What Was Vodka Originally Made From?

Written by Simon in Other
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

Recently in my endeavor of researching different alcohols and how they are made, I stumbled upon the many ways to make vodka.

The question that came to mind was, what did the first vodka made consist of? This blog post will help you understand the history of vodka and how it was originally made.

What Was Vodka Originally Made From? The recorded history dictates that vodka was originally made from potatoes and invented somewhere in eastern Europe or Russia. The original uses weren’t for drinking casually, but rather for medicinal uses and possible as a remedy against very cold weather.

People naturally assume that vodka has its origins in Russia, but that might not be entirely true.

Read the rest of the post to find out who is thought to have invented vodka and how they made it originally.

So, What Was Vodka Originally Made From?

The history of vodka is quite hard to confirm. The mentions of vodka age all the way back the late 1300s but the actual country of origin isn’t 100% confirmed.

The word Vodka is thought to have originated from the Russian word for water which is “Voda”. But on the other hand, there is also evidence of the word being used in Poland around the same timeline.

Who really invented vodka is not confirmed, but there are some definite candidates.

In general, there are 3 candidates who could all have invented vodka. These are Russia, Poland, and Finland.

These 3 countries have evidence of mention of vodka around the same timeline, but there is no exact evidence as to who exactly made it.

Originally, vodka was made from potatoes with a rather low alcohol percentage of 14% versus the 37-40% we know today. Potatoes are still used for vodka making but many other products are used as well.

In the beginning, it was known to be mainly used for medicinal purposes and wasn't until later that it was used for casual consumption.

Vodka can be made from tons of food products granted its tasteless end product.

Basically, you can make vodka from any fermentable product such as fruits, grains, vegetables or really any other biological product that can ferment.

In recent times a huge variety of vodkas has come to life, some being the traditional clear vodka with no real taste, and some with added flavors for a different taste experience when mixing different drinks.

» Check out Amazon's variety of literature concerning vodka here

The Migration of Vodka

Even though historical evidence points to vodka being made around the end of the 1300s, the world didn’t really know about it except for the eastern European countries where the liquor was thought to be made.

It wasn’t until the russian revolution in 1917 that vodka became known throughout Europe.

During the russian revolution many residents escape and migrated across Europe. This kickstarted the “world domination” of vodka, since they, of course, brought it with them.

However, vodka didn’t gain worldwide recognition until the second world war, where vodka really kicked off in the US and other areas of the world.

Vodka Today

In modern times, vodka is known as one of the absolute top liquors, especially for mixing drinks. Due to it not having a real taste to it other than a strong spirit taste, it is perfect for mixing in different beverages.

Today, vodka is made of mostly fermented grains of all types, fruits, sugar or potatoes, and other vegetables. The most popular way seems to be grains since they are generally the cheapest way to manufacture vodka.

In conclusion, evidence points to that vodka were originally made from potatoes. Vodka today has been refined quite a bit and is mostly made of grain.

We will probably never get actual evidence as to who really invented vodka.

9 Fun Facts About Vodka

Vodka has many funny facts granted its long history and uses in a vast amount of drinks.

Here are 9 fun facts about vodka you probably didn’t know.

  1. The #1 selling vodka brand was founded by a Russian peasant. His name was Pyotr Smirnov, which probably gives you a hint of what brand he created. He saw the demand his fellow Russian comrades had for vodka and saw an opportunity to create his own vodka distilling business venture. Smirnov was a very smart businessman. His way of marketing involved visiting the poor population and giving them free samples of his vodka. He would sometimes then pay them to go to their local bars and ask for the same, creating a huge demand from the bars.
  2. When the Russians ran out of vodka. In 1945 May 9th, the day the Nazis surrendered to the Soviet Union, they partied a little too hard, and actually ran out of vodka within the first 24 hours.
  3. There is a bottle of vodka worth $3.750.000 DOLLARS! This vodka is called “Billionaire Vodka”. The Vodka is made through a triple distilling process, first through the ice, then through nordic birch charcoal, and lastly through the sand made of crushed diamonds and other gemstones, for a truly exclusive vodka. The bottle itself is made of gold and covered with diamonds.
  4. Vodka weighs less than water. Vodka weighs about 5% less than water.
  5. Vodka comes in all flavors. There is no limit to people's imaginations when it comes to adding flavors to vodka. This can create a nice taste experience, but some flavors are a bit controversial. Some examples are Peanut butter and jelly, Bacon, Blueberry pancakes, Popcorn, Pickle and salmon. There are many other flavors, some more normal than others.

    Find an extended list of vodka flavors and other liquor flavors here
  6. Drink vodka cold. Have you ever tried drinking a luke-warm shot of vodka and almost thrown up? There is a good reason why drinking ice-cold vodka is more enjoyable. Comparable to schnapps, vodka has a warm feeling to it when you drink it, this heat is reduced substantially when you keep it cool, making it a bit easier to get down.
  7. A Large part of death among Russian men is due to vodka. Russians like vodka, they really like vodka. So much that it sometimes kills them. A study shows that Russian death rates fluctuate wildly depending on their consumption of alcohol. Some even reported that they drink over three bottles of vodka a week! - source
  8. The drummer for Led Zeppelin died drinking about 40 shots of vodka in one day. On September 24th, 1980, John Bonham was attending a rehearsal at Bray Studios for a tour in North America. On the way to the studio, John asked his assistant to stop for breakfast, where he drank screwdrivers in large amounts, adding up to about 16 shots worth of just vodka. After rehearsal, he continued to drink heavily and on the 25th of September 1980, the Led Zeppelin tour manager found him unresponsive and he was later pronounced dead. It was later found out during autopsy that he had consumed upwards of 40 vodka shots in that one single day, resulting in him passing out, throwing up and suffocating on his own vomit. - source
  9. A ban on vodka led to massive losses in Russia. During the period of world war 1, the Russian government banned vodka. This was later reversed, as vodka made up no less than a third of the entire Russian state income. Source
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Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

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