Vodka

Vodka

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Vodka'
Start a new discussion about 'Vodka'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Vodka is a distilled beverage
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

. It is composed primarily of water and ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made by the distillation of fermented
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 substances such as grain
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

s, potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es, or sometimes fruits.

Traditionally prepared vodkas had an alcoholic content of 38% by volume. Today, the standard Polish
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n and Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n vodkas are 40% abv (80 proof), although many non-export Russian brands are sold at 38%. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 has established a minimum of 37.5% alcohol by volume content for any European vodka to be named as such. Products sold as vodka in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 must have an alcoholic content of 40% or more. For homemade vodkas and distilled beverages referred to as "moonshine", see moonshine by country
Moonshine by country
Moonshine is a generic term for distilled alcoholic beverages made throughout the globe from indigenous ingredients reflecting the customs, tastes, and raw materials for fermentation available in each region...

.

Vodka is traditionally drunk neat
Straight up (bartending)
In bartending, the term straight up refers to an alcoholic drink that is shaken or stirred with ice and then strained and served without ice in a stemmed glass....

 in the vodka belt countries of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and around the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. It is also commonly used in cocktail
Cocktail
A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that contains two or more ingredients—at least one of the ingredients must be a spirit.Cocktails were originally a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The word has come to mean almost any mixed drink that contains alcohol...

s and mixed drinks, such as the Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary (cocktail)
A Bloody Mary is a popular cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and usually other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Peri-Peri Sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consomme or bouillon, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and celery salt...

, screwdriver
Screwdriver (cocktail)
A screwdriver is a popular highball drink made with fresh orange juice and vodka. Outside the US, it is often referred to as "vodka and orange"...

, Sex on the Beach
Sex on the beach (cocktail)
Sex on the Beach is a cocktail that has many variations. There are two general types:*The first type is made from vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and cranberry juice. This is an International Bartenders Association Official Cocktail....

, White Russian
White Russian (cocktail)
A White Russian is a sweet cocktail made with vodka, coffee liqueurs , and cream served with ice in an Old Fashioned glass...

, Black Russian, vodka tonic
Vodka tonic
A vodka tonic is an alcoholic drink made with varying proportions of vodka and tonic water. Vodka tonics are frequently garnished with a slice of lime or lemon....

, and in a vodka martini.

Etymology



The name "vodka" is a diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 form of the Slavic word voda (water), interpreted as little water: root
Root (linguistics)
The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family , which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents....

 вод- (vod-) [water] + -к- (-k-) (diminutive suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

, among other functions) + -a (postfix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

 of feminine gender).

The word "vodka" was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. At the time, the word vodka (wódka), referred to chemical compounds such as medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

s and cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

' cleansers, while the popular beverage was called gorzałka (from the Old Polish gorzeć meaning to burn), which is also the source of Ukrainian horilka
Horilka
Horilka is a Ukrainian alcoholic beverage. The word horilka may also be used in a generic sense in the Ukrainian language to mean whisky, or other strong spirits and etymologically is similar to the Ukrainian word for burning - hority. Home-distilled horilka, moonshine, is called samogon ....

 (горілка). The word vodka written in the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 appeared first in 1533, in relation to a medicinal drink brought from Poland to Russia by the merchants of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

.

A number of Russian pharmaceutical
Pharmacology
Pharmacology is the branch of medicine and biology concerned with the study of drug action. More specifically, it is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function...

 lists contain the terms "vodka of grain wine" (водка хлебного вина vodka khlebnogo vina) and "vodka in half of grain wine" (водка полу хлебного вина vodka polu khlebnogo vina). As alcohol had long been used as a basis for medicines, this implies that the term vodka could be a noun derived from the verb vodit’, razvodit’ (водить, разводить), "to dilute with water". Grain wine was a spirit distilled from alcohol made from grain (as opposed to grape wine) and hence "vodka of grain wine" would be a water dilution of a distilled grain spirit.

While the word vodka could be found in manuscripts and in lubok
Lubok
A lubok is a Russian popular print, characterized by simple graphics and narratives derived from literature, religious stories and popular tales. Lubki prints were used as decoration in houses and inns...

