Vodka: One of the world’s favourite spirits. It is a distilled beverage traditionally used for medicinal purposes in Eastern Europe. It is composed of water and ethanol, with traces of impurities and flavourings.
It was rarely consumed outside Europe before the 1950s. By 1975, vodka sales in the United States overtook those of bourbon, previously the most popular hard liquor of the country.
In the second half of the 20th century, vodka owed its popularity in part to its reputation as an alcoholic beverage that “leaves you breathless”, as one ad put it — claiming no smell of liquor remains detectable on the breath, and its overall neutral flavour, allows it to be mixed into a wide variety of drinks, often replacing other liquors (particularly gin) in traditional drinks, such as the martini.
The popularity of Vodka has grown over the centuries as it has no distinct flavour or smell, which makes it great for mixing drinks and making exciting cocktails. It is an essential ingredient to any bar.The top 2 prominent brands known in the western world are Stolichnaya and Absolut.
For Vodka novices the easiest way to tell the 2 are apart is to look at the texture. Stolichnaya has a silky smooth oily texture to it where Absolut has a clean watery finish.
The History of Vodka.
The name “vodka” is a diminutive form of the Slavic word voda (water), interpreted as little water; and the word vodka was first recorded in 1405 in Poland. However there is a debate amongst scholars who say Vodka may have been distilled as early as the 8th century in Poland.
In these early days, the spirits were used mostly as medicines. Stefan Falimierz asserted in his 1534 works on herbs that vodka could serve “to increase fertility and awaken lust”
What is Vodka Made of?
Vodka may be made from any starch- or sugar-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grains such as sorghum, corn, rye or wheat.
Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior. Some vodka are made from potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes, rice, sugar beets and sometimes even by products of oil refining or wood pulp processing.
In some Central European countries, such as Poland, some vodka is produced by just fermenting a solution of crystal sugar and yeast.
In the European Union there are talks about the standardization of vodka, and the Vodka Belt countries insist that only spirits produced from grains, potato and sugar beet molasses be allowed to be branded as “vodka”, following the traditional methods of production.[
How is Vodka Made?
Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented substances such as grains, potatoes, or sometimes fruits and/or sugar.
The key to distillation is the separation of alcohol from the water content of fermented liquid. Because water freezes at a higher temperature than alcohol, the Eastern Europeans were able to separate the alcohol by freezing fermented liquid during the winter months. As a result they were left with a drink with a higher strength than that produced by fermentation alone.
In the early years this method was made in pot-still, using local materials such as barley, rye, potatoes and rice. Now a day the distillation process is primarily automated with modern machinery.
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