Today, October 4, is National Vodka Day, and we’ve got the low down on everybody’s favorite clear spirit. Let’s start off with some facts about Vodka that you may not have known.
- “Vodka” is a diminutive form of the Slavic word “Voda” (water), essentially translating to “Little Water”. The earliest recorded use of the word was in Polish court documents, dating back to 1405.
- The original history of Vodka is somewhat contentious: The Russians claim to have invented it in the 9th century, while the Poles claim to have first created vodka in the 8th century. Both sides insist that Vodka came from their country to this day.
- Wherever Vodka originated, its earliest incarnations was quite different from Vodka as we know it today. It had a different flavor, color, and smell, and only contained around 14% alcohol (the highest percentage possible through natural fermentation). It also had a different use, employed primarily as a medicine rather than a beverage. With the invention of the still, however, the alcohol content shot straight up, and Vodka became popular as a drink rather than a medicine.
- One of the most influential reasons why vodka became so popular in Russia and Poland was because the spirit never froze in the hard Eastern European winters, due to its high alcohol content.
- You might think that flavored Vodka is a modern trend, but it’s actually almost as old as Vodka itself. Since early production methods were crude and faulty, fruits, herbs, and spices were used to mask imperfections. Later, flavored Vodka became a trademark for a producer and a display of his skill. Flavors included lemon, orange, ginger, coffee, cloves, pepper, and aromatic bison grass.
- Russian chemist D.M. Mendeleev spent years perfecting the ideal recipe for Vodka (40% ethanol, 60% water), which he revealed in 1894. His methods are still used by distilleries all across the world.
- Though rye and wheat are classically used to make Vodka, it can be made from pretty much anything that ferments, including potatoes, sugar cane, barley, molasses, and even vegetables like onions, cabbage and beets.
- Vodka is considered one of the “purest” spirits. A low level of congeners (byproducts of fermentation) means that Vodka is less likely to leave you hung-over and reeling the day after you imbibe.
- Besides being optimal for boozing, Vodka has a whole bevy of other uses in everyday life. In your bathroom, Vodka can be used to kill mildew and mould, and to prevent razor blades from rusting. It can be used to remove poison ivy oil from affected skin, and to disinfect jellyfish sting. If you’ve spilled some red wine, spraying Vodka on the stain, scrubbing, then blotting dry will help clean your carpet. Vodka: it’s not just for drinking anymore.
- Vodka is the most popular spirit in the world. It currently accounts for 10% of the Russian GDP.
Those in need of a rest from the bustling bars of NYC have found their match. Middle Branch Bar’s serenity is sure to win over those in search of a quaint, picturesque night out.
Sasha Petraske, the infamous founder of Milk and Honey, dared to bring his new establishment to Murray Hill. Its elegant, dim, atmosphere provides a haven for a relaxing cocktail. Live jazz performances will entertain guests, which they may enjoy from either of the two floors.
Its brick walls, wooden tables, and scattered candles highlight the rich, speakeasy ambiance. Much like its sister bars Little Branch, Milk and Honey, and Silver Lining, Middle Branch offers similar specialty cocktails, including the Queen’s Park Swizzle. Snacks and appetizers will also be available. Petraske’s success at his other locations has us positive this that Middle Branch’s uniqueness will lure visitors effortlessly.
The stage is set, the players are in position, all that remains is for the curtain to go up on the first ever Manhattan Cocktail Classic, to be held this weekend at venues across the city.
The event has been organized to celebrate the life and times of the classic form of the cocktail, from its insemination in the early 1800's to its place in contemporary society. Coming together for the weekend are an astounding ensemble of pioneers and icons in the bar world, from Dale 'King Cocktail' Degroff, Sasha Petraske (of elusive, exclusive and down-right enviable Milk & Honey fame), and Doug Frost - one of only three people in the world to complete the Master Sommelier's course and become America's Master of Wine.
Long Island City finally got its very own 19th century themed saloon. After much anticipation, Dutch Kills lives up to its hype. Bar goers applaud owners Richard Boccato and Sasha Petraske, as they have created an 1890’s saloon masterpiece.
Leave behind the modern concrete jungle of New York and step back 100 years. That is what you will find when you walk through the front doors of Dutch Kills. It’s a place for hipsters to enjoy the elegance of a mid 19th century saloon and pay homage to the areas past. Dutch Kills translates to Dutch creek, which tributes the Dutch settlers that occupied the land.