In the 8th century, the Poles invented a spirit called vodka, and the reason why vodka is usually associated with Russia is because, after the invention, the Russians had the greatest influence on the product that we associate with vodka today. Vodka had better opportunities to develop into the crystal clear liquid that we know in Russia, as there was the possibility to freeze the liquid and then collect the alcoholic liquid. You freeze to pure alcohol instead of heating, distillation also first came to Russia in the middle of the 15th century. It was also during this time that vodka was produced and consumed for its medicinal benefits, which is why it was named "Zhiznennia Voda" (water of life). In the 18th century it came to be called "vodka" (little water).

In the 1780s, the German pharmacist Theodore Lowitz, who was the Russian Tsar's alchemist, discovered that vodka became both much softer and milder by filtering it through charcoal. Although it was a long time ago, the vodka we know today is not far from the one Theodore came up with here. The method also quickly spread to the other Russian vodka producers and also caused vodka to suddenly appear elsewhere in the world.

Vodka has been in Scandinavia since the 15th century, which at the time was made from fermented corn. Lars Olsson Smith, the founder of Absolut, introduced the Swedes in 1879 to his vodka, which was then called "Absolut rent Brännvin". It was only after Smirnoff had its international marketing campaign in the 1960s and 70s that Absolut changed its name from brandy to vodka.

Over the last 50 years, vodka has made huge progress, and the reason is that it is taste neutral and therefore works perfectly as an alcohol base in a multitude of popular drinks, such as the Moscow Mule.

The production of vodka

Vodka is usually produced from grain or potatoes, but theoretically anything with sugar or starch can be used, as long as it undergoes filtration after distillation.

Vodka made from grains accounts for more than 90% of global production, with wheat and rye being the most popular grains. When producing vodka on potatoes, a lot of fuseoil is often formed, which is removed by diluting the liquid after the first distillation, filtering it through charcoal, and then distilling it again. In a Polish pamphlet published in 1809, the making of vodka on potatoes was described with the warning that it is the worst kind of vodka. Potatoes apparently only became popular in the production of Polish vodka because potatoes were cheap and plentiful.

Classifications of vodka

Under classifications, vodka has a lot of options. First we have the classification of whether the vodka is flavored or not. This means whether the given vodka is neutral in taste, or has added a taste, such as lemon, raspberry or peach.

In addition to the taste, the vodka can also be classified according to where it is produced, and here the production is divided into two areas: Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, etc.) and the West (USA, Sweden, etc.).

Since vodka can be produced from almost anything that contains starch, vodka can therefore also be divided into what it is produced on. Here, however, it is generally divided into cereals and potatoes.

Finally, you can also talk about how many times the individual vodka is distilled, which some brands advertise on their bottles. However, this is a subject where it is a bit difficult to definitively classify different vodkas, as each distillery has their own way of doing things.

Reviews of vodka

Cocktails with vodka