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A distilled liquor, clear and colourless and without definite aroma or taste, ranging in alcoholic content from about 40 to 55 percent. Because it is highly neutral, flavouring substances having been mainly eliminated during processing, it can be made from a mash of the cheapest and most readily available raw materials suitable for fermentation. Cereal grains were traditionally employed in Russia and Poland; later potatoes were used increasingly there and in other vodka-producing countries.
While the name is a diminutive of the Russian voda (“water”), the origins of the liquor are a matter of debate. Some claim that it originated as early as the 8th or 9th century in either Poland or Russia. Regardless of when or where it originated, it was in present in Russia during the 14th century. The beverage was popular mainly in Russia, Poland, and the Balkan states until soon after World War II, when consumption began to increase rapidly in the United States and then in Europe.
Most producers purchase previously distilled and purified neutral spirits that are extremely high in alcohol content, with almost no flavouring substances remaining. Such spirits are then additionally purified by a filtration process, usually employing charcoal, and are then reduced in strength with distilled water and bottled without aging.
In Russia, where fairly low alcohol content of 40 percent by volume (80 U.S. proof) is preferred, and in Poland, where 45 percent is more common, it is is usually consumed unmixed and chilled, in small glasses, and accompanied by appetizers. In other countries it is popular for use in mixed drinks because of its neutral character. It may be combined with other beverages without imparting flavour of its own and substituted for other spirits in cocktails not requiring the specific flavour of the original spirit. Popular drinks include the screwdriver, made with orange juice; the Bloody Mary, with tomato juice etc
The name vodka means ”little water” in Russian. It is without a doubt one of the best-known and most consumed distilled alcoholic beverages around the world. It has gained great notoriety in the cocktail world as this liquor is incredibly versatile.
This liquor is a neutral compound that is treated with charcoal and other materials, both during distillation and after. This is done to obtain its distinctive characteristic which is an almost absolute absence of taste. Therefore, you only need one sip of vodka to identify this characteristic spirit. The alcohol content in vodka must be higher than 37,5 % in Europe and higher than 40 % in the US, but the percentage can vary according to the type of vodka.
Generally, vodka is produced through the fermentation of grains and other starchy plants such as rye, wheat, and potatoes. However, the main ingredients are water and ethanol. This liquor became popular in Europe before it eventually spread to the rest of the world. It is characteristically consumed in Poland, Russia, and Belarus where the locals enjoy drinking it pure.
The most common and back-to-basics vodka is white or neutral vodka. However, flavoured vodkas were also introduced. The flavoured varieties were created as an alternative to the neutral vodka which has a strong flavour and an alcoholic aroma. The goal was not only to improve the taste, as they also served medicinal purposes. We can even find colourful vodkas with colours such as black, blue and red, among others.