Vodka is a clear distilled alcoholic drink originating in Russia and Poland. Its main ingredients are simple, water and ethanol. Originally, it was produced by distilling alcohol from potatoes and cereal grains that had been fermented. Now fruit and sugar are also used as a base.
The first records of the spirit come from 9th century Russia and 8th century Poland. It’s been homemade in Eastern Europe for centuries until the proper regulating laws came into place. The most significant increase in its popularity was during the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s.
Since the 1890s, the vodka has been 40% ABV. Lately, the EU has established a law that requires the spirit to have at least 37.5% of alcohol to be labelled vodka, and the USA making it a minimum of 40% ABV.
Drunk straight traditionally, vodka is often used in cocktails, mixed drinks, and “on the rocks.” The most notable cocktails that you can get at a pretty much any restaurant or bar are a Vodka Tonic, Vodka Martini, Moscow Mule and Bloody Mary. Vodka is also used for cooking, but only by real vodka enthusiasts. For instance, vodka sauce is a pasta sauce that’s a combination of tomato sauce, cream and vodka.
The production of vodka is a simple process. First, you ferment anything that has sugar or starch. Sugar is fed to yeast, which later produces alcohol. Then, you distill the product to get the ABV to the generally accepted norm of 40%, similar to an extent to most other spirits, whisky, tequila, cognac, brandy, gin, rumand so on.
The fermented grains include corn, rice, wheat and rye. On top of that, some producers use fruits, potatoes, and sugar. The fermentation step creates a product that’s much lower in alcohol than vodka, around 16% ABV. That’s clearly too low for spirits. That’s when the distillation part of vodka production comes into play. The boiling temperature for alcohol is lower than water, so you can collect the evaporated alcohol. Of course, it’s a little more complex than simply boiling it, but you get the idea.
In fact, you can distill the spirit quite a bit to create a “rectified spirit,” which can reach up to 96% ABV, similar to Everclear 190 Proof).
If you want to buy a bottle of regular vodka for a party or a premium one for a special event, buy vodka at the ZYN liquor store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada or shop online at ZYN.ca!