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Vodka 101

Vodka 101

Americans drink more vodka than any other spirit, and it’s only surpassed by whisky and the Chinese baijiu on a global scale.

Vodka is popular for several reasons. For starters, it’s the very definition of beauty in simplicity. Vodka is nothing more than alcohol and water, and you can literally produce it with any fermentable base, from sugar cane to grapes and from cereal grains to potatoes. Sorghum, corn, rye or wheat, soybeans, rice and beets, anything with an underlying sweetness might become vodka.

Vodka takes its name from the Russian word for water vodá, and it’s the traditional drink in Russia, Poland and Sweden, to mention a few countries where drinking the fiery spirit ‘neat’ is standard.

The earliest written mentions of vodka go back to 1533; that’s the Middle Ages, and a few centuries later, vodka production was an industrial endeavor.

Vodka is a neutral spirit, but that doesn’t mean it’s always inexpensive. Producers can distil the spirit dozens and sometimes hundreds of times to achieve the purest spirit possible. The result is a crystal clear beverage with a coating mouthfeel as smooth as silk, especially when served chilled.

Vodka is a blank canvas for other flavors to shine through, making it the most versatile spirit for cocktails. From a splash of orange juice to elaborate concoctions, vodka is a noble spirit with lots of possibilities. However, this hasn’t stopped producers from releasing flavored vodkas in a wide range of infinite possibilities. There’s literally a vodka to please every palate.
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