A Brief History of Vodka

Refreshments - Coffee and Vodka (1913). Painted by Frédéric de Haenen Public domain

The story of vodka is one that’s closely tied to cultural identity for several countries, but where did it originate, and how did it evolve over time? We’ll talk a bit about how vodka is made, where it came from, and how it’s expanded to a global market. We also discuss the darker side of vodka, and how alcoholism has damaged the very cultures that have embraced vodka as a recreational drink.

Holly's Research:

  • “EU Distills Vodka Rules.” New York Times. June 19, 2007. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/19/world/europe/19iht-vodka.4.6216260.html
  • Rehm, Jurgen, Ph.D. and Kevin D. Shield, MH. Sc. “Alcohol and Mortality.” Alcohol Research Current Reviews. 2014. vol. 35,2 (2014): 174-83. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3908708/
  • Simonson, Robert. “At Age 75, the Moscow Mule Gets Its Kick Back.” The New York Times. July 18, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/dining/moscow-mule.html
  • Astrasheuskaya, Natassia. “Vodka, gold are finishing touches on Bolshoi revamp.” Reuters. March 3, 2011. https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-russia-bolshoi-renovation/vodka-gold-are-finishing-touches-on-bolshoi-revamp-idUSLNE72200U20110303
  • Herlihy, Patricia. “Vodka: A Global History.” Reaktion Books Ltd. 2012.
  • Matus, Victorino. “Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America.” Lyons Press. 2014.

Topics in this Podcast: culinary history, alcoholism, bolsheviks, Poland, Russia, alcohol, European history