Vodka has been around since at least 1493, when Polish monks first distilled it from grain (rather than fermented grapes).
Today, there’s no shortage of brands in stores or bars, but what all these vodkas have in common is they’re all distillates — meaning they’ve been filtered, so that only pure water remains after distillation.
The most popular type of vodka today is Russian, which contains more neutral flavorings like fruit essences, herbs, and spices to mimic the taste of traditional brandy.
This makes vodka an excellent mixer with many flavors, including citrus juices, liqueurs, coffee, tea, and even chocolate.
Since its popularity exploded during Prohibition in the United States, people also use vodka as a base for homemade “pirate” rum, whiskey, or bourbon infusions.
If you’re ready to get started on your next cocktail party, we’ll show you how to create this one using our vodka press recipe.
It’s quick and simple enough to be done ahead of time, making it ideal for entertaining.
Here’s everything you need to know before you start mixing up your favorite vodka recipes!
What Is The Origin Of Vodka?
Before we look at the history behind vodka, let’s take a moment to explore why you might want to add it to your drinks.
Vodka is known for being clear and colorless, allowing any ingredients added to stand out against it.
Its high proof means that it doesn’t become diluted by ice, which helps keep it potent while keeping the final mixed drink light.
And because it’s neutral flavored, it pairs well with almost anything else.
It’s not just a great mixer, though; vodka is actually beneficial for overall health.
The main ingredient in vodka, grains, contains antioxidants called polyphenols that help protect cells against damage.
Studies suggest that those who regularly consume vodka may experience less depression and anxiety compared to non-drinkers.
While these claims have yet to be proven scientifically, there’s little doubt that a glass of vodka will do wonders for your mental state.
How Is Vodka Made?
In order to produce a quality batch of vodka, several steps must occur.
First, grains are ground into flour.
Then, yeast is added to ferment the starch.
After fermentation, the mixture is cooked until it becomes thick and syrupy.
Finally, it’s left to age for two years before bottling.
As you can see, producing a bottle of vodka requires lots of work and patience.
Not everyone has access to a still, so if you don’t want to wait around for months to make your own vodka, you should consider purchasing premade bottles instead.
Check out our list of best-selling vodka brands below.
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Vodka?
There’s nothing quite like the aroma of freshly brewed hot cocoa or mulled wine wafting through your house, especially when you’re feeling chilly outside.
But did you ever stop to think about the smell of your favorite alcoholic beverage? If you enjoy a nice shot of vodka every now and then, you probably haven’t thought much about why you love it so much.
But let us explain why you should continue indulging yourself in vodka.
Like other spirits, it provides a smooth sensation when consumed, leaving you relaxed without feeling too buzzed.
According to research conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, people who sip on vodka tend to feel less anxious, depressed, angry, sad, and stressed compared to others who prefer gin or whiskey.
In fact, studies have shown that individuals who drink vodka daily report lower levels of stress and better sleep than those who abstain entirely.
Additionally, vodka is often used to dilute certain types of food and beverages.
For example, it’s commonly mixed with soda pop for a Moscow Mule, with orange juice for a Bloody Mary, and with cranberry sauce for a sangria.
Other foods that pair particularly well with vodka include egg salad, cheese dips, meatballs, pasta sauces, and even pizza toppings.
What Are The Different Types Of Vodka?
Although vodka comes in various forms, it always begins with wheat.
There are three main varieties of vodka: white, yellow, and red.
White vodka is considered the most neutral tasting, followed by yellow.
Red is usually aged longer, giving it deeper tones and richer aromas.
The following chart shows the differences between the three types of vodka:
White: Lightest body, lowest proof
Yellow: Medium body, medium proof
Red: Highest body, highest proof
What Is The Difference Between Vodka And Other Liquors?
While vodka is sometimes confused with other types of distilled spirits such as tequila and gin, there’s a big difference between them.
