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Vodka is enjoyed around the world thanks to its incredible versatility and even its variation of flavour. Whilst typically enjoyed in the West as a means of adding spirit to mixed drinks, thanks to the superb quality and attention-to-detail found in craft vodkas, flavoursome, premium and small-batch options—not to mention flavoured vodka—is really burgeoning on the drinks scene.

Vodka's origins are hotly disputed, though most agree that its beginnings lie either in Poland or Russia. Ancient records date production in Russia centuries ago, with a number of early pharmaceutical lists referencing the "vodka of bread wine". The earliest recorded use of the term 'vodka' was in 1405, in a set of Polish court documents in which it was placed alongside medicines and cosmetics.

Vodka is traditionally consumed neat in Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, differing from the Western world where it is usually mixed. The word itself derives from the Slavic “voda”, meaning water, etymologically linking the term with whisky (which comes from the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, the Scandinavian term akvavit from the Latin “aqua vitae” and French “eau-de-vie” - all meaning water of life).

It seems that a great number of spirits from around the world were once thought to be elixirs of life, containing mystical properties. Vodka was very rarely drunk outside of Europe prior to the 1950s, but thanks to its easily mixed flavour profile (and appearance), by 1975 sales in America had surpassed those of bourbon.

A common question: Is vodka gluten-free? In almost all cases, yes! Plain options are generally gluten free, but beware flavoured varieties with flavours added post-distillation.

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