The First Record of Vodka Dates Back To the 9th Century

We have been drinking all kinds of cocktail containing vodka. We love the taste and somehow, this has been the part of our nights and weekends. Vodka first came to surface in this 20th Century and brought surprise for liquor lover. It has been a journey of this liquor from an unknown Russian drink to the most widely used cocktail drink..

The real origin of vodka is not yet known. However, it uses a special type of grain derived from growing region around what we know today as Poland, Western Russia and Ukraine. The word ‘vodka’ itself is derived from the Russian word ‘voda‘, meaning water. Experts discovers that the first record of vodka was found around the 9th Century. However, the first known distillery is around 200 years after that, around the 11th Century, in Khlynovsk, Russia. Now we have vodka producing distillery all around the world, and one of the most famous product is the Texas vodka.

If we see from the chemical perspective, straight vodka is made by ethanol blended with enough spring or pure water to result in 40% alcohol content or 80 US proof. The process starts with fermentation. Corn, rye, wheat, or any other grain, potatoes, sugar cane, molasses, grapes, fruits, or vegetables can be converted to an ethanol concentration of 12% to 18%, they differs each other based on sugar content (just like wine). Live active yeast like those used in bread is added to the product which role is to convert sugars to alcohol. When all of the sugar content has been converted by the yeast to alcohol, the fermentation will stop and the yeast will be killed by the high alcohol content. The fermentation process converts the natural sugars in these products to ethyl alcohol or ethanol. Up until this point, the product could result as a beer, wine, or a cider. The product if distilled will result is a neutral alcohol that what we call as vodka. The term hard liquor is commonly used in North America to differ distilled beverages from un-distilled ones (simply said weaker). The neutral spirit then will go through other processing, flavoring and aging techniques to make other spirits such as bourbon, scotch, gin, rum, brandy, and schnapps. If the product the added with more sugar and flavoring, the it will be called as liqueur.

Most distilleries will go to the process of distilling their vodka multiple times to make pure spirit, as well as the one used in Texas Vodka. Distillation is process where the liquid is heated to 1200F (alcohol boiling point) in a closed tank which is heated externally. The top where the alcohol vapors, then enter a pipe cooled by the outside air or a water cooled chiller to condense the alcohol vapor to a liquid. All vodkas will be filtered as many as ten times to make sure they result in a very clear, tasteless liquid. You should know that all of the Texas vodkas are very clear with no visual impurities.

Spirited Water: Vodka and Distillation

Russian vodka can be traced all the way back to the 1440’s. The Russians invented a grain based beverage using vodka that they called bread wine. Bread wine was produced through a pot distillation process. This became Russia’s first true alcoholic vodka. However, Poland has a different claim to these traces. Poland has claimed it’s origination of vodka in 1405. Their claim predates Russia’s claim by forty years, thus creating a debate of origination. The distillation process however remains mainly the same. Distillation refers to increasing the potency of an alcoholic beverage by allowing the alcohol to evaporate and then re-condense.

During ancient times, distilling was a more unrefined process. The freeze distillation method otherwise known as the Mongolian still relied strictly on the freezing points of alcohol and water. This method was before the era with thermometers and germ theory so it was common to produce poisonous beverages.

The practice of distillation has originated in many places around the world with different techniques. While practiced in modernity it can be traced to Arabic’s in the tenth century. There resulting product ultimately became known as “spirited water” a medicine of that era. This spirited water distilled by Arabic scientist appears in the name Texas vodka which is derived from the Russian word voda, or we know it as water.

It’s very interesting to learn about the origins of alcohol if you are or even if you aren’t a drinker. Maybe the next time you’re at the bar the bartender will ask you if you want well or top shelf. Or maybe if you want Russian, Swedish, Polish, or American Vodka you’ll have a story to tell them. You now know they all payed their debt to the distillation of vodka concoctions that are used on a daily basis around the world.