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Where Does Vodka Come From?
Like the history of most spirits, it’s hard to track down the origin of vodka to one specific location. While the clear spirit may be stereotypically associated with Russia, vodka actually has origins in both Poland and Sweden. In each of these three countries, there are mentions of vodka dating back to the late-14th and early-15th centuries.
These days, Vodka is made all around the world. So what are you waiting for? Start exploring our collection of 125+ vodka-making distilleries.
How is Vodka Made?
If it’s rich in starch or sugar, it can be made into vodka. Wheat, corn, and potato are commonly used as the base for vodkas around the world. But some craft distilleries use what’s around them, like New Alchemy Distilling. Located in California Wine Country, they source local wine grapes when it comes time to make their Aether Vodka.
The vodka making process starts by mashing and combining the base ingredients, then fermenting them with yeast, a process that typically takes between a week or two. That’s when the fun starts, because once the mash has been fermented it’s time to run it through the still.
The vodka distillates are broken down into four groups: foreshots, heads, hearts, tails. The foreshot and heads are approximately the first third of the distillation run. And because they typically contain methanol and acetone, they can be toxic and are generally dumped down the drain.
The hearts of the run are typically what constitutes the final product that winds up in the bottle on your bar cart. The last third of the run, known as the tails, isn’t as pure as the hearts but not nearly as volatile as the foreshot and heads. Most distillers won’t get rid of the tails, they’ll save them for another distillation run.
Renowned for its neutral qualities, vodka is typically put through multiple distillation runs. Each additional run makes for a cleaner drinking experience. The neutral spirit is refined further during the filtration process. Filtering through charcoal or carbon removes any lingering impurities, ensuring you have a spirit with maximum smoothness.
Then, it’s time to bring that vodka down to proof by diluting it with water. And finally that spirit is bottled. Ready to be enjoyed, however you take it.
How to Drink Vodka:
There are three common ways to drink vodka:
Neat – Whether it’s shots before a night out, or sipping it slow as your nightcap, enjoying vodka neat is the perfect way to enjoy the spirit the way the distillers intended.
On the Rocks – Sometimes enjoying vodka straight can be a little too overwhelming. Adding an ice cube will help dilute the harshness and make for an easier drinking experience.
Vodka Cocktails – As a neutral liquor, vodka is an ideal base for a whole gamut of vodka cocktails. From Vodka Martinis to Cosmopolitans and Moscow Mules, there’s no shortage of vodka drink recipes to enjoy at every occasion. Find our collection of 150+ vodka drinks here.
Popular Brands of Vodka:
Brands like Belvedere Vodka and Tito’s Vodka are always a hit. From those bigger brands to the smallest distillery in North America, Nightside Distillery, you can find a vodka everyone will enjoy in the Spirit Hub collection.
If it’s your first time venturing into the crystal clear spirit, flavored vodka is a great place to start. Wild Roots Spirits from Portland, Oregon makes their flavored vodkas by infusing them with all natural, locally sourced fruits and botanicals.
That’s just the tip of the vodka iceberg. There’s plenty more vodka-making distilleries to be explored.