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.
Warming heat of vodka plus silky smooth chocolate equals heavenly, boozy simplicity in a glass.
Vodka and Ice Tea and Iced Tea Vodka are two very different things. One is basically a cocktail while the other is a vodka infusion. Really the latter is just tea flavoured vodka that has been either artificially flavoured or infused using tea leaves. Brands of tea flavoured vodka are detailed below.
Who doesn’t take great pleasure in requesting “One Screaming Orgasm please!” tee he, he?! This is a cocktail that tastes sweet and harmless but the combination of spirit plus spirit with a mixer of spirit is a lethal one!
A strawberry summer slush is the perfect concoction to chill you out in the heat of the sun whilst relaxing on a beach somewhere exotic! Or if you don't happen to be sunning yourself in a picture perfect, sun-drenched location then you can enjoy the drink whilst daydreaming about your next jaunt!
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!
Russian Standard is clean, perfectly clear and smooth. Although a premium brand it can often be found on the supermarket shelf with an offer sticker, making it all the more appealing!
Blavod: 80% proof, neutral grain vodka.
The distinguishing feature of Blavod vodka is that it is black. It isn’t unique in its blackness as there are now a few copycats but it is definitely the most well-known brand of black vodka and claims to be the only ‘premium black vodka on the market’.
Whether it’s a Friday night, a Monday night or a Sunday afternoon this place is pumping and loud, loud, LOUD! The staff are hyped, the music is deafening and the cocktails are flowing each and every day of the week.
Opium is a hidden gem amongst the back to back bustling restaurants of Gerrard Street.