 (лубок, pictures with text explaining the plot, a Russian predecessor of the comic), it began to appear in Russian dictionaries in the mid-19th century. It is, however, already attested in Sámuel Gyarmathi
Samuel Gyarmathi
Sámuel Gyarmathi was a Hungarian linguist, born in Cluj . He is best known for his systematic demonstration of the comparative history of the Finno-Ugric languages in the book Affinitas linguae hungaricae cum linguis fennicae originis grammatice demonstrata which built on the earlier work of...

's Russian-German-Hungarian glossary (1799), where it is glossed with Latin vinum adustum ("burnt [i.e. distilled] wine").

The word vodka was attested in English already in the late 18th century. A description of Russia by Johann Gottlieb Georgi
Johann Gottlieb Georgi
Johann Gottlieb Georgi was a German geographer and chemist.Georgi was professor of chemistry at St Petersburg. He accompanied both Johann Peter Falck and Peter Simon Pallas on their respective journeys through Siberia. Gergi was particularly interested in Lake Baikal...

, published in English in 1780 (presumably, a translation from German) correctly explained: "Kabak in the Russian language signifies a public house for the common people to drink vodka (a sort of brandy) in." William Tooke
William Tooke
William Tooke was a British clergyman and historian of Russia.-Life:Tooke was the second son of Thomas Tooke of St. John's, Clerkenwell, by his wife Hannah, only daughter of Thomas Mann of St. James's, Clerkenwell, whom he married in 1738...

 in 1799 glossed vodka as "rectified corn-spirits".
Another possible connection of "vodka" with "water" is the name of the medieval alcoholic beverage aqua vitae
Aqua vitae
Aqua vitae, or aqua vita, is an archaic name for a concentrated aqueous solution of ethanol. The term was in wide use during the Middle Ages, although its origin is undoubtedly much earlier having been used by Saint Patrick and his fellow monks to refer to both the alcohol and the waters of baptism...

 (Latin, literally, "water of life"), which is reflected in Polish "okowita", Ukrainian оковита, Belarusian акавіта, and Scandinavian akvavit
Akvavit
Akvavit or aquavit is a traditional flavoured spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century....

. (Note that whisky
Whisky
Whisky or whiskey is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn...

 has a similar etymology, from the Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

/Scottish Gaelic uisce beatha
Uisce Beatha
Uisce beatha is the name for whiskey in the Irish language. The word "whiskey" itself is simply an anglicized version of this phrase, stemming from a mispronunciation of the word uisce. This may in turn have influenced the Modern Irish word fuisce...

/uisge-beatha.)

People in the area of vodka's probable origin have names for vodka with roots meaning "to burn": ; ; ; ; Samogitian
Samogitian language
Samogitian is a dialect of the Lithuanian language spoken mostly in Samogitia . Attempts have been made to standardize it...

: degtėnė, is also in use, colloquially and in proverb
Proverb
A proverb is a simple and concrete saying popularly known and repeated, which expresses a truth, based on common sense or the practical experience of humanity. They are often metaphorical. A proverb that describes a basic rule of conduct may also be known as a maxim...

s); ; . In Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 during 17th and 18th century горящѣе вино or горячее вино (goryashchee vino, "burning wine" or "hot wine") was widely used. Compare to German "Branntwein", Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

; brændevin; ; ; (although the latter terms refer to any strong alcoholic beverage).

Another Slavic archaic term for hard liquors, and its derivatives in other languages, was "green wine" (Russian: zelyonoye vino, Lithuanian: žalias vynas).

History


According to the Gin and Vodka Association (GVA), the first documented production of vodka, stemming from the Russian word 'voda' meaning water, was in Russia in the late 9th century. The first known vodka distillery was documented almost two hundred years later at Khylnovsk, Russia, as reported in the Vyatka Chronicle of 1174. Poland lays claim to having distilled vodka even earlier in the 8th century but as this was a distillation of wine it would be more appropriate to consider it a crude brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

. What could be identified as vodka first appeared in Poland in the 11th century when they were called gorzalka, originally used as medicines. Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica , published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia that is available in print, as a DVD, and on the Internet. It is written and continuously updated by about 100 full-time editors and more than 4,000 expert...

 writes that vodka originated in Russia during the 14th century, first brewed Sydnayaska Krueger of the Krueger Family, which later evolved into the company now known as Smirnoff
Smirnoff
Smirnoff is a brand of vodka owned and produced by the British company Diageo. The Smirnoff brand began with a vodka distillery founded in Moscow by Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov , the son of illiterate Russian peasants. It is now distributed in 130 countries.Smirnoff products include vodka, flavored...

