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Where it began

As with many spirits, there is much debate over the origin of Vodka, some say it started in Russia, others say Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania or Sweden.

The term ‘Vodka’ can be traced back to 1405 in Poland and to the 16th century in Russia. Russians are attributed with the invention of charcoal filtration of Vodka in the 18th century by chemist Theodore Lowitz. The potato Vodka production for which Poland is now famous was introduced at the beginning of the 19th century and immediately revolutionized the market.

The invasion of Vodka into the Western world has been credited to John G. Martin and the Smirnoff brand. Americans, traditionally Whiskey drinkers, were unfamiliar with Vodka and Martin came up with the idea to bottle it with Whiskey corks and brand it as a "White Whiskey". At the same time, a friend of his was trying to launch his own brand of ginger beer and they hit upon the idea of mixing their products together to create the legendary Moscow Mule. It was a drink that epitomized the vodka brand - fresh, dry and spicy.

How it is made

Vodka can be made from any fermentable base material, such as cereal grains, grapes or even potatoes!

The base material (starch is first converted into sugar, if necessary) is fermented and then distilled using a continuous still or pot still.

Good quality Vodkas are filtered a number of times to remove any impurities.

SMIRNOFF NO. 21 production


Vodka is a smooth, clear liquid generally without flavor or with a light flavor. Most Vodkas are typically 40% ABV and must be a minimum of 37.5% ABV in Europe.
Neutral style, classic Vodka is made using a continuous still and very little character from the base material remains.

Pot-stilled Vodkas are largely neutral, however they tend to retain light characteristics from the base material (rye, wheat, potatoes, grapes.) This method is used for more premium Vodka brands as well as some Polish and Russian Vodkas. Many producers also choose to flavor their Vodka. This can be done with a range of different fruits, herbs and spices. A recent popular trend has been apple flavored Vodka.

Key serves

SMIRNOFF Moscow Mule

1.5 oz. SMIRNOFF No. 21 Vodka

4 oz. ginger beer

Lime wedge


Fill a highball glass with cubed ice.

Add SMIRNOFF NO. 21 Vodka.

Top with ginger beer.

Stir to combine and garnish with a lime wedge.

(2 standard drinks*- 1.6 units per serve)

KETEL ONE® Bloody Mary

1.5 oz. Ketel One® Family-Made Vodka or Ketel One Citroen® Flavored Vodka

3 oz. Ketel One Bloody Mary Base*


*Ketel One Bloody Mary Base:

1L Tomato juice
4 oz. Lemon juice
4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Smoked paprika
5 tbsp. Horseradish
3 Dashes Worcestershire sauce
7-10 Dashes hot sauce

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stalk, olive, or lemon wedge.


1.25 oz. CÎROC

.25 oz. Orange Liqueur

.25 oz. lime juice

1.75 oz. white grape juice or apple juice

Top up with soda/sparkling wine/Champagne


Shake all ingredients.

Fine strain into chilled Champagne glass.

Top up with soda.

Did you know? The term 'Vodka' comes from the Russian word 'voda', and means 'little water'.

(*One standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol)

Check out these vodka brands for more information on their style and range:

  • Smirnoff


    Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka is the number one-selling premium Vodka brand in the world, and is distributed in over 130 countries.



    The Dutch Vodka takes its name from the original coal-fired pot still, which continues to be used by the Nolet family today. The method creates a pure, but deliciously complex, premium spirit.



    It’s the fine French grapes and the fifth distillation at the historic Distillerie de Chevanceaux in South of France that give this Ultra-Premium Vodka its distinctive flavor.

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