A Russian beverage made purely from water and alcohol with varying amounts of alcohol, impurities and flavorings depending on brand and quality. The alcohol is made from the fermentation of either grain, rye, potatoes or sugar beet molasses. While the most common alcohol by volume level is 40% in Russia, Lithuania, and Poland, varieties exist between 35% to 50% ABV.
The first recorded use of the word "Wodka" was in 1405 in Poland and was meant to describe different medicines and cosmetics, other documents also shows that the word might be used as a verb meaning "to dilute with water". The word Vodka is closely related to the Russian word voda which means water.
The history of vodka is not clear but it is believed that the beverage originates from a region where grain was grown in todays Poland, western Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine. It was not until the 1950s that vodka became introduced to the United States, but 1975 the vodka sales in this country overtook those of Bourbon, the beverage considered the native spirit of the country.
Vodka is versatile and can be used in many different drinks and cocktails, but it can also replace other spirits in more traditional drinks, and it also has the rare property of not leaving a smell of liquor on the breath when it has been consumed. There are two major groups of vodka, either it is classed as a clear vodka or a flavoured vodka, with the latter group often being flavored with red pepper, ginger, different fruit flavorings, vanilla, chocolate, and cinnamon.
The countries with the highest vodka consumption in the world, also known as the "vodka belt" include Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, and Greenland, these countries produce a total of 70% of the EUs total vodka.