Vodka History in Poland, Sweden and the U.S.
By Alan Dikty, Contributing Editor for Tastings.com. An engineer by profession and spirits connoissuer by nature, Mr. Dikty has built and consulted for microbreweries and brewpubs from Azerbaijan to Saipan.
Vodka in Poland
The earliest written records of Vodka production in Poland date from the 1400s, though some Polish historians claim that it was being produced around the southern city of Krakow at least a century earlier. Originally known as okowita replica oris watches (from the Latin aqua vita "water of life"), it was used for a variety of purposes besides beverages. A 1534 medical text defined an aftershave lotion as being "Vodka for washing the chin after shaving." Herbal-infused Vodkas were particularly popular as liniments for the aches and pains of life.
In 1546 King Jan Olbracht of Poland granted the right to distill and sell spirits to every adult citizen. The Polish aristocracy, taking a cue from their Russian peers, soon lobbied to have this privilege revoked and replaced by a royal decree that reserved the right to make Vodka exclusively to them.
Commercial Vodka distilleries were well established by the 18th century. By the mid-19th century a thriving export trade had developed, with Polish Vodkas, replica rolex watches particularly those infused with small quantities of fruit spirit, being shipped throughout northern Europe and even into Russia.
With the fall of Communism in the late 1980s, the Vodka distilleries soon returned to private ownership. Nowadays high-quality Polish Vodkas are exported throughout the world.
Vodka in Sweden
Vodka production in Sweden, which dates from the 15th century, has its origins in the local gunpowder industry where high-proof spirit (originally called brennvin) was used as a component of black powder for muskets. When distilleries were licensed to produce beverage alcohol replica rolex watches(primarily spice-flavored Aquavit, but also Vodka), it was with the understanding that gunpowder makers had first priority over beverage consumers.
Home distilling was long a part of Swedish society. In 1830 there were over 175,000 registered stills in a country of less than three million people. This tradition, in a much diminished and illegal form, still continues to this day. Modern Swedish Vodka is produced by the Vin & Sprit state monopoly.
Vodka in the United States
Vodka was first imported into the United States in commercial quantities around the turn of the 20th century. Its primary market was immigrants from Eastern Europe. After the repeal of National Prohibition in 1933, the Heublein Company bought the rights to the Smirnoff brand of Vodka from its White Russian immigrant owners Replica Designer Watches and relaunched Vodka into the U.S. market. Sales languished until an enterprising liquor salesman in South Carolina started promoting it as "Smirnoff White Whisky" "No taste. No smell." Sales started to increase and American Vodka, after marking time during World War II, was on its way to marketing success. The first popular Vodka-based cocktail was a combination of Vodka and ginger ale called the Moscow Mule. It was marketed with its own special copper mug, examples of which can still be found in the back shelves of liquor cabinets and flea markets of America.
Today Vodka is the dominant white spirit in the United States, helped along by its versatility as a mixer and some very clever advertising campaigns from the various producers. One of the most famous of these was the classic double Replica Watches entendre tag line: "Smirnoff" "It leaves you breathless."