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.
Exclusiv Vodka launched in 2001, but has only emerged in the US in the past few years. The small vodka company based out of Moldova, a small country that neighbors the creator, Serge Chistov's, Ukranian home. The vodka is produced using only the best winter wheat, resulting in a natural sweetness and uses naturally filtrated water from Central Europe. Now that we've got a taste of this vodka, we want to share with you why it's so good!
It's Cheap. Let's face it, the economy is still struggling and with it, our bank accounts. So at a jaw-dropping price of $9.99 a bottle (no, we aren't joking), it's hard not to swipe up a bottle or five. Talk about bang for your buck!
New York City is filled with many establishments trying to convey an old fashioned feeling to take you back in time. Many transport you to the prohibition era, where your cocktails are fancy and the lighting dim- you may even have to use a password to get in.
Now it's time to take a step in another direction and visit the other side of the world without leaving the city. Imagine this, you are back in the early twentieth century in St. Petersburg, a time both dazzling and taxing, in a city in love with celebrations and fortune. The location, Tzar's manor where you are eating off expensive china while drinking from the finest crystal. You look around admiring the unique Russian Literature and luxurious staircase which leads to the parlor. While running your fingers along the sides of the empire sofas and antique chairs, you eventually find yourself in the room you were looking for, The Grand Ballroom. As you look up, you find yourself in the middle of the room staring directly up at the skylight. This feeling can be replicated at FireBird, a peerless restaurant which places you in Russia during pre-Revolutionary times.
Boasting the title of the planet's first Eco-friendly vodka, 360 Vodka, a Missouri-based spirits company, is dedicated not only to making great tasting vodka, but also to saving the environment. Like Snapple, made from the best things on earth, all of 360's seven flavored vodkas are produced with natural flavors added during the distillation process. Flavors like Georgia Peach and Bing Cherry are "so fresh and intense, you'd think they were still growing!"
Not only is 360 committed to creating the purest flavored vodkas, distilled four times and filtered five times, they are heavily involved in reducing their company's carbon footprint. By using 100 percent recycled content and 100 percent post consumer waste, production of the bottle's label alone saved 629 full-grown trees and 288,188 gallons of water.
Finally, there’s a way to party and prepare that thesis you’ve been holding off on, thanks to science. Recent research shows that a moderate amount of vodka increases word association skills and verbal creativity. This means that you’re slightly more on your toes and creative when buzzed on vodka. A buzz loosens up the mind enough so that we’re less likely to be inhibited by a deliberate approach to problem solving, but not so intoxicated that we can’t think logically. Anyone could guess that a little alcohol loosens us up verbally, but no one could guess that it would make us better poets or smoother speakers.
Summer is rapidly coming to a close and we all want to soak up as much sun as possible. Nothing pairs better tanning than an ice cold cocktail. You’re probably tired of the same old “classics,” like mojitos and margaritas. So, why not mix it up a bit and end your summer on a high note?
If you don’t already read keepitsimplefoods.com, a blog by a lawyer named Jennifer in D.C., you should. It provides simple recipes that anyone can pull off. And if you are trying to kick your cocktail boredom, give her recipe for Blueberry Infused Vodka Lemonade a try. It's not only easy, it's fun to do with your friends.
"It's Friday, Friday!
Gotta get down on Friday!" (Thank you, Miss Rebecca Black)
We all made it through the week. Congratulations to us. Now we must do ourselves a favor and buy ourselves a drink!
Whether you're relaxing or going out and partying (yeah!), try some Cîroc vodka. At a bar last week, the bartender was offering free shots of Cîroc vodka. Now, I'm not really a vodka kind of gal but we here at Joonbug, never miss out on a free shot. Vodka doesn't always go down well for some, but this vodka is an exception--it is smooth!
With Easter arriving in just a few weeks, Joonbug looks forward to the annual return of the Peeps. Without Peeps would Easter even be Easter?
Peeps came alive in 1953. They start as a mixer called “slurry” and then are whipped into their familiar marshmallow texture. Colored sugar is added. The marshmallow is then shaped into the many varieties they now create—from the classic Peep to the snowman for the winter holidays. After they receive their final decorations, they're packed and sent off to our homes via the Easter Bunny.
If you're spending the holidays with your family and need a stronger kick with your Peeps, try this adult-friendly Peep-tini.
Cleanse the pallet with this lemon liqueur.
Smooth but untamed, limoncello's perfection is in it's balance between liquor and lemon. Too strong and it suddenly becomes a labor to drink; too weak and you might as well be drinking lemonade. What you want is an after-dinner drink that people will talk about long after the taste has left their mouths. All you need is five simple ingredients, lots of lemons, two months and a good deal of patience.
Everclear/grain alcohol (one handle)
Vodka (one handle)
Sugar (4 cups)
We’re pretty sure that there is no other place else in DC where you can attend what can only be called a crazy vodka fueled house party hosted by your long-lost Russian granny. Located in a historic three floor townhouse, the Russia House offers customers such an authentic experience that you might as well be in St. Petersburg; from the dark walls, chandeliers, peeling wallpaper, wood burning fireplaces, heavy red drapery, baroque burgundy carpets, high-back chairs, fancy chaise lounges, and long wooden tables, not to mention a stoic staff who seem to take great pleasure in guaranteeing your hangover, it’s a one way ticket straight to the motherland. And if you’re not careful, a night here can be such a trip that you just might not make it back home.