Vodka. A clear, distilled spirit traditionally associated with Russia and Poland. So, why are UK brands producing vodka? The huge success of gin in recent years has seen thousands of distilleries popping up across the UK; some of these distilleries are trying their hand at vodka. Whether you like your drinks shaken or stirred, you’ll love the quality British vodka on YouK.
What is Vodka?
Vodka is a distilled spirit made from starches or sugar-rich grains. Potatoes were the traditional base ingredient, however, corn, rye, wheat and even molasses are common bases for the drink today. The earliest form of vodka dates back to 14th century Poland and Russia. The word vodka is derived from ‘voda‘ a Slavic word, meaning ‘water‘. Originally a medicinal tincture or remedy, vodka gradually increased in popularity as a drink. As distillation techniques advanced, vodka developed into the drink we know today.
The distillation process of vodka means that its flavour is more subtle than that of other spirits. Vodka has high water content; around 70% of a bottle is water. As a result, the water used in the production impacts the final taste and feel of the spirit. The ideal water is soft and low in salts and ions, which produces a pure, smooth drink. British vodka is known for the quality and purity of the local water used.
Flavours are usually added at the end of the production process. Sweet additions like honey or toffee can limit vodka’s strong aftertaste, however, the most popular flavours are fruits and spices, chilli, vanilla and cinnamon.
According to some, vodka should only be consumed straight. No mixers. No fuss. Place your bottle in the freezer for a few hours to chill (due to its high alcohol content, vodka remain unfrozen in a standard freezer). Pour the vodka into a small glass and don’t add too much. Smell the vodka as you swirl it in the glass – 80% of vodka’s taste comes from its smell! Take a small sip and let the vodka rest on your palate for a few seconds before swallowing.
Vodka makes an excellent base for cocktails due to its subtle flavour. Unsurprisingly, vodka-based drinks have names associated with the spirit’s origin, including the White Russian, Moscow Mule, Tolstoy Tang and Yorsh (beer and vodka!).