Zdravstvuyte fellow readers! If your Russian is rusty, today is the day for you to brush it up with Vodka cause guess what, it’s National Vodka Day! National Vodka Day is observed annually on October 4, a celebration of the world’s favourite spirit.
It is a perfect day for you to raise your glass to one of the world’s most beloved alcoholic beverages. Even though vodka is closely associated with Russia, with some of the finest coming from there, it is a drink enjoyed by many, regardless of social status.
History of Vodka
The origin of vodka predates to the early 16th century in Russia. At that time, most of the vodka was produced by local tavern owners, and a century later, vodka consumption became viral, causing almost a third of the male population to be in debt to the taverns.
In an attempt to curb vodka drinking, the government and Orthodox Church banned the consumption of vodka, but instead only to drive people to make their vodka at home, a tradition that still goes on to this day. During the early 20th century, the Soviet government imposed vodka tax a source of income. in fact, a third of the Soviet army was paid by a tax on the Smirov brand.
Today, vodka is widely consumed in Russia, Poland, USA, Europe and in the Balkan states. You can find a variety of vodka brand, affordable or premium, from the shelves of any convenience store or the one behind your regular mixologist.
What is Vodka?
Vodka is the Slavic word for little water. It is a type of distilled liquor that has a clear colour and has no definite aroma or taste. Traditionally, potatoes were used to make vodka, but today, fermented grains such as corn, rice rye and wheat are commonly used.
The grains are mixed with hot distilled water and left to ferment for around three days. The fermented mixture is then filtered to separate the ethanol from the methanol and excess water. Because of its neutrality, vodka is widely used to make mixed drinks and combined with other beverages. It is also a popular spirit substitute in cocktails, with popular vodka drinks include the Screwdriver and Bloody Mary.
Know Your Vodkas
There are different types of vodka brands, prices and flavour out there and choosing one can be overwhelming. Smirnoff, Ketel, Grey Goose and Absolut are some of the common brands that you can find on the market and then there are the various premium vodkas that most of us barely know and can hardly afford. There is no denying when it comes to the popularity of vodka, and classic vodka cocktails can be found anywhere.
“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?” That is how one should order the infamous Vesper Martini like 007.
Unlike other spirits, vodka makes a perfect mixer and is the main ingredient in many cocktails. Here are some of the classic vodka cocktails that you should know if you ever need to impress your loved ones.
- Bloody Mary
Whether it is over brunch with your friends or before you catch your long flight, the Bloody Mary is not only a beverage but also a cultural icon. A highball glass of Bloody Mary contains ice, vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice and a blend of spices and flavourings such as Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, garlic, and pinches of pepper and celery salt. It is often garnished with lemon, celery, and olives.
Are you an avid fan of Sex & The City? If you are, then you should know this infamous cocktail, Cosmopolitan. With its pinkish outlook, sweet and sour, Cosmopolitan is made using vodka, cranberry juice, lime and Triple Sec. The ingredients are added into a shaker with ice. Once done, it is strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a lime wheel.
The simplest and most popular vodka cocktail, the Screwdriver is an alcoholic drink that you should try once in your life. With only vodka, orange juice and an orange slice as a garnish, it is perfect for your brunch with your loved ones.
- Harvey Wallbanger
Harvey Wallbanger is basically a Screwdriver with Galliano, that triangular bottle of yellow liquor that highly associated with this drink.
- White Russian
Being the other half of the infamous and luxurious Black & White Russian, the White Russian gets its name with the addition of cream. Surprisingly, neither drink is of Russian origin, but both are named so as they use vodka as the main ingredient. White Russian is made with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream served with ice in an Old Fashioned glass.
National Vodka Day is an excellent day for you to try different brands of vodka or a new recipe of cocktails. During this day, you will find many bars and restaurants offer special promotions to encourage drinkers to drink vodka.
So, bring along your mates and raise that spirit of yours together. Nostrovia!