Vodka is one of the most sought-after and also oldest spirits worldwide. In the production of vodka, the ultimate goal is to achieve the clearest possible vodka (even the spelling wodka is possible). Nevertheless a variety of tastes is possible, which we also value in our vodka shop.
Choose your favorite vodka from over 300 different vodkas in our vodka shop and order conveniently online. At Expert24 you find many well-known brands like Absolut, Ciroc, and Trojka but also exotics like Mamont, Bong and Pravda.
History of Vodka
The origins of the clear water go back to the 9th century, so vodka would be much older than rum or whisky. However, this cannot be documented in writing and the first official mention was in 1405 in the Kingdom of Poland. But the Russians also claim to be the inventors of vodka. But the production was documented in writing only after the Poles.
The final authorship leaves some questions unanswered and it is likely that the vodka production only established itself and developed further over time. This process most likely took place in several regions simultaneously. Today you can find vodka all over the world.
Development of Russian Vodka
The Russians recognized the enormous sales potential of vodka very early on and imposed a monopoly on production. Compared to beer, wine or kvass (a light alcoholic drink made from fermented bread), vodka was not integrated into people's daily life and religion. Nevertheless, its consumption spread rapidly over time. Under Ivan the Terrible, the first drinking houses - so-called kabaks - were opened in Moscow in 1552 to toast in his honor. Moreover, these houses were also popular among philistines, who asked for protection - even from authorities - until they had squandered their last belongings there. Due to the moderate success, the state monopoly on production was subsequently completely abolished by Peter the Great. After that, production increased noticeably.
The marriage of Russian vodka began in 1765 under the reign of Catherine the Great. It allowed the production of vodka for the state distilleries on the one hand, and the landed gentry for their own use and their peasantry on the other. The nobility - where money was not an issue - burned the best grain while the peasants had to be satisfied with inferior grain for their daily bread. The first taste experiments with various herbs and fruits were carried out and even small quantities were exported.
Despite the strict rules of production, vodka, in rather poor quality, was also distilled black. In combination with cheaply produced spirits from abroad, Russian producers had to lower their prices, and vodka quality suffered as a result. The state reacted to this unfortunate situation in 1890 with a renewed monopoly on the production of spirits. A "Vodka Committee" was founded to ensure the state vodka quality and standardized production processes were introduced.
Vodka and politics
Low quality vodka continued to be produced in black distilleries, alcohol addiction was widespread and after the first Russian revolution this problem was even raised in parliament. As a result, all liquor stores were closed. With the October Revolution under Lenin, it was planned to put a strict end to alcohol consumption under the motto "dictatorship of sobriety". But the desired effect of the ban failed to materialize, and with Lenin's death, alcohol production and consumption rose sharply.
Well-known producers, such as Smirnov and Gorbachev, had already set themselves off to the West before that. With the beginning of the war, the strict ban developed in the opposite direction: Starting in 1940, fighting soldiers were given a daily ration of vodka to increase their willingness to fight and sacrifice. After the war was won, 15 million people in the Soviet Union were addicted to alcohol.
A nationwide reduction in production capacity and the destruction of many families were long-term consequences. As a result, the government decided on abstinence campaigns. As a result, people began to drink self-burned hooch and brake fluid, which was very harmful to their health. Between 1985 and 1991, an estimated 50,000 people died as a result of alcohol consumption! This anti-alcohol policy is even said to be partly responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union. In times of war and the arms race, the income from vodka production, which had previously made up to 30% of the state budget, was missing.
After the lifting of the ban on alcohol, Western companies bought up Russian companies that had produced vodka and thus exerted a significant influence on the taste and drinking culture of vodka.