Today, October 4, is National Vodka Day, and we’ve got the low down on everybody’s favorite clear spirit. Let’s start off with some facts about Vodka that you may not have known.
- “Vodka” is a diminutive form of the Slavic word “Voda” (water), essentially translating to “Little Water”. The earliest recorded use of the word was in Polish court documents, dating back to 1405.
- The original history of Vodka is somewhat contentious: The Russians claim to have invented it in the 9th century, while the Poles claim to have first created vodka in the 8th century. Both sides insist that Vodka came from their country to this day.
- Wherever Vodka originated, its earliest incarnations was quite different from Vodka as we know it today. It had a different flavor, color, and smell, and only contained around 14% alcohol (the highest percentage possible through natural fermentation). It also had a different use, employed primarily as a medicine rather than a beverage. With the invention of the still, however, the alcohol content shot straight up, and Vodka became popular as a drink rather than a medicine.
- One of the most influential reasons why vodka became so popular in Russia and Poland was because the spirit never froze in the hard Eastern European winters, due to its high alcohol content.
- You might think that flavored Vodka is a modern trend, but it’s actually almost as old as Vodka itself. Since early production methods were crude and faulty, fruits, herbs, and spices were used to mask imperfections. Later, flavored Vodka became a trademark for a producer and a display of his skill. Flavors included lemon, orange, ginger, coffee, cloves, pepper, and aromatic bison grass.
- Russian chemist D.M. Mendeleev spent years perfecting the ideal recipe for Vodka (40% ethanol, 60% water), which he revealed in 1894. His methods are still used by distilleries all across the world.
- Though rye and wheat are classically used to make Vodka, it can be made from pretty much anything that ferments, including potatoes, sugar cane, barley, molasses, and even vegetables like onions, cabbage and beets.
- Vodka is considered one of the “purest” spirits. A low level of congeners (byproducts of fermentation) means that Vodka is less likely to leave you hung-over and reeling the day after you imbibe.
- Besides being optimal for boozing, Vodka has a whole bevy of other uses in everyday life. In your bathroom, Vodka can be used to kill mildew and mould, and to prevent razor blades from rusting. It can be used to remove poison ivy oil from affected skin, and to disinfect jellyfish sting. If you’ve spilled some red wine, spraying Vodka on the stain, scrubbing, then blotting dry will help clean your carpet. Vodka: it’s not just for drinking anymore.
- Vodka is the most popular spirit in the world. It currently accounts for 10% of the Russian GDP.
1.7 oz. of Russian Standard
5 oz. of ginger beer
Serve it in a copper mug and garnish it with a lime wedge. Enjoy!
Electrolyte (served Upstairs at Kimberly Hotel)
4 big chunks fresh watermelon- muddled
½ oz. pineapple juice
juice from half a lemon
1½ oz. vodka (non-flavored)
Serve in a highball glass with ice and a vertical watermelon slice garnish.
2 oz. Broken Shed Vodka
crushed basil leaves (generous amount)