Vodka: The World’s Best Spirit, Yesterday and Today
Apr 09, 2018
What is Vodka Made From?
It’s no secret that vodka is the most popular and flexible spirit in the world. It’s been around in some form for over 1000 years. Perfected in Eastern Europe in the countries that made up the former USSR, the warmth and versatility of a good vodka is practically synonymous with countries like Ukraine, where Pristine premium vodka is made. But if you’ve ever wondered, “what is vodka made from,” then grab your favorite Pristine cocktail and pull up a seat— here’s all that’s fit to know about the interesting history of Vodka!
Vodka’s Earliest Roots
Vodka is a distilled spirit that is roughly 40% alcohol. Humans have been making alcohol for literally thousands of years. There is evidence of alcohol being made in China as far back as 9000 B.C. With that many years of vinting and distilling under our belts, its not surprising that humanity has developed a passion for quality spirits.
Vodka as we know it (and with the name we know it as) has been crafted and enjoyed in the same ways since the 19th Century. However, there is evidence that Eastern Europeans were making vodka as early as the 9th Century. So they’ve had a full thousand years to perfect the recipe!
The word “Vodka” comes from the Slavic word Voda, which in English translates to “little water”. The name could also be derived from Aqua Vitae, or “water of life,” in Latin. In the middles ages and during the Renaissance, Aqua Vitae was believed to have healing properties. Scholars think it was brought to Russia in the 14th Century by ambassadors from Genoa. Distilled spirits were used as tinctures and in medicinal brews. Almost all of them were referred to as “wine,” even if by today’s standards and practices, they weren’t. In fact, vodka was often referred to as “burning wine” because the higher alcohol content gives the drinker a pleasant warmth. Today, we still joke that vodka is the cure for what ails us—but as you can see, that is rooted in truth!
The Spirit Takes Flight
Eastern Europe’s love affair with vodka was just beginning. 1505 marks the first documented export of Russian vodka to other countries. Already this part of the world was becoming the authority on quality vodka. Then, vodka was filtered with sand and sediment. The impurities were hidden by adding herbs and other flavorings to the vodka. However, by the 1700’s, charcoal filtration was used in the distilling process. Distillers were able to achieve much cleaner vodka, and the use of additives to hide the flavor fell out of fashion.
At it’s most simple, vodka is a distilled beverage consisting of ethanol and water. However, finding the right filtration and distilling techniques has taken centuries. The year 1812, when Napoleon Boneparte invaded Russia, is very significant in the history of Vodka. Vodka’s fortifying and warmth generating qualities made it a favorite drink with the Russian soldiers. Can’t you just picture the bottles passing hands between the Russian soldiers and soldiuers from other countries—both friend and foe? The Napoleonic Wars spread vodka like wildfire throughout Europe.
Corners were cut as demand for Vodka grew, and everyone and their grandmother began to make it. Quality became an issue when low-grade potato mash was used in place of higher quality ingredients. But in times of great need, you do what you have to!
Vodka as We Know It
At the end of the 19th Century, the Russian government got involved. In an effort to reduce drunkenness, and also to ensure uniform quality, distillation and distribution became a state-regulated affair. Though it’s not listed anywhere as motivation, money was likely a factor too. With no private market competition, the government reaped the rewards.
Vodka continued to be in incredibly high demand, and regulations did help the consumer; controlled production and standardization guaranteed a high-quality product, and thus “Vodka” as a name and as a spirit, became what we recognize today.
What is the Best Vodka Made From?
Any starchy or sugary plant matter will work as a base for vodka. However, the mash makes a huge difference in taste and quality—moreso even than repeated distillation. Vodkas that are five or more times distilled sometimes aren’t a higher quality product—in fact it can be just the opposite.
Many people think that Eastern European vodkas are potato-based vodkas, but the mash used can vary from country to country and even distillery to distillery. In general, rye and wheat-based vodkas are considered higher quality than other grain vodkas. Rather than identifying a high-quality vodka by its taste, professionals and connoisseurs alike use the texture, or “mouth feel” of the vodka to identify its quality. Vodka is a “neutral” spirit (meaning it pretty much always tastes like whatever you are mixing it with). Grain-based vodkas like Pristine do well with whatever is with them in the glass. Pristine Vodka shines in reviews, competitions, and blind taste tests.
What Makes Pristine the Best Vodka?
People who know and LOVE vodka make Pristine with the highest quality ingredients. The Carpathian Mountains in the Southwestern corner of Ukraine provide more than just a stunning backdrop. They are the source of unblemished minerals and crystal-clear waters that make Pristine a superior vodka. The clean, nutrient rich soil that covers Ukraine grows the finest quality wheat. Brilliant agriculturalists, and highly qualified, knowledgeable, and experienced distillers work their magic on these ingredients. A completely organic gravity filtration system takes away any impurities. A highly dedicated importer brings the finished product, Pristine all-natural, premium vodka, from the natural beauty of Ukraine to the United States. And, lucky you, you get it enjoy it!
Pristine is a vodka like no other. Smooth and clean, with a gentle warmth that spreads as you sip. The finest quality available with a price tag that won’t make you faint. A vodka so perfect, you can only call it Pristine!