Vodka is one of the most consumed Spirits all around the world. Its origins are in the oriental Europe, composed by the countries of Russia, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Finland. One of the facts that has made Vodka to be so integrated in those countries is that due to its pureness and high alcohol graduation (it must be between 37º and 42º) it does not get frozen in the long and tough winters from the area. The peasants produced it at home, for their own consumption, since it did not freeze, to warm up while working in the field.
Vodka was first produced with the cheapest farm products such as wheat, potatoes or corn. Although some time later rye began to be used which lead to a superior quality product.
The beginnings are a bit unprecisely, it is said that it was between the XIIth and XVth century, just as that the name comes from the russian Word for “water”, “Voda”. At first it was for medical use, because of its composition and high alcoholic contain it result useful as disinfectant or anesthetic. During Ivan IV “The Terrible” the state owned all the production, taking it all to Moscow (so it was known as “Moskovskaya”). Lately, Tsarina Katerina II saw the economic benefit that it potentially had and upgraded the manufacturing quality. After WW II the knowledge and consumption of Vodka became world-wide and countries as the USA or France took it, and nowadays they are some of the most important producers.
Internationally Vodka is used above all for cocktails, because of its high graduation and pureness (it’s practically tasteless) make it ideal to be mixed with fruit juices, refreshments or some other full-flavoured liquors, such as Gin or Vermouth. On its original countries, however, it is drunken neat and accompanying food (meat, salted fish or veggies, caviar, etc.).
But if you want to be a 100% truly Vodka drinker, you must take it in a frozen glass, and toast by the shout of “¡Na zdarovie!”.