Vodka

Words by Simon Difford

Vodka image 1

Vodka is a clear spirit which can be produced from anything containing starch or sugar - including potatoes, sugar beet molasses and, most commonly, grain. Over the past forty years vodka has grown from relative obscurity in the west to become the biggest selling spirits category.

Vodka originated in the grain-growing regions of western Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland. Its exact origins are frequently the source of bitter dispute between the Russians and Poles, who both argue that vodka originated in their country. Both claim it as their national drink.

The 'Vodka Belt' countries of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe are historically connected to vodka production and still have the highest rates of consumption in the world.

Serving vodka & vodka cocktails

Serving vodka
Vodka cocktails - over 470 cocktail recipes using vodka
Citrus vodka cocktails - over 60 cocktail recipes using citrus flavoured vodka
Orange vodka cocktails - over 15 cocktail recipes using orange flavoured vodka
Bison grass vodka cocktails - over 45 cocktail recipes using bison grass flavoured vodka
Pear vodka cocktails - over 6 cocktail recipes using pear flavoured vodka

More on vodka

How is vodka made
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The seven great vodka myths / truths
How to infused vodka with vanilla pods

Vodka by region on Difford's Guide

American vodka
Polish Vodka (wódka)
Russian vodka (воДка)
Western vodka (Wodka)
Irish Poitin / Poteen

Find vodkas by base raw material / type

Apple vodkas
Barley vodkas
Corn (maize, mielie) vodkas
Flavoured vodkas
German korns
Grape vodkas
Honey vodkas (not honey flavoured)
Molasses vodkas
Multi grain/base vodkas
Oak aged vodkas
Potato vodkas
Rye vodkas
Spelt vodkas
Wheat vodkas
Whey vodkas

Definition of Vodka

According to Section 15 of Regulation European Commission No. 110/2008 of the European Parliament of 15 January 2008, "Vodka is a spirit drink produced from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin obtained following fermentation with yeast from either: (i) potatoes and/or cereals, or (ii) other agricultural raw materials, distilled and/or rectified so that the organoleptic characteristics of the raw materials used and by-products formed in fermentation are selectively reduced. This process may be followed by re-distillation and/or treatment with appropriate processing aids, including treatment with activated charcoal, to give it special organoleptic characteristics."

Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 also requires that "The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of vodka shall be 37.5% abv" and that "The only flavourings which may be added are natural flavouring compounds present in distillate obtained from the fermented raw materials. In addition, the product may be given special organoleptic characteristics, other than a predominant flavour."

Prior to this regulation passing into E.U. law in 2008 the Vodka Belt countries of Poland, Finland, Lithuania and Sweden campaigned for the new legislation to categorise only spirits made from grain or potatoes as 'vodka'. This pressure led to the inclusion of the following clause "The description, presentation or labelling of vodka not produced exclusively from the raw material(s) listed in paragraph (a)[cereal grains or potatoes] shall bear the indication 'produced from...', supplemented by the name of the raw material(s) used to produce the ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin." Basically this means that vodka made from cereals and potatoes can continue to be labelled just 'vodka', while vodka made from other materials (e.g. grapes) now has to carry the indication 'produced from'.

The United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms defines vodka as, "neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or colour". In the U.S. the minimum bottling strength is 40% abv and additives are permitted, including sugar at less than 2 g/l and citric acid at less than 1,000ppm (1 gram per litre.)

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Ketel One Vodka image featured

Ketel One Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Ketel One Oranje Vodka image featured

Ketel One Oranje Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Ciroc Vodka image featured

Ciroc Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Chase English Potato Vodka image

Chase English Potato Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka image

Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka image

Belvedere Bloody Mary Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Karlsson’s Gold Vodka image

Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Vestal Kaszebe 2010 Vodka image

Vestal Kaszebe 2010 Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Finlandia Platinum Vodka image

Finlandia Platinum Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Wyborowa Blue Vodka image

Wyborowa Blue Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Belvedere Vodka image

Belvedere Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Stolichnaya Elit image

Stolichnaya Elit

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Chase English Oak Smoked Vodka image

Chase English Oak Smoked Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Absolut Elyx image

Absolut Elyx

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Kanon Vodka image

Kanon Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Debowa (Oak) Vodka image

Debowa (Oak) Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Harlen D. Wheatley CLIX Vodka image

Harlen D. Wheatley CLIX Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Grasovka Vodka image

Grasovka Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

elit by Stolichnaya Andean edition image

elit by Stolichnaya Andean edition

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Holy Grass Vodka image

Holy Grass Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 41.5

Ramsbury Single Estate Vodka image

Ramsbury Single Estate Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 43

Grey Goose Vodka image

Grey Goose Vodka

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

(Belvedere) Red Special Edition Bottle image

(Belvedere) Red Special Edition Bottle

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

Grey Goose La Poire image

Grey Goose La Poire

Category: Spirits
Sub category: Vodka (& Korn & Poteen)
alc./vol: 40

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