Vodka is a distilled type of alcohol. It is made up of water and ethanol. It may sometimes contain small amounts of impurities and flavorings. By traditional convention, vodka is a predominantly Russian drink and is made by distillation of certain fermented grains or fermented potatoes. Some modern companies also are capable of using other substances, like sugar and fruit to produce vodka. Traditionally, vodka contained an alcohol content of 40% by volume. To this very day Russian, Latvian, Estonian, Polish, Ukrainian and Czech vodkas are still at that mark, containing 40% alcohol by volume.
The European Union has decided that if vodka(made in Europe), has a minimum of 37.5% A.B.V (Alcohol By Volume), it may be classified as actual vodka. In The U.S.A however, an A.B.V minimum of 40% must be reached to classify alcoholic beverages as “vodka”.
Whilst american moonshine is also a clear alcohol well known for being very high in A.B.V. sometimes even exceeding 50% it is not to be confused with Vodka, there are many similarities however especially in the way it is distilled which is why we thought we would give it a mention.
During the Middle Ages, liquor was used for medicinal reasons of sterilization and cleaning. It was also an ingredient in the production of gunpowder. In the 14th century, a British person visiting the capital of Moscow described vodka as Russia’s national drink and soon after (16th century) it also became the national drink in both Poland and Finland. The drink spread by proximity and word of mouth.
Most Popular Vodka Brands
This section can help you decide on a vodka brand which is popular among many people in both Europe and the Eastern Block. The rankings below are all based on the number of crates sold by companies and their popularity in the year of 2012.
1. Smirnoff – Countless number of flavors and millions of bottles sold all over the world, it is the king of vodka in terms of popularity, according to research conducted.
2. Absolut – In 2nd place, Absolut has done very well for themselves. Constant product innovation in taste, quality, flavors and bottle design. It also produces limited edition bottles, all of which are amazing. One of the smoothest vodkas around.
3. Belenkaya – This 3rd place entry is a bit of a dark horse for Europe and although it isn’t well known in the European market, it is very well respected in it’s homeland because of it’s taste and purity. It comes in a variety of 4 types : Belenkaya, Belenkaya Lux, Belenkaya Gold and Belenkaya Cedar. It is well respected in it’s homeland.
4. Pyat Ozer – It is the best-selling Siberian vodka brand and has forged a rank of 4th in terms of popularity and cases sold throughout the year of 2012. It’s popularity is justified in the high quality which this product provides in terms of taste and smoothness.
5. Krupnik – This brand of vodka is spreading and becoming a world-wide provider of fine-tasting spirits. It has secured the place of 5th in this ranking and is already available in Austria, China, Germany and the United States. The brand is also beginning to spread to Mediterranean regions, such as Italy, Spain and France.
6. Zoladkowa de Luxe – This spirit’s taste and purity has made a name for itself among the Polish community. Attractive bottle design and good exposure have managed to land this brand in 6th place.
7. Grey Goose – A branch of Bacardi, it is in charge of producing super-premium vodka, which originally had been created in the Cognac region of France. It comes in different flavors to satisfy anyone’s cravings.
8. Skyy – The Campari Group is responsible for the relatively well-known premium vodka, Skyy. It is mainly sold to the US, Brazil, Canada and Italy.
9. Stolichnaya – This brand offers plenty of flavors and is quite popular world-wide. It is also quite famous for it’s “Salted Karamel” flavor, a flavor the company claims to be a unique and original invention.
10. Finlandia – As the name suggests, this spirit is produced in Finland. It is a leading premium importer of vodka in Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia among many others. It also possesses flavored variations, including Grapefruit, Lime, Mango, Wild Berries, Tangerine and many others.
How Much Vodka Does Your Country Drink ?
This image shows you which country drink the most vodka per capita, per year.
Above, one can see that Russia wins this contest hands down and the high level of consumption is probably due to their cold weather conditions and the popularity of the spirit itself. In Russia, the Vodka is traditionally drunk neat. It is also drunk in the same way in the “vodka belt countries” of Eastern Europe as well as those surrounding the Baltic Sea.
3 Very Different Vodkas
Below, you will find some very strange vodka ventures, sought out by companies who are willing to push the limits and boundaries of what is considered as run-of-the-mill and what is truly unique.
Milk Vodka :
A dairy farmer, Jason Barber found a way to turn milk into vodka. He makes this kind of vodka, by separating milk into curds and whey. This has a double purpose because the curds are used to make cheese, and the whey is then collected, fermented, and turned into a beer. What makes this truly extraordinary is the following process the beer goes through. When put through his own “Barber’s secret blending” and a distilling process, the beer is turned into a spirit. The spirit is triple-filtered and then bottled.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Flavored Vodka :
Peanut Butter and Jelly is a combination of ingredients, much loved by the American population. The brand “Van Gogh Vodka” is so fascinated by their love for it that it has infused it’s vodka with the flavor of the classic treat itself. This is no PB and J substitute though, and cannot be served in sandwiches and instead, must be used as a mixer with other kinds of alcohol or liquor.
Wasabi Flavored Vodka :
Wasabi is a notoriously spicy ingredient, which is made out of roots and stems of a plant found in Japan. This plant is ground and then undergoes a process to turn it into either a paste or a powder. The vodka in question here, has a wasabi taste to it, making it one of the hottest drinks on the market at this point in time. Plenty of brands experiment with new flavors. OODKA, one of the brave brands who takes vodka to a whole new level, does so to afford people the luxury of bespoke vodka experiences at home, at a party or at a club.
Vodka Infused Cocktails
Vodka is versatile, mixable and goes well with other flavors. Below, you can find a list of some very unique cocktail mixes involving vodka.
- Black Rose
- Shishito Yuzu-Ade Cocktail
- Hard Sweet Tea
- Classic Lemon Drop
- Kiwi Vodka Tonic
- The Beehive
- Jasmine Sour Martini
blackberries, rosé wine, simple syrup, wheels, lime juice, ice and vodka
club soda, shishito chile, yuzu juice, simple syrup and vodka
lemon juice, black tea, wheels, vodka and simple syrup
vodka, sugar, lemon juice, ice, twists, simple syrup and lemon wedge
vodka and simple syrup
ice cubes, cold water, vodka, lemon juice, chips and simple syrup
lemon juice, vodka, simple syrup and jasmine flowers
Food and Vodka
In the list below, you can see a few dishes which include vodka and the benefits of adding it to enhance the flavor of your meal.
Penne with Cream, Vodka, Salmon and Caviar –
A subtle blend of pan seared salmon, thick white cream, red or black caviar and a few splashes of vodka really bring the sauce together and make for an interesting flavor.
Pasta with Spicy Vodka Sauce
This sauce somewhat inspired by a combination of the Roman variant of the “arrabbiata” as well as tomato-vodka sauce. Add some oregano, a small amount of chille and a few splashes of vodka and this dish will be one to remember.