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What Is Vodka?

Vodka is an alcoholic drink. While many people believe it is a Russian drink, historians believed it may have been developed sometime within the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in the region that lies between Poland and Russia. The word has Russian roots, and means “little water.”

Vodka is made from grains, though it was originally made from potatoes. The most common ingredients today are wheat and rye, though some varieties are manufactured from soy, corn, soy, beets and even grapes. Some vodka “recipes” actually make use of the leftover materials from oil refining.

American vodkas are known for being filtered, and thus is odorless, colorless and even flavorless. Essentially, it has nothing except a very strong kick, which is why it is ideal for making mixed drinks (though many are happy to drink it straight, “on the rocks.” Some European vodkas, though, are not as filtered, and so it is possible to taste some of the qualities of the original ingredients.

Some vodka brands sell flavored vodka, such as fruit vodkas (such as orange vodka or blackcurrant vodka) or spice vodkas (such as vanilla and cinnamon). Some vodkas are infused with herbs like chamomile or St. John’s wort and are purported to have medicinal value.

The alcoholic content of vodka varies from brand to brand. Most contain 40% alcohol (called 80 proof), a standard that dates back to the time of Alexander III of Russia. Also, 80 proof alcohol falls under a reasonable tax level, making it economically viable for vodka manufacturers. There are also quite a lot of 100 proof and 40 proof alcohol for those who want a stronger or milder “kick.”

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