When it comes to the subject of alcohol, there are certain beverages that everyone just seems to know a lot about. From wine being made from pressed grapes to the long and storied history of beer – some alcoholic drinks just yield more information than others. But what about the spirits that we know little about?
Probably one of the most popular beverages on the market today is vodka, which is often favored by drinkers due to its high alcoholic content and its ability to be mixed with most soft drinks and cocktails.
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Many assume that this classic spirit was the product of the country of Russia and that it is commonly made from potatoes, but what if we told you that that may not be entirely true?
Although many people make general assumptions about vodka and its origins, many of them can be easily debunked by doing a little research, which luckily we have done in spades. So if you want to learn about the true beginnings and ingredients of this drink, we have all the information that you need to know.
In this article, we are going to examine the various origins of vodka, as well as take a look at how the drink was originally made back during the time of its creation. So strap yourself in and get ready to learn more about this fascinating drink.
Where Did Vodka Originally Come From?
When it comes to examining the historical origins of different alcoholic beverages, you can usually create a straight timeline of their beginnings and significant events. But, with vodka, it seems that this is not the case.
If we take a look at the history of vodka, we find traces and mentions of the drink going as far back as the 1300s. However, we still have been unable to fully pinpoint the drink’s country of origin.
This is because, during the 14th century, vodka was commonly drunk across several eastern European countries, now known collectively as The Vodka Belt. This formation included countries such as Russia, Poland, Finland and Ukraine, with each territory bearing historical evidence that vodka was being made on their soil.
Although it is safe to assume that Russia was the country that birthed the liquor, this may not be exactly the case.
The assumption that vodka was first invented in Russia often stems from the name of the drink itself, with the word ‘vodka’ supposedly being derived from the Russian word for water, which is ‘voda’.
However, there is also historical evidence that suggests that the word voda was commonly used in Poland around the same time, making the drink’s country of origin particularly difficult to pin down.
In general, there are 3 countries that could all have easily invented vodka, with these countries including Russia, Poland and Finland. Not only has vodka been commonly drunk in these countries for centuries, but there is also evidence that shows that each country was producing the spirit before the rest of Europe even knew what it was.
What Was Vodka Originally Made From?
Although we have been unable to pinpoint the exact country where the drink was first produced, we have been able to discern what vodka was originally made from and the answer is actually not that surprising. Like many bottles of vodka currently available on the market today, the original vodka recipe was made primarily using potatoes.
However, it seems that the original recipe also contained a much lower percentage than most modern brands, with the spirit only containing 14% versus the 37-40% that we now drink today. Another interesting fact surrounding vodka is that it was not originally created as a beverage, but was instead produced for its medicinal purposes.
How Was Vodka Distributed Around The World?
Although vodka would not be consumed for casual purposes until a much later period in history, this does not mean that the spirit was widely drunk or even known by the rest of the world.
Even though there is evidence to suggest that vodka was being produced as far back as the 14th century, it was still a beverage only contained to a small selection of Eastern European countries.
It would not be until the Russian revolution of 1917 that vodka would be widely distributed throughout Europe, with many Russian people leaving their country and homes behind to establish other roots across the continent.
During this time, many of these Russian people took bottles of vodka with them on their journeys, introducing the spirit to various European countries in the process.
However, vodka was still not widely consumed around the world until the height of the Second World War, when the beverage was widely distributed around the world. During this time, vodka became particularly popular in the United States of America and has since remained one of the world’s most famous and iconic liquors.
What Is Vodka Made From Today?
These days, vodka is considered one of the top liquors on the planet and is often favored for its mixing capabilities and strong alcoholic content. Featuring as the primary ingredient in a variety of cocktails and beverages, vodka is arguably one of the most popular spirits being produced today and can be found in bars and restaurants around the world.
However, unlike the original vodka recipe, many modern brands use fermented grains instead of potatoes to make their formula, with many companies also flavoring their vodka with various fruits and herbs. Although potato vodka is still produced and drunk today, grain vodka is commonly favored by most commercial companies because it is much cheaper to produce.
So it seems that all evidence points to vodka being originally made from potatoes, although today it is primarily made using fermented grain and fruits. We may never truly know where vodka actually came from, but we do know how it was originally made and what it was originally made from.
Interesting Facts About Vodka
If you feel like you haven’t learned enough about vodka, then we have compiled a selection of interesting facts down below. Not only are these facts interesting, but they are also surprising and fun. So check them out and learn even more about the history and origins of this fascinating drink.
Vodka Was Once Banned In Russia
During the height of the First World War, the Russian government decided to ban vodka from being consumed on Russian soil. However, this was not an intelligent decision to make and the ban was revoked after the war had ended.
Turns out that vodka was one of Russia’s biggest exports and made up no less than a third of the entire Russian state income.
Russia Once Ran Out Of Vodka
From one world war to the next, May 9th 1945 saw the Nazis surrender to the Soviet Union, which was a proud and historical moment for the political entity. Following the surrender, the Russians decided to celebrate their success by holding a large party, which resulted in the entire country running out of vodka within the first 24 hours.
A Peasant Created The World’s No. 1 Vodka
Yes, you read that right. One of the world’s most popular vodka brands was created by a Russian peasant and his name was Pyotr Smirnov (get it?). During his life, Smirnov saw the high demand for vodka among his friends and comrades, which gave him the idea to produce his own brand of vodka.
This turned out to be a very clever business plan, as Smirnov was a very intelligent man and used unique methods to promote his brand.
One of these methods included giving free samples of vodka to the poorer population and then paying them to go to their local bars and ask for the same, which generated a huge demand for Smirnov’s vodka. Of course, the rest is history.
Vodka Kills Many Russians Every Year
It’s no secret that Russians love vodka. In fact, some Russians love vodka so much that they even drink up to 3 bottles of the spirit every week. So it may come as no surprise to learn that their large intake of vodka often leads to a high amount of deaths among the Russian population.
Studies have shown that deaths in Russia often fluctuate depending on how much vodka the person drank in their lives, which goes to show just how powerful this drink can be.
You’re Supposed To Drink Vodka Cold
Although many people around the world drink large amounts of warm vodka, it is actually supposed to be served cold. This is because vodka contains a natural heat that is greatly reduced when it is drunk fresh from the cooler.
In fact, many Russian people actually store their vodka in the freezer, as this is considered the best way to keep it cool before serving.
The Most Expensive Vodka Is Made From Diamonds
Okay, so it’s not actually made from diamonds, but they are used during the distilling process. Known as Billionaire Vodka, this particular formula undergoes a triple distillation process.
First, it is poured through ice, then nordic birch charcoal and finally through sand made from various diamonds and gemstones. The vodka is then packed in a bottle made from gold and diamonds and can be purchased for a mere $3.750.000.