There is an anecdote that
it makes reference to a Prince of Kiev in what is now Ukrine, 988 A.D.
He decide it was time for his people to convert from their pagan religion
to one of the civilized countries down the south.
After meeting with Jewish rabbis, Moslem mullahs and finally came the Christians priest
who informed him that not only could good Christians drink alcohol, but that was actually required for church.
That was enough good argument
for the Prince.
The point of this historical anecdote is that the Slavic peoples of the north and
their Scandinavian neighbors took alcoholic drinks very seriously.
The extreme cold temperatures of winter could freeze the shipment of
wines and beers as they are relatively low-proof beverages.
Until the introduction of distilling into Eastern Europe in the 1400’s,
strong drink was made by fermenting strong wines, meads, and beers, freezing them, and then drawing off the alcohol from
the frozen water.
Vodka is the dominant spirit
of Eastern Europe. It is made by fermenting and distilling the simple sugars from a mash of pale grain or vegetal matter.
Vodka is produce from grain, potatoes, molasses, beets, and a variety of other plants.
The choice of pot or column still has a fundamental effect on the final character of Vodka.
Column stills produces usually a more neutral,
Except for a few minor styles, Vodka is not put in wooden cask or aged for
an extensive period of time.
It can, however, be flavored or colored with a wide variety of fruits, herbs and spices.