking their skills and recipes with them. One such exile revived his brand in Paris, using the French version of his family name – Smirnoff. Thence, having met a Russian émigré from the USA, they set up the first vodka distillery there in 1934. This was subsequently sold to a US drinks company. From this small start, vodka began in the 1940s to achieve its wide popularity in the Western World.
To this day Russia remains one of the largest consumers of vodka in the world (in 1911 vodka represented 89% of all alcohol consumed, down to 70% in 2016).
Today, vodka holds 20% of the United States market and is considered as one of the most popular alcoholic drinks worldwide.
Since the 1890s, the standard Polish, Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Czech vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume ABV (80 US proof), a percentage that is widely misattributed to Dmitri Mendeleev (Russian chemist – creator of the Periodic Table).
Since vodka is distilled from water ethanol and fermented potatoes or grains, it contains very little fusel oils–much less than other alcoholic beverages. This coupled with the fact that it is carbon filtered, makes it one of the purest drinks in the world!
Vodka is usually not left to age. After its fermentation and distillation, an alcoholic drink is produced that can be immediately bottled and sold.
Vodka is traditionally drunk neat (not mixed with any water, ice, or other mixer), though it is often served chilled in the vodka belt countries: Russia, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland.
There are some types of vodka to which other flavors are added, such as chili pepper, ginger, fruit, vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, cherry or apple flavors. In Russia, honey and pepper are added which is a very popular flavor. In Poland, bison grass is added.
True vodka has relatively no taste so that it can be added to almost any beverage.
Vodka is commonly used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the Vodka martini, Cosmopolitan, Vodka Tonic, Screwdriver, Greyhound, Black or White Russian, Moscow Mule, Bloody Mary, Long Island Iced Tea and Sea Breeze.
Top 5 Best Selling Vodka Brands in the World are:
4. Khlibnyi Dar
Billionaire Vodka is officially the world’s most expensive vodka. It costs a staggering $3.7 million per bottle. Each bottle carries up to five liters of exclusive vodka, developed using a secret Russian recipe. However, the most amazing element of the liquor content is that the distilled liquid is poured over diamonds that themselves are worth many millions of dollars. The bottle is studded with over 3,000 diamonds and Swarovski crystals creating the alphabet ‘I’ in the word Billionaire.
Highest alcoholic content is 96% which is present in Spirytus Polish Vodka among all alcoholic beverages. In short, abusing this drink can literally make you meet God!
Vodka Museum in St. Petersburg is the first museum in Russia and in the world dedicated exclusively to Vodka. This excellent private museum tells the story of Russia’s national tipple in an interesting and fun way, from the first production of ‘bread wine’ to the phenomenon of the modern international vodka industry, complete with waxwork models and some very cool bottles.
The Russians partied so hard once WWII ended, that the entire city of Moscow ran out of Vodka. As one reporter put it, “I was lucky to buy a liter of vodka at the train station when I arrived, because it was impossible to buy any later … There was no vodka in Moscow on May 10; we drank it all.”
Teachers in part of Siberia, Russia were paid in vodka in September 1998, as the authorities had no money to meet their wages bill. More than 8,000 teachers were given 15 bottles each, as they reportedly had not been paid their salaries since February or March.
In Russia, the Russian word for vodka is in the top 1000 most used words. (#945).
Moderate use of vodka can have many health benefits including better cardiovascular health, reduction in stress quotient, keeps cholesterol and arteries healthy, its excellent remedy against cold sore and fever, prevents stroke and Alzheimer’s.
It also possesses valuable antiseptic, anti-bacterial qualities, helps in disinfecting the wounds and works as an effective cleaning agent.
Vodka is one of the few alcohols that have a relatively low amount of calories. Choosing vodka over high calorie beer and sugary drinks can help you lose weight significantly.
Vodka may help preserve fresh-cut flower blooms. Vodka is often claimed to help flowers due to antimicrobial properties, but the spirit likely has a different effect, according to John Dole, a horticulturalist at North Carolina State University. When you add a few drops of vodka to vase water, it probably delays wilting by inhibiting a flower’s production of ethylene, a ripening gas that plants emit, Dole told Scientific American.