.

For many centuries beverages contained little alcohol. It is estimated that the maximum amount was about 14% as only this amount is reachable by means of natural fermentation. The still
Still
A still is a permanent apparatus used to distill miscible or immiscible liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor...

 allowing for distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 – the "burning of wine" – was invented in the 8th century.

Poland



In Poland, vodka has been produced since the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

.
The world's first written mention of the drink and the word "vodka" was in 1405 from Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland. At the time, the word vodka (wódka), referred to chemical compounds such as medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

s and cosmetics
Cosmetics
Cosmetics are substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. Cosmetics include skin-care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, fingernail and toe nail polish, eye and facial makeup, towelettes, permanent waves, colored contact lenses, hair colors, hair sprays and...

' cleansers, while the popular beverage was called gorzałka (from the Old Polish gorzeć meaning to burn), which is also the source of Ukrainian horilka (горілка). The word vodka written in the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 appeared first in 1533, in relation to a medicinal drink brought from Poland to Russia by the merchants of Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

.
In these early days, the spirits were used mostly as medicines. Stefan Falimierz asserted in his 1534 works on herbs that vodka could serve "to increase fertility and awaken lust". Around 1400 it became also a popular drink in Poland. Wódka lub gorzała (1614), by Jerzy Potański, contains valuable information on the production of vodka. Jakub Kazimierz Haur, in his book Skład albo skarbiec znakomitych sekretów ekonomii ziemiańskiej (A Treasury of Excellent Secrets about Landed Gentry's Economy, Kraków, 1693), gave detailed recipes for making vodka from rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

.

Some Polish vodka blend
Blend
In linguistics, a blend is a word formed from parts of two or more other words. These parts are sometimes, but not always, morphemes.-Linguistics:...

s go back centuries. Most notable are Żubrówka
Zubrówka
Żubrówka , also known in English as Buffalo Grass Vodka or Bison Grass Vodka, is a brand of dry, herb-flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume...

, from about the 16th century; Goldwasser
Goldwasser
Danziger Goldwasser ), with Goldwasser as the registered tradename, is a strong root and herbal liqueur which has been produced since at least 1598 in Danzig ....

, from the early 17th; and aged Starka
Starka
Starka is a traditional dry vodka distilled from rye grain, produced mostly in Poland and Lithuania. Traditional Starka is made from natural rye spirit and aged in oak barrels with small addition of lime-tree and apple-tree leaves. The process of production is similar to that used in whisky...

 vodka, from the 16th. In the mid-17th century, the szlachta
Szlachta
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...

 (nobility) were granted a monopoly on producing and selling vodka in their territories. This privilege was a source of substantial profits. One of the most famous distilleries of the aristocracy was established by Princess Lubomirska and later operated by her grandson, Count Alfred Wojciech Potocki
Alfred Wojciech Potocki
Count Alfred Wojciech Potocki Piława was a Polish nobleman , landowner, political and economic activist.Alfred was the 1st Ordynat of Łańcut estates. From 1809 until 1815 he served in the Polish Army. In 1812 he became aide-de-camp of Prince Józef Antoni Poniatowski and participated in Napoleon's...

. The Vodka Industry Museum, now housed at the headquarters of Count Potocki's distillery, has an original document attesting that the distillery already existed in 1784. Today it operates as "Polmos Łańcut".

Large-scale vodka production began in Poland at the end of the 16th century, initially at Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, whence spirits were exported to Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 before 1550. Silesian cities also bought vodka from Poznań
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

, a city that in 1580 had 498 working spirits distilleries. Soon, however, Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 outpaced both these cities. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Polish vodka was known in the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 basin.

