Where Does Vodka Originally Come From?
Posted in: Spirits

Where Does Vodka Originally Come From?

Vodka is an alcoholic drink that can be distilled from a variety of plants. It is usually distilled from potatoes
or from corn. However, it can also be distilled from sugar beet, grains like wheat or barley, and sometimes
grapes.

The distillation process that is used to create vodka removes much of the flavour of the plant used. This results in a flavourless, colourless liquid that has no smell.

The great advantage of vodka is that it will add an alcoholic kick to other drinks. Vodka is most often used as a mixer as it won’t change the taste of the spirit with which it is paired.

Vodka has to be distilled about six times to remove any taste, with a final run through charcoal to make sure any last lingering flavour is removed. The result of this process is pure vodka.

 

What Is The History Of Vodka?

Vodka originated in either Russia or Poland. The word ‘Vodka’ comes from ‘voda’ a word that means ‘little water’ in both Russian and Polish. The liquid was called this because it was drunk so frequently by ordinary people that it could easily have been water. Imagine a working man sitting by his fireside on a cold night on the Russian steppes. Very likely, he would pick up his drink and say ‘just a little water to keep out the cold’.

Written references to vodka date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Poland and in Russia. At that time it was seen as a medicinal drink, and would have differed from the liquid we call vodka today.

By the sixteenth century vodka was seen as having aphrodisiac qualities. Recipes for creating vodka from a variety of plants begin to be found in manuscripts from the seventeenth century onwards.

In Russia vodka production was concentrated around Moscow. Legend has it that a monk by the name of Isidore first produced vodka in about 1430, using a secret recipe. Stills used for distillation had been known from as early as the 8th century, but improvements to the process meant that Isidore, a specialist in the field, would have been using cutting-edge techniques to create his vodka.

Small quantities of vodka were also produced in Sweden from the fifteenth century onwards. It was in Sweden, it seems, that potatoes came to dominate the vodka industry, especially as there were frequent grain
shortages.

 

Distilling Vodka

Creating vodka involves distilling fermented starch-rich plants like potatoes, corn or rye, and sugar-rich plants like sugar beet. The process of distillation also involves a level of filtration that helps create a more pure vodka.

In Europe, filtration tends to be less than it is in the United States. European producers, especially those in the Vodka Belt countries, prefer traditional methods of distillation. The Vodka Belt comprises countries across northern and eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and Ukraine. Consumption of vodka is much higher in these countries than elsewhere.

 

Conclusion

Vodka is a popular drink with a high level of alcohol – 37.5% in Europe and 40% in the US. It is popular as it can be mixed with a wide range of spirits to create cocktails without affecting the taste of the other ingredients.

It is a simple way of boosting the alcohol level of any cocktail. Vodka has a long history, and today is produced on an industrial scale in many countries.

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