What is the most versatile liquor?
Everyone has their favorite liquor. Some people are diehard whisky lovers, while others think tequila is the best drink on the planet. There are people who like their liquor straight up or on the rocks, and others who are set on always having a mixed drink.
The point is, everyone has their go-to favorite; the liquor they are loyal to. While there is definitely room for debate on which liquor is the best, there’s little room for debate on which liquor is the most versatile. This one type of liquor consistently sees the best sales year after year.
If you guess vodka, you guessed right. Vodka originally was served completely on its own, either poured from a bottle that’s kept in the freezer or splashed over ice. Either way, it can be sipped slowly and enjoyed for its unique flavors. However, that’s not how most people drink it in today’s world.
These days, people tend to drink vodka as a shot or in a mixed drink, rather than on its own. This is why it’s so versatile: you can have it any way you like. It pairs well with virtually any sort of flavoring, which is why it’s a staple in so many classic cocktails (vodka martini, vodka tonic, Moscow mule, etc.) and is pretty much the base of every shot you order besides tequila.
And, if you prefer it the traditional way, you can sip on a smooth vodka that’s ice cold. No matter how you like it served and no matter what kind of drinks you like, vodka is just an overall versatile and reliable liquor.
What Is The History Of Vodka?
The origin of vodka is still debated to this day, with Poland, Russia, and Sweden all laying claims to its creation. Regardless, those three countries were instrumental in developing vodka into the liquor it is today.
Vodka has been around since the Middle Ages. Originally, it was distilled from potatoes and used medicinally up until around the 1300s, at which point it began to develop into something you could drink for enjoyment.
In the 1500s, Russian tsar Ivan the Terrible started many distillery taverns throughout the country but restricted the average person from producing vodka on their own. In contrast, the king of Poland allowed anyone in the country to make vodka, which lead to many families starting their own brands.
Surprisingly, most Americans didn’t know about vodka until around the 1930s and they typically associated it with Slavic countries. Eventually, after World War II, it became a popular type of alcohol throughout the United States.
Today it can be made from potatoes, wheat, corn, cereals, and grapes, although it can technically be made from anything that is fermentable.
How Is Vodka Made?
Vodka was originally made from potatoes (and it still often is today), but there are now many brands that use grains like barley, rye, and wheat. It can be made from fruits as well, but that is not as common.
Once the grain or fruit used is broken down, the starch can be turned into sugar. It must then be heated to prevent bacteria from growing. It then goes into the fermentation process when yeast is added. Finally, it is distilled and water is added.
What Are Some Of The Best Vodka Brands?
While everyone has an opinion on what they think is great in terms of brand, a few brands are widely regarded as the best of the best when it comes to vodka. That said, it really does come down to personal preference because there are so many factors that you can use to judge a vodka.
Some people are looking purely at the taste, while others measure texture, and still more look at its ingredients and its distillation process. Whatever you judge your vodka on, these are some of the best brands in the US that are consistently praised across the board:
- Tito’s is a tried and true American favorite. It’s been around since the 90s and originated in Austin, Texas. It might be most well-known for being one of the first gluten-free vodkas, making it the perfect option no matter your dietary restrictions.
- Grey Goose is premium French vodka. It’s crafted with wheat and spring water straight from France. It was created in the 90s and has become synonymous with bottle service at nightclubs around the world.
- Smirnoff was founded in Russia in the 1800s. It’s a classic vodka that will never let you down. It’s perfect for sipping on the rocks or ice-cold straight from your freezer (the traditional way), but it works well in a mixed drink as well. Be sure to use it anytime you make a Moscow Mule, considering the drink was invented by Smirnoff.
- Born & Bred is an American Craft vodka. It’s made from Idaho potatoes and glacial water. This is actor Channing Tatum’s brand, and he takes pride in the fact that it’s 20 times distilled, making for one incredibly smooth vodka.
What Drinks Can You Make Using Vodka?
Fortunately for all you mixed drink lovers out there, there are so many delicious cocktail recipes that use vodka. There’s really no limit to how creative you can get with vodka drinks. There are so many with different flavors and profiles, from smooth to silky to creamy. See below for our favorite cocktail recipes that use vodka.
- Bloody Mary: This is a staple you can find on any brunch menu. For the drink itself, you’ll just need vodka, tomato juice, and Worshteshire sauce. The fun part comes in when you’re picking your toppings. You can add celery sticks, pickles, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or hot sauce, shrimp, bacon, or olives. Get creative and pile on your favorites.
- Classic Martini: This is one of the most simple and classic drink recipes around. You need three ingredients: vodka, dry vermouth, and a garnish of your choice (typically a lemon peel or olives). Martinis are great because you can experiment with the flavors. From green apple to pomegranate to key lime pie, don’t be afraid to try out something unique.
- White Russian: For something different and daring, this is the drink to try. You need vodka, Kahlua, and cream. Alternatively, you can make it without the Kahlua, but it gives the drink a little kick.
- The Cape Codder (or as the young people at the bar call it, a “vodka cran”): This drink is simple, refreshing, and tart all at the same time. You need vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice, and a lime wedge. You can’t go wrong.
- Moscow Mule: Smirnoff takes all the credit for this drink which they invented in 1941, and it’s been a favorite ever since. Don’t worry though, any vodka you like will do just fine. To make it you will need vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and a lime wedge for a garnish.
- Salty Dog: For the grapefruit lovers out there, this one’s for you. Just combine vodka and grapefruit juice, and rim the glass with salt and a lime wedge.
- Kamikaze: Not exactly a drink (although it could be), this shot is one of the most popular shots ordered at bars. You’ll need vodka, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Cheers!
Vodka is the most versatile liquor out there, hands down. It can be served any way you want, from a refreshing sip on the rocks to a fruity cocktail to a rapid-fire shot. This popular booze has been around for centuries and actually originated in the Middle Ages when it was first used medicinally. That just goes to show how much times have changed!
When you’re looking to buy vodka, some of the best brands include Tito’s and Grey Goose, but there are literally hundreds of brands out there for you to try. And if sipping straight isn’t how you want to go, there are many classic cocktails that contain vodka. It continues to be one of the highest-selling liquors to this day.