If you visit any Jabs Bar in the world and you will probably notice that vodka is the most commonly served spirit.  As a matter of fact, vodka has long been the leading spirit within the bar industry, probably because it is made from a “neutral grain,” making it clean and flavorless. That means, of course, that you can mix vodka with just about any other drink (like juice, etc), but that higher quality vodka can be refreshing on its own.

These days it seems there is a bit of a renaissance within the food and beverage world to bring back many classic cocktails and introduce new experimentation. In times like these, then, the simple, classic sensibilities of vodka continue to thrive in the face of wide ranging niche markets.

Where Does Vodka Come From?

Vodka first emerged into the timeline of human history around the 15th century.  Or, rather, this is the first reference we have of it, in written form: it appeared in the 1405 Akta Gradzkie of Poland, court records, where the Palatinate of Sandomierz refers to “vodka” as a kind of beverage. Of course, the local (and historic) vernacular used in this publication called it “wódka” and the mention refers to it as either a type of medicine or a type of cosmetic cleaner, like an astringent.  It was also termed as a drink, taken from the Old Polish gorzałka, which derives from the verb “gorzeć”, meaning “to burn.”

Why Is Vodka So Popular?

Obviously, vodka grew in popularity because it was commonly used as a medicine but the reason this society began to use it so often has to do with the fact that vodka can be distilled from, basically, anything rich in sugar or starch.  Today, then, modern vodkas are distilled from rye and wheat (considered far superior) as well as corn, sorghum, rice, potato, soybeans, grapes, and even beets.

An Early History of Vodka

Historical data provides evidence that the earliest forms of vodka were made in rudimentary stills to yield very low alcohol content.  But vodka quickly grew as a cottage industry and began to grow immensely in popularity during the late 1700s. This is when both clergy and nobility began to produce the stuff—creating quite the booming industry. Obviously, this helped to build the economic stability of many European countries at this time (and through the next few centuries).