Early production methods were primitive. The beverage was usually low-proof, and the distillation process had to be repeated several times (a three-stage distillation process was common). The first distillate was called "brantówka", the second—"szumówka", the third—"okowita" (from "aqua vitae"), which generally contained 70–80% alcohol by volume. Then the beverage was watered down, yielding a simple vodka (30–35%), or a stronger one if the watering was done using an alembic
Alembic
An alembic is an alchemical still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube...

. The exact production methods were described in 1768 by Jan Paweł Biretowski and in 1774 by Jan Chryzostom Simon. The beginning of the 19th century inaugurated the production of potato vodka, which immediately revolutionized the market.

The end of the 18th century marked the start of the vodka industry in Poland (eastern part of Poland was part of Russian empire at that time). Vodkas produced by the nobility and clergy became a mass product. The first industrial distillery was opened in 1782 in Lwów by J. A. Baczewski
J. A. Baczewski
J. A. Baczewski was a Polish company most well-known for its fine spirits such as vodka and gin. The factory, dating back to late 18th century, was based in Lwów and until 1939 was one of two most popular Polish export goods.- History :...

. He was soon followed by Jakub Haberfeld, who in 1804 established a factory at Oświęcim
Oswiecim
Oświęcim is a town in the Lesser Poland province of southern Poland, situated west of Kraków, near the confluence of the rivers Vistula and Soła.- History :...

, and by Hartwig Kantorowicz, who started producing Wyborowa
Wyborowa
Wyborowa or Wódka Wyborowa is a brand of Polish vodka. Its production started in 1823 in a distillery owned by Jewish businessman Hartwig Kantorowicz in Poznań, then in Prussia...

 in 1823 at Poznań
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

. The implementation of new technologies in the second half of the 19th century, which allowed the production of clear vodkas, contributed to their success. The first rectification distillery was established in 1871. In 1925 the production of clear vodkas was made a Polish government monopoly.

After World War II, all vodka distilleries were taken over by Poland's communist government. During the 1980s, the sale of vodka was rationed. After the victory of the Solidarity movement, all distilleries were privatized, leading to an explosion of brands.

Russia


A type of distilled
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

 liquor close to the one that would later become generally designated by the Russian word vodka came to Russia in the late 14th century. In 1386 the Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 ambassadors brought the first aqua vitae ("the water of life") to Moscow and presented it to Grand Duke
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 Dmitry Donskoy. The liquid that was obtained by distillation of grape must
Must
Must is freshly pressed fruit juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit. The solid portion of the must is called pomace; it typically makes up 7%–23% of the total weight of the must. Making must is the first step in winemaking...

 was thought to be a concentrate and a "spirit" of wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 (spiritus vini in Latin), from where came the name of this substance in many European languages (like English spirit
Distilled beverage
A distilled beverage, liquor, or spirit is an alcoholic beverage containing ethanol that is produced by distilling ethanol produced by means of fermenting grain, fruit, or vegetables...

, or Russian spirt).

According to a legend, around 1430 a monk called Isidore
Isidore (inventor)
Isidore was a 15th century Russian Orthodox monk from Chudov Monastery in Moscow, credited with producing the first genuine recipe of Russian vodka circa 1430, a fact later recognised by international arbitration in 1982....

 from Chudov Monastery
Chudov Monastery
The Chudov Monastery was founded in the Moscow Kremlin in 1358 by Metropolitan Alexius of Moscow. The monastery was dedicated to the miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae...

 inside the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

 made a recipe of the first Russian vodka. Having a special knowledge and distillation devices he became an author of the new type of alcoholic beverage of a new, higher quality. This "bread wine" as it was initially known, was produced for a long time exclusively in the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 and in no other principality of Rus' (this situation persisted until the era of industrial production). Thus this beverage was closely associated with Moscow.

Until the mid-18th century, the drink remained relatively low on alcohol content, not exceeding 40% by volume. Multiple terms for the drink are recorded, sometimes reflecting different levels of quality, alcohol concentration, filtering, and the number of distillations; most commonly, it was referred to as "burning wine", "bread wine", or simply "wine". ("Wine" in the modern meaning of the word - grape wine - had to be imported and was only affordable for aristocrats and wealthy merchants.) Burning wine was usually diluted with water to 24% ABV or less before drinking. It was mostly sold in taverns and was quite expensive. At the same time, the word vodka was already in use, but it described herbal tincture
Tincture
A tincture is an alcoholic extract or solution of a non-volatile substance . To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have an ethanol percentage of at least 40-60%...

s (similar to absinthe
Absinthe
Absinthe is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage. It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from herbs, including the flowers and leaves of the herb Artemisia absinthium, commonly referred to as "grande wormwood", together with green anise and sweet fennel...

