National Vodka Day is a great time to raise your glasses to one of the world’s favorite alcoholic drinks. While vodka is often associated with Russia, and some of the finest and most expensive vodkas in the world come from there, it is a drink that is produced in many countries and enjoyed all over the world.
History of National Vodka Day
Vodka is the Slavic word for ‘little water’ and is traditionally made by mixing water with distilled grains or potatoes, although today many popular brands add flavorings such as fruits and sugars.
It is believed that this drink first came into existence in the Middle Ages, perhaps sometime during the 8th or 9th centuries. Vodka has slightly different varieties that seems to have originated not only in Russia, but also in Poland as well as in Sweden. It seems that some of the first people to distill this drink from grains or potatoes were religious monks.
Records indicate that the word “vodka” was used in Russia sometime in the late 14th century. It is known that the Genoese ambassadors brought vodka to Moscow to present it to the Grand Duke in 1386. After another few hundred years, after the Russian Revolution in 1917, when vodka began to spread throughout Europe.
It wasn’t until after WWII that the popularity of vodka began to grow all throughout the world, particularly when it landed firmly on the shores of North America. Although it was originally almost tasteless and odorless, over the last decades that has changed. Creative differences in flavors, aromas, combinations and varieties have taken over the production of vodka around the world. But its neutral flavor has continued to contribute to its popularity as it makes an incredible base for a host of different mixed drinks and cocktails.
Purists of this distilled drink are known to only enjoy vodka neat, but it makes the perfect mixer and is the main ingredient in many favorite cocktails, including the martini, the screwdriver and the Bloody Mary.
The Moscow Mule, Cosmopolitan, Vodka Gimlet, White Russian and so many more drinks have become standard for bartenders at restaurants and in homes all throughout the world. All thanks to Vodka.
Now it’s time to celebrate National Vodka Day!
How to Celebrate National Vodka Day
Get on board with the fun and enjoyment of celebrating National Vodka Day using a few of these ideas or coming up with some of your own:
Try Out a New Variety of Vodka
While preferences for this drink can certainly be subjective, the experts in the field of liquor have put out a list of their favorite, best, top-of-the-line vodkas that would be perfect to enjoy in celebration of National Vodka Day. (Of course, responsible drinking is of the utmost importance.)
Try out one of these on the list as a way to appreciate the day:
- Hangar 1. This vodka originating from the California region has interesting tasting notes of orange, cinnamon and white pepper, and its alcohol by volume is 40%. The brand is a small batch vodka that was birthed in an old airplane hanger (thus, the name) by St. George Spirits in 2002. It’s still produced at the old Naval Air Station on San Francisco Bay.
- Ketel One, Cucumber and Mint. As flavored vodkas go, this one reigns supreme. From the Netherlands, this vodka has a slightly lower alcohol by volume, at only 60 proof. It offers only flavors that are naturally extracted from cucumber and mint, without any additives, and it’s perfect for light and summery drinks.
- Beluga Noble. Bringing flavors from where the story began, this Russian Vodka provides a clean, crisp flavor that is perfect for simply drinking cold and neat. Made using a pure water source and expert filtration, the result is this 80 proof vodka that is “clean like a tear”.
- Air Vodka. Purists everywhere will delight in the idea that this vodka is made using only the purest of ingredients: water, carbon dioxide and sunshine. Made in New York, this vodka is produced using solar-powered technology that removes greenhouse gases from the air and eliminates the need for farming, irrigation or depletion of resources. And it’s 40% alcohol by volume is smooth and light.
Give the Gift of Vodka
Share in the delight of the day by bringing a bottle of vodka to a special friend, family member, boss or coworker who absolutely loves it. They’ll be so appreciative of the gesture–and perhaps they’ll even open the bottle right away so that you can share a little toast together. Cheers!
Try Vodka Fusion
This is a fun activity that promotes the art of fusing individual flavors and varieties into vodka. Think of it as a painting where the vodka acts as the “blank canvas”. The process usually only takes 3-5 days, or longer depending on personal taste–and the strength of the flavors that are being infused.
Unique and original flavors abound when it comes to letting the creative juices flow into vodka! Some people have gone far beyond the norm with flavors such as Fruit Loops or Root Beer or Peanut Butter and Jelly. The sky’s the limit!
Consider these ideas for making a vodka fusion of your own:
- Fruit Infusion Vodka. One of the most popular ways to infuse vodka is by using fruits. Cranberry, mango, strawberry, watermelon and lime are just the beginning. This is also a great way to use up the last of a pile of figs, or the end of the bushel of peaches. 80 proof vodka works well for this and using 2 cups of chopped fruit to 2-3 cups of vodka is a great measurement.
- Peppermint Infusion Vodka. Great for enjoying at holiday parties or giving as gifts, this version simply uses 5 full sized peppermint candy canes in 1.5 cups of vodka. Deliciously festive and sweet, Santa will be happy to enjoy some as he spends time delivering gifts!
- Herbed Fusion Vodka. Graze the herb garden to find some unique flavors that will complement vodka. Rosemary, vanilla bean, lavender, ginger, garlic, horseradish and chamomile are just a few ideas for National Vodka Day infusions. These delightful herbal vodka infusions are healthful and delicious.
- Candy Corn Vodka Fusion. Take Halloween to the next level by dropping a handful of candy corn (½ cup) into a mason jar of vodka (1 ½ cups) and let it sit for several days, or even a week. Serve with cinnamon syrup, lemon juice and seltzer for a delicious Candy Corn Cocktail.
Join a National Vodka Day Event or Celebration
National Vodka Day is a great opportunity to enjoy a new cocktail or try one of the hundreds of different brands of vodka. Many bars and restaurants hold special promotions and tastings to encourage drinkers to celebrate this well-loved spirit. Check online or a local event bulletin board to find out what’s on in the community!