|Vodka is the most
versatile of spirits. While people in Eastern Europe and the Baltic
often drink it neat, swallowing it in one gulp, others use it in
cocktails and mixed drinks—bloody marys, screwdrivers, white
russians, and Jell-O shots—or mix it with tonic water or
ginger beer to create a refreshing drink.
manufacturers even infuse it with flavors ranging from lemon and
strawberry to chocolate, bubble gum, and bacon. Created by distilling
fermented grains, potatoes, beets, or other vegetables, this colorless,
tasteless, and odorless liquor has been enjoyed by both the rich and
the poor throughout its existence, but it has also endured many
obstacles along its way to global popularity.
Patricia Herlihy takes us for a ride through vodka’s history,
from its mysterious origins in a Slavic country in the 14th century to
its current transatlantic reign over Europe and North America.
She reveals how it continued to flourish despite hurdles like American
Prohibition and being banned in Russia on the eve of World War I. On
its way to global domination, vodka became ingrained in Eastern
European culture, especially in Russia, where standards in vodka
production were first set. Illustrated with photographs, paintings, and
graphic art, Vodka
will catch the eye of any reader intrigued by how “potato
juice” became an international industry.