), containing up to 75% by volume alcohol, and made for medicinal purposes.

The first written usage of the word vodka in an official Russian document in its modern meaning is dated by the decree of Empress Elizabeth of June 8, 1751, which regulated the ownership of vodka distilleries. The taxes on vodka became a key element of government finances in Tsarist Russia, providing at times up to 40% of state revenue. By the 1860s, due to the government policy of promoting consumption of state-manufactured vodka, it became the drink of choice for many Russians. In 1863, the government monopoly on vodka production was repealed, causing prices to plummet and making vodka available even to low-income citizens. By 1911, vodka comprised 89% of all alcohol consumed in Russia. This level has fluctuated somewhat during the 20th century, but remained quite high at all times. The most recent estimates put it at 70% (2001). Today, some popular Russian vodka producers or brands are (amongst others) Stolichnaya
Stolichnaya
-Description:Fermentation of Stolichnaya starts with wheat and rye grains and artesial water from the Russian city of Samara and the Kaliningrad region. The fermentation takes about 60 hours. Once fermentation is complete the resulting liquid is distilled four times to a strength of 96.4% ABV....

 and Russian Standard.

Today



Vodka is now one of the world's most popular spirits. It was rarely consumed outside Europe before the 1950s. By 1975, vodka sales in the United States overtook those of bourbon
Bourbon whiskey
Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name of the spirit derives from its historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon, around what is now Bourbon County, Kentucky . It has been produced since the 18th century...

, previously the most popular hard liquor of the country. In the second half of the 20th century, vodka owed its popularity in part to its reputation as an alcoholic beverage that "leaves you breathless", as one ad put it — claiming no smell of liquor remains detectable on the breath, and its neutral flavor allows it to be mixed into a wide variety of drinks, often replacing other liquors (particularly gin
Gin
Gin is a spirit which derives its predominant flavour from juniper berries . Although several different styles of gin have existed since its origins, it is broadly differentiated into two basic legal categories...

) in traditional drinks, such as the Martini
Martini (cocktail)
The martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages. H. L. Mencken called the martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" and E. B...

.

According to The Penguin Book of Spirits and Liqueurs, "Its low level of fusel oils and congeners — impurities that flavour spirits but that can contribute to the after-effects of heavy consumption — led to its being considered among the 'safer' spirits, though not in terms of its powers of intoxication, which, depending on strength, may be considerable."

Russian culinary author William Pokhlebkin
William Pokhlebkin
William Vasilyevich Pokhlyobkin was primarily known in Russia as an author of numerous culinary books...

 compiled a history of the production of vodka in Russia during the late 1970s as part of the Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 case in a trade dispute; this was later published as A History of Vodka
A History of Vodka
A History of Vodka is an academic monograph by William Pokhlyobkin, which was awarded the Langhe Ceretto Prize. Although the work had been was finished in 1979, it was published just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union...

. Pokhlebkin claimed that while there was a wealth of publications about the history of consumption and distribution of vodka, virtually nothing had been written about vodka production. Among his assertions were that the word "vodka" was used in popular speech in Russia considerably earlier than the middle of the 18th century, but the word did not appear in print until the 1860s.

Production



Vodka may be distilled from any starch
Starch
Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined together by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by all green plants as an energy store...

/sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grains
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

 such as sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

, corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

 or wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

. Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior. Some vodkas are made from potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

es, molasses
Molasses
Molasses is a viscous by-product of the processing of sugar cane, grapes or sugar beets into sugar. The word molasses comes from the Portuguese word melaço, which ultimately comes from mel, the Latin word for "honey". The quality of molasses depends on the maturity of the sugar cane or sugar beet,...

, soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

s, grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

s, rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, sugar beet
Sugar beet
Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose tuber contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B...

s 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 yeast. In the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 there are talks about the standardization of vodka, and the Vodka Belt countries insist that only spirits produced from grains, potato and sugar beet molasses be allowed to be branded as "vodka", following the traditional methods of production.

Distilling and filtering



A common property of vodkas produced in the United States and Europe is the extensive use of filtration prior to any additional processing including the addition of flavourants
Flavor
Flavor or flavour is the sensory impression of a food or other substance, and is determined mainly by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The "trigeminal senses", which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat as well as temperature and texture, are also very important to the overall...

. Filtering is sometimes done in the still
Still
A still is a permanent apparatus used to distill miscible or immiscible liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor...

 during distillation
Distillation
Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in volatilities of components in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a unit operation, or a physical separation process, and not a chemical reaction....

, as well as afterwards, where the distilled vodka is filtered through activated charcoal and other media to absorb trace amounts of substances that alter or impart off-flavors to the vodka. However, this is not the case in the traditional vodka producing nations, so many distillers from these countries prefer to use very accurate distillation but minimal filtering, thus preserving the unique flavours and characteristics of their products.

The master distiller is in charge of distilling the vodka and directing its filtration, which includes the removal of "fore-shots" and "heads" and the "tails." These components of the distillate contain flavour compounds such as ethyl acetate
Ethyl acetate
Ethyl acetate is the organic compound with the formula CH3COOCH2CH3. This colorless liquid has a characteristic sweet smell and is used in glues, nail polish removers, and cigarettes...

 and ethyl lactate
Ethyl lactate
Ethyl lactate, also known as lactic acid ethyl ester, is a monobasic ester formed from lactic acid and ethanol, commonly used as a solvent. This compound is considered biodegradable and can be used as a water-rinsible degreaser. Ethyl lactate is found naturally in small quantities in a wide variety...

 (heads) as well as the fusel oils (tails) that impact the usually desired clean taste of vodka. Through numerous rounds of distillation, or the use of a fractioning still, the taste is improved and clarity is enhanced. In contrast, distillery process for liquors such as whiskey, rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

, and baijiu
Baijiu
Baijiu , or shaojiu is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage. The name baijiu literally means "white liquor," "white alcohol" or "white spirits". Baijiu is often translated as "wine" or "white wine"...

 allow the "heads" and "tails" to remain, giving them their unique flavours.

Repeated distillation of vodka will make its ethanol level much higher than is acceptable to most end users, whether legislation determines strength limits or not. Depending on the distillation method and the technique of the stillmaster, the final filtered and distilled vodka may have as much as 95-96% ethanol. As such, most vodka is diluted with water prior to bottling. This level of distillation is what truly separates a rye-based vodka (for example) from a rye whisky
Rye whisky
Rye whiskey can refer to either of two types of whiskey: 1) American rye whiskey, which must be distilled from at least 51 percent rye; 2) Canadian whisky, which is often referred to rye whisky for historical reasons, although it may or may not actually include any rye in its production...

; while the whisky is generally only distilled down to its final alcohol content, vodka is distilled until it is almost totally pure alcohol and then cut with water to give it its final alcohol content and unique flavour, depending on the source of the water.

Flavoring


Apart from the alcoholic content, vodkas may be classified into two main groups:
clear vodkas and flavored vodkas. From the latter ones, one can separate bitter tinctures, such as Russian Yubileynaya (anniversary vodka) and Pertsovka (pepper vodka).

While most vodkas are unflavored, many flavored vodkas have been produced in traditional vodka-drinking areas, often as home-made recipes to improve vodka's taste or for medicinal purposes. Flavorings include red pepper, ginger, fruit flavors, vanilla, chocolate (without sweetener), and cinnamon. In Russia and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, vodka flavored with honey and pepper (Pertsovka, in Russian, Z pertsem, in Ukrainian) is also very popular. Ukrainians
Ukrainians
Ukrainians are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Ukraine, which is the sixth-largest nation in Europe. The Constitution of Ukraine applies the term 'Ukrainians' to all its citizens...

 produce a commercial vodka that includes St John's Wort
St John's wort
St John's wort is the plant species Hypericum perforatum, and is also known as Tipton's Weed, Chase-devil, or Klamath weed....

. Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and Belarusians
Belarusians
Belarusians ; are an East Slavic ethnic group who populate the majority of the Republic of Belarus. Introduced to the world as a new state in the early 1990s, the Republic of Belarus brought with it the notion of a re-emerging Belarusian ethnicity, drawn upon the lines of the Old Belarusian...

 add the leaves of the local bison grass to produce Żubrówka
Zubrówka
Żubrówka , also known in English as Buffalo Grass Vodka or Bison Grass Vodka, is a brand of dry, herb-flavored vodka that is distilled from rye and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume...

 (Polish) and Zubrovka (Belarusian) vodka, with slightly sweet flavor and light amber color. In Poland, a famous vodka containing honey is called Krupnik
Krupnik
Krupnik, or Krupnikas as it is known in Lithuanian, is a traditional sweet alcohol similar to a liqueur, based on grain spirit and honey, popular in Poland and Lithuania. Mass produced versions consist of 40%-50% alcohol, but traditional versions will use 80% - 100% grain alcohol as the base...

. In the United States bacon vodka
Bacon vodka
Bacon vodka is vodka infused with bacon flavor, part of a larger trend of "carnivorous cocktails" and the addition of savory flavor to mixed drinks...

 has been introduced to critical acclaim.

This tradition of flavoring is also prevalent in the Nordic countries
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

, where vodka seasoned with herbs, fruits and spices is the appropriate strong drink for midsummer
Midsummer
Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different...

 seasonal festivities. In Sweden, there are forty-odd common varieties of herb-flavored vodka (kryddat brännvin). In Poland and Ukraine there is a separate category (nalyvka in Ukraine and nalewka
Nalewka
Nalewka is a traditional Polish category of alcoholic beverage. Similar to medicinal tinctures, it is usually 40 to 45% strong , and is made by maceration of various ingredients in alcohol, usually vodka or spirit. Among the ingredients often used are fruits, herbs, spice, sugar or molasses...

 in Poland), for vodka-based spirits with fruit, root, flower, or herb extracts, which are often home-made or produced by small commercial distilleries. Its alcohol content is between 15 to 75%. In Estonia, vodkas are spiced with barbaris, blackcurrant, cherry, greenapple, lemon, vanilla and watermelon flavors.

Polish distilleries make a very pure (95%, 190 proof) rectified spirit
Rectified spirit
A rectified spirit, rectified alcohol, or neutral spirit is highly concentrated ethanol which has been purified by means of repeated distillation, a process that is called rectification. It typically contains 95% alcohol by volume...

 (Polish language: spirytus rektyfikowany). Technically a form of vodka, it is sold in liquor stores rather than pharmacies. Similarly, the German market often carries German, Hungarian, Polish, and Ukrainian-made varieties of vodka of 90 to 95% alcohol content. A Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

n vodka, Balkan 176°, has a 88% alcohol content.

European Union regulation


The recent success of grape
Grape
A grape is a non-climacteric fruit, specifically a berry, that grows on the perennial and deciduous woody vines of the genus Vitis. Grapes can be eaten raw or they can be used for making jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, wine, grape seed extracts, raisins, molasses and grape seed oil. Grapes are also...

-based vodka in the United States has prompted traditional vodka producers in the Vodka Belt countries of Poland, Finland, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, and Sweden to campaign for EU legislation that will categorize only spirits made from grain or potatoes as "vodka." This proposition has provoked heavy criticism from south European countries, which often distill used mash
Mashing
In brewing and distilling, mashing is the process of combining a mix of milled grain , known as the "grain bill", and water, known as "liquor", and heating this mixture...

 from wine-making into spirits; although higher quality mash is usually distilled into some variety of pomace brandy
Pomace brandy
Pomace brandy is a liquor distilled from pomace. Examples include the Croatian / Montenegrin / Serbian lozovača , Cypriot zivania, French marc, Georgian chacha, German Tresterbrand, Greek tsipouro, Hungarian törköly, Italian grappa, Bulgarian grozdova, Portuguese aguardente, Romanian rachiu de...

, lower-quality mash is better turned into neutral-flavored spirits instead. Any vodka then not made from either grain or potatoes would have to display the products used in its production. This regulation was adopted by the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 on June 19, 2007.

