Today is National Vodka Day. You shouldn’t really need more than that first sentence before grabbing a bottle of your favorite tipple and a glass and getting to work celebrating. While you do, let’s talk a little bit about the spirit itself.
Getting its moniker from the Russian word “voda” (meaning water), vodka has been around since the 12th century. Like many alcohols, it was originally created for medicinal purposes. Though its actual place of birth is not known, in Russia people believed that the drink held its own spirit and they used it at religious ceremonies and events. A vessel sometimes containing more than a gallon of vodka would be passed around and those who refused to drink would be considered sinful.
Before the Second World War, you were unlikely to find vodka outside of Europe. Today, vodka makes up almost 25 percent of spirits sold in North America. You can find it distilled from wheat, potatoes, grapes and even beets. Whether you like it shaken, up, ice cold (Gretzky style) with olives or cotton candy-flavored with soda water, pour yourself a glass of vodka today. National Vodka Day only comes once a year. Nostrovia!