What is vodka made from and how did it get its name?
Vodka was originally known as "the water of life" from the similar word for water in both Russian and Polish, the countries from where the drink is originated.
Vodka doesn't cause hangovers?
Vodka makers aim to remove most or all of the 'congeners' or flavouring elements from the spirit by distillation and filtration over charcoal to make it as pure as possible. It is these congeners that contribute to the 'hangover' effect that tends to be more evident with other alcoholic drinks.
Aren't all these flavoured vodkas a new idea from the West - not very Russian?
Flavoured vodkas in fact originated in Russia and Poland and many dozens of different flavourings from pepper to bison grass have been used there from earliest times.
Should vodka be stored in the freezer?
Yes. It won't freeze because of the alcohol level - and it will be instantly at the right temperature for mixing your favourite vodka cocktails.
Vodka can be made from many different kinds of agricultural materials
In the EU it is usually produced from gain or molasses. In Eastern Europe it is also produced from potatoes or rice. Neutral spirit of at least 96% alcohol by volume, having been checked that it is of the appropriate quality is either redistilled to produce a pure and flavourless spirit or filtered through activated charcoal which removes any residual impurities and odours. The definition of activated charcoal is that which has been treated either by steam or chemicals to make it more absorbent.