How is vodka made? Here’s a peek at its origins in the US and history.

According to Statista, vodka generated the largest volume of sales within the United States spirit industry, with 77 million 9-liter cases sold in 2020.

The origin of this popular hard liquor is under debate with Russians and Poles disagreeing over where the liquor got its name, which can be translated to “little water” in Slavic, according to Vodka producer Grey Goose. What is clear is the popular hard liquor originated in Eastern Europe hundreds of years ago made from fermented grains and potatoes. Not surprisingly, Russia and Poland routinely lead the world in the consumption of vodka.

What is vodka made from?

According to LiveScience.Com, vodka can be made by fermenting anything containing starch or sugar. It is often made using fermented grains, potatoes, corn, rice, rye, sorghum, sugar beet molasses or wheat.

Primarily vodka is made up of water and ethanol and has a minimum alcohol content of 40 percent in the U.S., According to Grey Goose. In comparison beer in the U.S. Typically has an alcohol content of 3.5 to 3.8 percent.

Unlike other alcohols including wine and beer, vodka is distilled, usually multiple times, meaning it is boiled in order to remove any impurities which may be found in the liquor. If is not distilled, it may lead to those who consume the liquor to becoming sick, according to vodka producer Mond Vodka.

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When and where did vodka come from?

The origins of vodka have been debated, and it is unknown where exactly the popular liquor came from.

Some evidence points to the creation of the drink in Poland or Russia in the 8th or 9th century, according to Britannica. Other records, however, point to the Middle Ages, when vodka was used in Poland as a medicine, according to Statista. Today the drink is produced all around the world.

Although it is popular today, vodka was not always a common drink in the U.S. Until shortly after World War II, when consumption of the liquor increased rapidly, according to Britannica. While in Russia and Poland the drink is usually consumed chilled and unmixed in small glasses, in other parts of the world it is a popular mixer used in other drinks.

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