It all began 8,000 years ago in Babylon, Armenia and Georgia (Russia that is!). However, the fermentation process at that time only produced about 14% alcohol content. The first historical record of distillation, which produced a higher alcohol content, was in ancient Greece – in approximately 200AD.
Around 700 years later, in the 8th Century…almost the 9th Century, the Persians began refining distillation techniques that they learned from the Egyptians. Traveling merchants then spread the “cheer” throughout Europe and to the Catholic Church – which resulted in Scotch and Irish whiskey.
Then, Eastern Europeans learned that when you remove as much water as possible from this fermented favorite, you are left with mostly alcohol…yaaaaay! Their cold, harsh winters allowed them to freeze the vodka and easily separate the water from alcohol within it – giving birth to the more potent vodka we know today. The name was actually derived from the Russian word “voda,” which means water.
Today, vodka claims at least 20% of the market in the United States and is considered one of the most popular alcoholic drinks worldwide.