Vodka has been sipped, downed and applied across the globe for centuries. Originating in Eastern Europe towards the end of the 9th century the name is derived from the Russian word ‘voda’ meaning water. It was primarily used for medicinal purposes and as an ingredient in gun powder during the Middle Ages but during the 14th century became an established drink in Russia and by the middle of the 16th century was recognised as the national drink of Poland and Finland. But what is vodka made from?
In order to make vodka you need to ferment any foodstuff that contains either sugar or starch. This must then be distilled to increase the alcohol content. The process of fermentation involves feeding sugar to yeast so that the yeast produces alcohol. Vodka can be made of a variety of foods such as fermented grains, including rice, rye, sorghum, corn or wheat. It is also possible to use potatoes, fruits or even sugar alone.
This initial fermentation stage produces a liquid with only around 16 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) which is too low to be classified as a spirit. To increase the ABV content the product needs to be distilled. This is the process through which the weak alcoholic concoction is heated in a still. Since the boiling point for alcohol is lower than that of water it is possible to collect the evaporated alcohol vapour and separate it out from the water. Most of the vodka on sale is around the 40% mark but it can get as high as 95 or so percent although there is a limit to the allowable alcoholic content of drinks in many countries.
Fact: In 2012 the world’s consumption of vodka was 4.44 billion litres. Russia accounted for nearly 2 billion worth of this! That’s an average of 14 litres per year per person for your average Russian.
This is both a popular and potent classic cocktail with vodka being just one of 5 spirits that make up the toxic mix of alcohol.
It’s a classic that has caused a zillion number of smirks, giggles or outright fits of laughter when ordered at any bar on the planet and if you don’t find it vaguely amusing then you must be lacking a sense of humour! It is a simple enough cocktail consisting of just 2 spirits and a bit of juice but sometimes simplicity is needed in life and indulging in good old sex on the beach is what’s required! Tee. Hee. Hee.
The perfect drink to soften the blow of autumn onset. This is a sweet twist on a classic drink with a mild poke of spice.
This flirtatious cocktail adds a bubbly, pineapple twist to a Cosmopolitan. If you are feeling frugal switch the champagne for a Prosecco (arguably a more palatable fizz at a fraction of the cost).
The Bloody Mary is renowned as a hangover cure in a hair of the dog, let’s keep on the sauce kind of a way!
This cocktail is pure indulgence in a glass. In fact it is so scrummy and filling that it could easily be a desert. If you like your cocktails thick, creamy and chocolaty then a frozen mudslide is definitely a winner!