Health


Excess consumption of vodka or any other alcoholic beverage can be lethal by inducing respiratory failure or unguarded inhalation of vomit by a comatose drunk person. In addition, the effects of alcohol are responsible for many traumatic injuries such as falls and vehicle accidents. Consumption of alcohol above 0.1 Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content
Blood alcohol content , also called blood alcohol concentration, blood ethanol concentration, or blood alcohol level is most commonly used as a metric of alcohol intoxication for legal or medical purposes....

 can cause dehydration, digestive irritation, and other symptoms associated with alcohol intoxication and hangover
Hangover
A hangover describes the sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages. The most commonly reported characteristics of a hangover include headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, lethargy, dysphoria, diarrhea and thirst, typically after the...

, and the chronic effects can include liver failure due to cirrhosis, and it is associated with many GI
Gastrointestinal tract
The human gastrointestinal tract refers to the stomach and intestine, and sometimes to all the structures from the mouth to the anus. ....

 cancers (particularly oral cavity). In addition to ethanol, methanol
Methanol
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha or wood spirits, is a chemical with the formula CH3OH . It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive odor very similar to, but slightly sweeter than, ethanol...

, fusel oils (not present in pure vodka), and esters can contribute to hangovers.

In some countries black-market vodka or "bathtub
Bathtub gin
Bathtub gin refers to any style of homemade spirit made in amateur conditions. The term first appeared in 1920, in the prohibition-era United States, in reference to the poor-quality alcohol that was being made....

" vodka is widespread because it can be produced easily and avoid taxation. However, severe poisoning, blindness
Blindness
Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.Various scales have been developed to describe the extent of vision loss and define blindness...

, or death can occur as a result of dangerous industrial ethanol substitutes being added by black-market producers. In March 2007, BBC News
BBC News
BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

 UK made a documentary to find the cause of severe jaundice
Jaundice
Jaundice is a yellowish pigmentation of the skin, the conjunctival membranes over the sclerae , and other mucous membranes caused by hyperbilirubinemia . This hyperbilirubinemia subsequently causes increased levels of bilirubin in the extracellular fluid...

 among imbibers of a "bathtub" vodka in Russia. The cause was suspected to be an industrial disinfectant (Extrasept) - 95% ethanol but also containing a highly toxic chemical - added to the vodka by the illegal traders because of its high alcohol content and low price. Death toll estimates list at least 120 dead and more than 1,000 poisoned. The death toll is expected to rise due to the chronic nature of the cirrhosis
Cirrhosis
Cirrhosis is a consequence of chronic liver disease characterized by replacement of liver tissue by fibrosis, scar tissue and regenerative nodules , leading to loss of liver function...

 that is causing the jaundice.

See also


  • List of vodkas
  • Flavored liquor
    Flavored liquor
    Flavored liquors are alcoholic beverages that have added flavoring and, in some cases, a small amount of added sugar...

  • Horilka
    Horilka
    Horilka is a Ukrainian alcoholic beverage. The word horilka may also be used in a generic sense in the Ukrainian language to mean whisky, or other strong spirits and etymologically is similar to the Ukrainian word for burning - hority. Home-distilled horilka, moonshine, is called samogon ....

  • List of cocktails with vodka
  • Russian Vodka Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Vodka infusion
    Vodka infusion
    A vodka infusion is a flavored liquor that is created when vodka is flavored with one or more flavorants. Vodka infusions may be homemade or they may be bought in liquor stores....

     (flavored liquor
    Flavored liquor
    Flavored liquors are alcoholic beverages that have added flavoring and, in some cases, a small amount of added sugar...

    )
  • Vodka war
    Vodka war
    Vodka war refers to heated discussions within the European Union about the definition of which hard liquors may or may not be branded as "vodka"...

     at European Parliament
    European Parliament
    The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

  • A History of Vodka
    A History of Vodka
    A History of Vodka is an academic monograph by William Pokhlyobkin, which was awarded the Langhe Ceretto Prize. Although the work had been was finished in 1979, it was published just before the dissolution of the Soviet Union...

     (1991) by Pokhlebkin