Vodka: A Cocktail Bar Classic

It’s a staple spirit known for its strong alcohol content, but the origins of vodka are often disputed. While we know it as a Russian symbol, how did it get to that stage, and where did it come from?

A Russian Remedy

The middle ages saw the use of vodka for medicinal purposes after it was produced from potatoes. Experts believe it was used in Russia as a remedy to fight cold weather after drinking. The word originates the Russian from water, ‘Voda’, while in Poland the term refers to any white distilled drink.

While some believe it was first made in Russia at the end of the 9th Century, the oldest distillery making vodka opened 200 years later in a Russian town named Khylnovsk. However it may have been distilled prior to this in Poland in the 8th Century, but some argue this was a distillation of wine and not vodka. Between Russia and Scandanavia, vodka was regularly exported as people wanted a taste of the spirit.

It’s popularity grew significantly during the Russian revolution in 1917 where Russians escaped to Europe and brought their ‘Voda’ with them. It was recognised worldwide as an alcoholic staple during the Second World War.


Vodka is noticed as one of the strongest spirits today. While it used to be made from potatoes, it’s common now to use fermented products such as grapes. Most common vodkas have an abv of around 40% however Polish Vodka can reach an eye watering 80%.

Bars worldwide today stock vodka for its versatility; its simplistic flavour means it is useful in a variety of cocktails. One vodka favourite of ours at Cocktail Bar Hire honours its origins; The White Russian. Made with Vodka, Kahlúa and cream, the coffee cocktail is a creamy classic.

Cocktail Bar Hire

Fans of vodka will be pleased to know we offer bespoke cocktail bars for a range of events. Our bartenders are expertly skilled to create your favourite beverage. Find out more today to see what great bars we have to offer!

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