Vodka is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks sold, consumed and drunk worldwide. However, as with most creations vodka’s history varies somewhat. The two leading countries claiming to be the mother of vodka are Poland and Russia, although some also claim that Sweden created the ever popular liquor.
The birth date of vodka is estimated around the beginning of the 12th Century, although some will say it was as early as the 8th Century. The name is said to come from the Russian word ‘voda’, meaning water in Russia.
Vodka is usually distilled then filtered through vegetable charcoal – this gets rid of any unnecessary by-products. Distilling techniques and strategies further improved in later years with the introduction of different herbs and spices.
It was originally created in the Middle Ages for medicinal purposes, distilled from rye, vodka was used as an anaesthetic and disinfectant. Furthermore, vodka, believe it or not was used as an ingredient in the production of gunpowder.
Vodka’s intoxicating characteristics were discovered in the middle of the 14th Century and so it was produced for drinking purposes before the end of the 1300’s.
The Russian’s believed the spirit to contain a spirit of its own and so a gallon of vodka, yes a gallon, was passed around at religious events and in the beginning of the 17th Century bread and vodka were used to introduce most meals consumed by the Russians.
After the Russian revolution in 1917, many Russian refugees took their skills plus their love for vodka to different parts of the world – and this could explain its worldwide popularity today in the Western culture. Today most brands of vodka are distilled from rye, wheat, barley and corn.
Vodka’s popularity grew immensely in the 1930’s due to the creation of the Smirnoff company. Today you can find honey, melon, pepper, blackberry, apple and strawberry vodka, just to name a few. Vodka cocktails are as numerous as those of gin and are seen in the same wine and cocktail bars worldwide. You can enjoy a classy Cosmo to an exciting Harvey Wallbanger; the list of vodka cocktails is endless.