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Everything You Need to Know About Vodka (Shaken or Stirred)

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Vodka
The first shipment of vodka from Russia since the end of Prohibition on December 5, 1933 in New York City. (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

 

Talk about irony: All those years James Bond spent fighting off the Reds, he was downing their drink of choice in his shaken-not-stirred martinis. That would, of course, be vodka.

As Liquor.com reveals, the clear spirit is most often produced from either potatoes or grain—but can also be distilled using soybeans, grapes, sugar beers, and even wood pulp. Vodka dates back to the early Middle Ages and the origin of its name comes from the Slavic word for “water.” (Makes sense, right?) Sure, vodka gets the most ink spilled about it in connection with Eastern Europe, but would you believe that it’s America’s most popular spirit? In fact, Americans consume more of the clear spirit than rum, whiskey, and tequila.

Now, we know what you’re saying. Potatoes, grain … get me an industrial-sized pot or bathtub, and let’s make us some “water.” But the distillation process is a bit more involved than the normal kitchen (or bathroom) can handle. Watch the video below for a peek into the procedure.

 

If you’ve ever been to a martini bar, you know that flavored vodkas are a big draw with the fairer sex. These include everything from lemon, orange, and ginger; to oddball flavors like marshmallow, cake, and root beer float (the latter three are just a few of the flavored vodkas produced by Smirnoff).

Popular vodka drinks include the Moscow Mule, Cosmopolitan, and Bloody Mary; but given RealClearLife‘s obsession with all things Bond, below is a recipe for the British spy’s bar order from movie Casino Royale (a.k.a. “The Vesper”), courtesy of Chowhound:

3 ounces Gordon’s gin
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounces Kina Lillet
Green olives or twist of lemon peel

Says Chowhound: “Shake the gin, vodka, and Lillet with ice; then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with green olives or lemon peel.”

For the full run-through on vodka, watch Liquor.com’s video below.