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Vodka: The Production

The Polish claim it was their discovery, while the Russians say that vodka is theirs. Despite these assumptions, vodka is the dominant spirit of Eastern Europe. Though the exact origin of vodka cannot be traced, it is believed that it originated from the grain-growing region currently known as West-Russia, Belarus, Litouwen, Polen and Ukraine.

The first identifiable vodka appeared in the 11th Century in Poland. As with other spirits, vodka also found its beginning in medicinal uses. It was often used as a medicine called “Gorzalka”. In the past, it has been made from potatoes and other vegetables. In the present day, varieties are made almost entirely from grains, mainly rye.

As distilling techniques improved, "Vodka" gradually came to be the accepted term for the beverage spirit, regardless of its origin. Most sources will say that vodka and everything it comes in contact with, are best when served ice-cold. While the spirit is often served as is and sipped slowly or thrown back in one shot, there is a variety of combinations that make for delicious vodka cocktails.

Vodka production
Vodka can be made from many different kinds of agricultural materials. Usually produced from grain or molasses, it can also be produced from potatoes and rice. The starch in the raw material is converted into sugars during the fermentation process.

After the fermentation process, a choice needs to be made between a pot still and a continuous still. The pot still is a copper tank in which the batch is heated and the condensed fume rises and sets on the walls of the tank. After cooling it is transformed back to liquid. The pot still only allows one single condensation at any given time. In the continuous still, the batch is allowed to be heated, cooled and reheated in stages. The final product from the continuous still is a purer and stronger concentrate each time. This process is also considered cheaper since the still is not required to be opened each time to replace the batch or empty the still between distillations.

At the end of the distillation process, the vodka, which is 95% alcohol, is watered down to 40% alcohol and bottled. Vodka is always bottled in glass so it doesn’t cause a chemical reaction in the beverage.