A Bit Of History And Some Interesting Facts About Vodka

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Vodka is a typically colorless liquor, usually distilled from fermented grain. It is commonly thought that the term is taken from the Slavic word "voda" (woda, вода) for "water." In Ukrainian "vodka" is "horilka". (with the words root meaning being "to burn")

Except for insignificant amounts of flavorings, vodka consists of water and alcohol (ethanol). Vodka usually has an alcohol content ranging from 35 to 60 percent by volume. The classic Ukrainian or Russian vodka is 40 percent (80 degrees proof), the number being attributed to the famous Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. According to the Vodka Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mendeleev thought the perfect percentage to be 38, but since spirits in his time were taxed on their strength the percentage was rounded up to 40 to simplify the tax computation. Nowdays you can also find 38 percent vodka, but is usually called "Light"

Although vodka is generally consumed "straight" in its Central European and Scandinavian homeland, its growth in popularity elsewhere owes much to its usefulness in cocktails and other mixed drinks, such as the Bloody Mary, the Bullshot, and the Vodka Martini (also known as a Vodkatini), a dry martini made with vodka instead of gin.

The origins of vodka (and of its name) cannot be traced definitively, but it is believed to have originated in the grain-growing regions that now embrace Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and western Russia. It also has a long tradition in Scandinavia.

Vodka may be distilled from any starch/sugar-rich plant matter. Most vodka today is produced from grains such as sorghum, corn, rye or wheat. Among grain vodka, rye and wheat vodka is generally considered superior. Some vodka is made from potatoes, molasses, soybeans, grapes and sometimes even byproducts of oil refining or wood pulp processing. In some Central European countries like Poland some vodka is produced by just fermenting a solution of crystal sugar and some salts for the yeast and then distilling this after a few weeks.

A common property of all vodka, compared to other spirits, is that before any flavouring is added, they are neutralized as much as possible. This is often done by filtering it in a column stil during distillation, and filtering through charcoal and other means after distillation. The idea is to remove everything except pure water and pure alcohol from the liquid. As a result, vodka has a very neutral taste.

Apart from the alcoholic content, vodka may be classified into two main groups: clear vodka and flavored vodka. Flavorings often include red pepper, ginger, various fruit flavors, vanilla, chocolate (unsweetened), and cinnamon. Ukrainians produce a commercial vodka also that includes St John's Wort (a plant).The Poles and Belarusians add the leaves of the local bison grass to produce Zubrowka or Zubrovka vodka, which has a slightly sweet flavor and a light amber color. In Ukraine and Russia, vodka flavored with honey and pepper (Pertsovka, in Russian, Pertsivka, in Ukrainian) is also very popular. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vodka)

During the times of Peter the Czar, there was a custom: that each foreign ambassador at the courtyard should drink

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