Vodka is a distilled beverage and one of the
world's most popular liquors. It is composed primarily of water
and ethanol with traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is
made from the fermented substances grain and potatoes.
Vodka's alcoholic content usually ranges
between 35-50% by volume; the standard Russian, Lithuanian, and
Polish vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof).
Historically, this alcoholic-proof standard derives from the
Russian vodka quality standards established by Tsar Alexander
III in 1894. The Muscovite Vodka Museum reports that chemist
Dmitri Mendeleev determined the ideal alcohol content as 38%;
however, because in that time distilled spirits were taxed per
their alcoholic strength, that percentage was rounded upwards to
40% for simplified taxation calculations.
For such a liquor to be denominated "vodka",
governments establish a minimum alcohol content; the European
Union established 37.5% alcohol by volume as the minimum alcohol
content for European vodka.
Vodka is traditionally drunk neat in the vodka
belt - Eastern Europe and Nordic countries - and elsewhere. It
is also commonly used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the
bloody Mary, the screwdriver, the sex on the beach, the White
Russian, the vodka tonic, and the vodka martini.
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