7 Things You Should Know About Vodka

7 things you definitely need to know about vodka

Russia and Poland both claim to have invented the combination of water and ethanol that is vodka – the word voda is Slavic for water, and the ka makes it “little water” – but modern Russia wins for consumption: an average of 17.3 shots of vodka per person in a month, according to data collector Euromonitor

Meanwhile, Ukraine is second, followed by Poland, and the United States sits at sixth, with an average of only 3.76 shots per person in a month – so we have a lot of catching up to do. Here are a few things that you need to know if you wisely want to make vodka more prominent in your life: 

Vodka is the best alcohol to take on an adventure
Got an itch to get out into the backcountry? Well, if you’re headed to poison ivy territory, put some vodka in your pack – this particular liquor has the ability to wash away urushiol oil, the component that causes a rash. Also, vodka is an effective general disinfectant – Andy Warhol used it as an aftershave – so if you get cut along the way or stung by a jellyfish, douse it from your flask. Yep, it’ll burn, but then again so does Bactine, and it’s not nearly as much fun to drink. Bonus: Vodka washes away stinky-feet smells and the bacteria that causes them.

Vodka doesn’t last forever – but please don’t store it in the freezer
Unlike some spirits, vodka has a definite shelf life – most distillers recommend 12 months after the manufacturing date. After that, the flavor starts to decline, and eventually it develops a funky smell, and when it does, it can make you really sick. It’s okay to put a bottle in the freezer for a few hours, but you don’t want to leave it there indefinitely, as that will hurt the flavor and texture.

You can make vodka out of just about anything
Many people think that vodka is made from potatoes, but it’s always been made out of whatever is at hand – as long as there’s enough starch and sugar present, it will ferment into vodka. Delicious vodkas have been made from ingredients like grapes, apples, rice, beets and soybeans. 

Vodka is coming for you, red wine
A study done in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that vodka reduces stress more effectively than red wine. Vodka is also used worldwide in the making of tinctures, in which the leaves, stems and flowers of medicinal herbs are soaked in vodka to draw out the helpful oils. Not to mention that a 1.5-ounce shot of vodka comes in at 90 calories, while 4 ounces of red wine brings 100 calories – and about a third of the alcohol content.

You have the guy on the Absolut bottle to thank for no hangover
His name is Lars Olsson Smith, and in 1877 (two years before he started Absolut), he came up with a cool new way to distill without creating fusel alcohol, which is not good for you. The result was a cleaner liquor – it contains almost no “congeners,” aka impurities, that metabolize better. That’s why vodka is the least likely alcohol to leave you feeling like your head is going to split open.

Flavored vodka is so 7th century
Everyone’s excited about all the “new” flavored vodkas out there, but they actually started out that way. That’s because vodka was so impure and filled with weird stuff -- and it tasted awful – which prompted early distilleries to add herbs and other flavorings to mask the yuck.

There is such a thing as a $3.75 million-dollar bottle of vodka
Start saving your pennies: Billionaire brand vodka is triple-distilled and filtered through sand made from crushed diamonds and Nordic birch charcoal, and then it’s bottled in a platinum-encased crystal vessel bedazzled with diamonds and gold. A courier wearing white gloves delivers this highly coveted and numbered collector’s item, taking bottle service to a whole new level.