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A bottle of Russian vodka

Vodka is an alcoholic drink that is usually about 40% alcohol. It is clear, and is often mixed with other liquids before people drink it.

Things that are made into vodka[change | edit source]

Vodka can be made from different things:

  • Molasses (which comes from the production of sugar) are used to produce the cheapest vodka. Because of the ingredient, this kind usually tastes sweeter than vodka made from grain. Soy beans, grapes or sugar beets may also be used, but are less common.
  • Potatoes have been used for centuries to make vodka.
  • Grain is used to produce the highest grade vodka.

The process to make vodka is:

  1. The raw material is crushed and dissolved in water. This is called mashing
  2. The mash is heated to 60 °C. All starch will break up into sugars.
  3. Yeast is added and the mash vessel is closed airtight with airlock. The yeast will ferment the sugar into alcohol.
  4. The fermented mash is then distilled. It can be made either in simple pot still or sophisticated industrial patent still.
  5. If the still used is a pot still, the distillation is usually repeated at least twice to remove any foul-tasting or poisonous impurities away. If the still used is a patent still, the result is spirit; very high contents alcohol unsuitable for drinking. Pure water is added to lower the alcohol contents to desired. This is called dilution.

Unlike cognac or whisky, vodka is not usually matured in barrels, but bottled immediately. Some Scandinavian vodkas called akvavit (Latin aqua vitae, "water of life") are matured in oak barrels before they are bottled. When the vodka is bottled, it is ready for drinking.

History[change | edit source]

Most people think the name Vodka comes from the Slavic word for water in its diminutive form, "little water". The earliest mention of Vodka in Poland is in 1405. The Russians are known to have first used the word in June 8, 1751. It is not known if it was the Russians or the Poles who made the first drinks that could be classified as vodka.

Different kinds of vodka[change | edit source]

There are two basic kinds of Vodka: clear vodka and flavored vodka. Some types of vodka have plants or herbs added to the unflavored vodka to make it taste better. Flavored vodka is popular in America.

How vodka is consumed[change | edit source]

Vodka is either drunk pure, or cocktails are made with it. The simplest form of cocktail is to mix it with orange or lemon juice. Usually, vodka is drunk during a longer meal. Usually salty or sour things (not sweets) are served. In Russia and Poland, Vodka is drunk from glasses that can hold about 100 grams (0,1 litres) of vodka. Very often, it is consumed with a slice of lemon (much like Tequila). The glass is usually emptied in one draught, while holding the breath. Directly afterwards something small is eaten. Before drinking, a toast is given.

Cultural[change | edit source]

It's traditional in Russia and other Slavic countries to put a glass of vodka with a slice of bread (usually black bread) on top on graves or near photos of the deceased in their memory. This is similar to what people in Western country do with flowers.

References[change | edit source]