Five Fascinating Facts You Might Not Know About Vodka
Everybody who cares to know about what’s in their vodka based cocktail knows some basic things about vodka: It’s pure, clear, usually colourless, and it was born in Russia. Well, as for that last “fact,” it’s actually widely disputed whether vodka was first created in Russia or in Poland. That we leave for the historians to settle.
Here, you’ll learn five facts about vodka that will amaze you. Then, perhaps, next time you toast to vodka shots with a friend, you might care to share what you’re about to learn now.
Fascinating Fact No. 1: Vodka can be made anywhere. Yes, vodka was born in Eastern Europe, whether it was in Russia or Poland is still in question. Fact is, vodka which originated from the Russian word, “voda” which means “water” can be made by distilling any agricultural raw material.
Most vodka brands in the market, such as the Russian Standard Plain Vodka, are made of grain, that includes barley, rye, wheat and corn. Others, like Chase Vodka, are made from potatoes while Ciroc Vodka uses grapes.
Fascinating Fact No. 2: There are two different types of vodkas. Vodka types can be generally classified into two: plain or flavoured. Here’s a quick rundown of what makes each one special:
- Plain Vodka. When people talk of “authentic Russian vodka” what they really mean is the plain type of vodka. It is clear, pure, flavourless with a very rough, rugged and unsophisticated character. People who drink this type of vodka are after its high alcohol content and strong tipple. It also makes a great base for almost any cocktail since it will not overpower the taste of mixers like fresh fruits or dairy or herbs added to the drink.
- Flavoured Vodka. Since pure vodka is highly versatile, distillers and drinkers alike prefer some flavour infused in their vodkas. This type of vodka is what most drinkers’ palates are more familiar with. This could be the Absolut Citron Vodka most adults learn to drink in college or, the more luxurious aged vodkas like the Debowa Vodka.
Fascinating Fact No. 3: Vodka is at least thrice distilled. Out of all the six spirits, vodka along with whisky, rum, gin, brandy and tequila, vodka is the purest, most rid of impurities. This is because vodka is made by employing a process of continuous distillation that uses column stills. Based on industry standards, vodka is distilled for a minimum of three times. Some vodka brands go for as much as seven times distillation.
The best vodkas in the market often go beyond distillation and follow up with filtration, usually with charcoal but it isn’t unusual to see crystal filtration and other forms of patented filtration done on a vodka. The purest, flavourless brands make the best vodka for Moscow Mule.
Fascinating Fact No. 4: Vodka is less likely to give you a hangover than a whiskey or bourbon or brandy. The major culprit for hangovers are what’s termed as “congeners”. These make their way into the liquor as a result of fermentation. The continuous distillation that vodka is subjected to plus the filtration system it is made to pass through are what make it possible to eliminate congeners from vodka.
Congeners give your liver a hard time digesting the liquor which then manifests as a hangover. While vodka is less likely to give you a hangover, that, in no way, means that you can go bottomless on your vodka all night and expect to be in a perfectly well condition the day after.
Fascinating Fact No, 5: Vodka can be the healthier choice when you’re getting a booze. Other than being rid of congeners, vodka contains only about 90 calories per shot compared to the 100+ calories you can get for the same amount of whisky. When it comes to using vodka as base for cocktails, it pays to pay attention to the mixers as well which are too often loaded with unbelievable amounts of sugar.
Vodka is a fascinating spirit indeed and why not, it’s even lighter than water! There are a thousand and one ways to enjoy what’s good about this spirit but it is always good to be reminded to drink it moderately. When you’re ready to pick up that shot of vodka, toast to good health and enjoy the heat in one gulp -- bottoms up!