Unlike vodka, both tequila and gin contain additional flavoring additives like agave nectar, honey, caramel coloring, grapefruit seed extract, and more.
These additions aren’t necessarily bad, but they certainly change the way that each spirit tastes.
Another major distinction between vodka and other types of spirits is the proof level.
As mentioned earlier, vodka has a higher proof than other types of spirits, but that doesn’t mean it’s stronger.
Proof simply refers to the amount of alcohol present in a given volume of liquid.
A standard measure of proof is 100, which indicates 0% ABV.
However, a strong 80-proof vodka would have 40% ABV.
That said, vodka does pack a punch.
Even though it isn’t nearly as powerful as other types of spirits, it packs a wallop when combined with other ingredients.
That’s why it’s recommended to limit yourself to one shot per day.
What Are Some Popular Vodka Cocktails?
Perhaps the most famous vodka cocktail is the martini, which was originally created in 1920s New York City bar Harry Coyle’s Bar.
Nowadays, however, it’s more likely that people associate the classic drink with a particular celebrity rather than the place where it originated.
You might recognize Audrey Hepburn enjoying a few of her trademark sips in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or Tom Cruise downing a few in Risky Business.
Other notable vodka cocktails include:
Moscow mule – A spicy combination of beer, lime juice, ginger ale, sugar syrup, and vodka served over crushed ice.
Margarita – An equally tasty alternative to the Moscow mule, consisting of tequila, triple sec, fresh squeezed lime juice, salt, and pepper served over crushed ice.
Bloody Mary – A tomato based cocktail featuring vodka, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Tabasco, horseradish, and ketchup.
Gin & Tonic – A sweet and sour variation of the martini featuring gin, tonic water, lemon juice, and bitters.
Shandy – Also referred to as a Shandygaff, this beer/lager combination features beer along with lemonade, cola, and vodka.
What Are Some Tips For Drinking Vodka?
Like all spirits, vodka is meant to be enjoyed responsibly.
Just remember that consuming small amounts of alcohol won’t harm you, but excessive consumption could lead to intoxication.
When choosing a vodka to serve, try to select something with minimal extra ingredients.
Some vodka mixes come with artificial flavoring, which can leave a bitter taste.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
Always check the label before buying a bottle of vodka.
Many companies sell their products under different names, so read carefully to ensure you’re getting what you expect.
Try to avoid drinking straight shots of vodka.
Mixing vodka with another ingredient allows you to control the strength of the drink, and reduces the likelihood that you’ll end up becoming intoxicated very quickly.
Be aware of serving sizes.
Although vodka is generally served in smaller quantities than other types of spirits, it can still cause problems if you exceed the recommended limits.
Keep in mind that vodka takes longer to digest than other types of spirits.
So if you plan on having multiple drinks throughout the night, stick to lighter options like beer or wine.
When preparing a vodka press, make sure to pour the mixture slowly.
Otherwise, you run the risk of creating foam.
Don’t forget to practice safe driving.
Alcohol affects judgment, coordination, and reaction times.
Make sure to slow down when driving after imbibing, and never drive while impaired.
How Can I Make My Own Vodka?
Of course, the easiest option is to buy a pre-made bottle of vodka.
But if you’d like to learn how to make your own, here’s what you’ll need:
A large pot filled halfway with cold water
3 cups raw whole wheat
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 quarts cool purified water
6 packets active dry yeast
Mix together 1 teaspoon of the salt and 3 cups of the wheat flour in a bowl.
Once thoroughly blended, cover with plastic wrap and set aside overnight.
Next morning, combine the remaining 2 cups of wheat flour and the sugar in a separate bowl.
Add the yeast and 4 quarts of cool water to the bowl containing the starter.
Stir vigorously until completely dissolved.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
- 1 Glass
- 2 ounces Vodka
- 3 ounces 7up
- 3 ounces Soda Water
- In a highball glass with ice, pour the vodka.
- Add soda water, 7Up, and/or Sprite to finish.
- Add mint and lime