National Vodka Day is October 4th. Here’s a bit of vodka history and information to peruse while you celebrate this boozy holiday.
Vodka is believed to have been first distilled more than 600 years ago, and today it’s the world’s most consumed spirit. It traces its origins back to Russia and Poland, with each country claiming dominion over the popular liquor.
The word vodka comes from the Slavic word “voda,” which means water. In many Eastern European countries, vodka was—and still is—just as important to the daily diet as water. And while many countries both produce and consume vodka, the “vodka belt” countries of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe have the highest vodka consumption in the world.
Vodka is typically distilled from grains, like rye, wheat and corn, but can also be produced from potatoes, grapes, rice and other sugary plant matter. It’s often drunk straight in its founding countries, while others typically mix vodka with fruit juice or into drinks ranging from simple vodka tonics to more elaborate cocktails.
The vodka category continues to grow, with the flavored market outpacing the unflavored market in growth. Flavored vodkas used to be basic, simply flavored with citrus fruits or cranberry, for example; but now the category is running wild, with flavors like bubble gum, root beer and even smoked salmon entering the market. The packaging has developed just as quickly, as vodka’s now presented in bottles of all shapes, sizes and colors. Crystal Head Vodka, pictured above, even comes in a glass skull.
There’s no shortage of options for celebrating National Vodka Day, but here’s a classic vodka cocktail to get things started.
The Moscow Mule
1 3/4 oz vodka
1/2 oz lime juice
Lime wedge for garnish
Pour the vodka and lime juice into a highball glass (or a traditional copper mug, if you’ve got one) with ice cubes. Top off with ginger beer, and garnish with the lime wedge.