The estimation of various strong alcoholic liquors proves that vodka is of great international importance nowadays. Moreover, its significance in the drinking culture of the whole world is steadily increasing. This tendency is emphasized by the fact that lately all kinds of strong alcoholic beverages produced by distillation have been termed ‘vodkas’. Among them there are lots of diverse spirituous liquors. Though they are made of various products, they are all related to each other, i.e. they are all obtained through distillation.
The most famous strong alcoholic liquors, regarded as vodkas outside Russia, are whiskey, brandy, gin, rum, schnapps, arrack, sake, slivovitz, kirsch, and aquavit.
Whiskey is an alcoholic liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grain, as barley, rye, or corn, and usually containing from 43 to 50 per cent alcohol.
Brandy is an alcoholic beverage distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice.
Gin is an alcoholic liquor obtained by distilling grain mash with juniper berries, or by redistilling spirits with flavoring agents, especially juniper berries, orange peel, angelica root, etc.
Schnapps is any strong, dry spirit, as slivovitz, aquavit, or kirsch produced in Europe.
Arrack is any of various spirituous liquors distilled in the East Indies and other parts of the East and Middle East from the fermented sap of toddy, palms, or from fermented molasses, rice, or other materials.
Sake is a Japanese fermented, mildly alcoholic beverage made from rice.
Slivovitz is a dry, colorless, slightly bitter plum brandy from East Europe.
Kirsch is a fragrant, colorless, unaged brandy distilled from a fermented mash of cherries, produced especially in West Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace, France.
Aquavit is a dry spirit, especially of Scandinavia, made from redistilled grain or potato alcohol and usually flavored with caraway seeds.
The listed examples of national vodkas indicate that the method of distillation used in the production of strong alcoholic beverages is widely spread around the world. It is the distillation that relates diverse liquors and Russian vodka. But Russian vodka has its peculiarities, too, which make it an object of national pride. Vodka is the clearest alcoholic beverage produced in the world. No other spirit can be compared with its purity, especially notable in high-quality vodka “Sadko”, the winner of international contests.