National Vodka Day: 11 things you didn’t know about the spirit

Even vodka lovers will find these facts surprising, says Sam Wylie-Harris.

The bartender’s favourite, vodka doesn’t need any frills and can be sipped on its own, but has the va va voom to enhance a craft cocktail.

It’s quite rightly one of the most popular spirits in the world.

So in honour of National Vodka Day, we caught up with Dominic Limbrey, of DJ Limbrey Distilling, founder of D1 London Spirits and producers of D1 Potato Vodka (awarded a Master medal in the Ultra-Premium category ofThe Vodka Masters 2019) to find out some vivacious vodka facts…

1. Vodka was born in eastern Europe – although it’s still disputed to this day whether it was first produced in Russia or Poland.

2. The name ‘vodka’ comes from the Slavic word meaning water, ‘voda’.

3. Most modern vodka is still grain-based; potato-based vodka came about in the 16th century and can have a creamier taste and texture.

4. To this day, Russia remains one of the largest consumers of vodka in the world.

5. Most vodka has relatively no taste so it can be added to almost any beverage.

6. The Soviet government reportedly advised those working on the Chernobyl disaster to drink half a glass of vodka for every two hours in Chernobyl.

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7. Russia allowed its cosmonauts on its Mir space station to drink small amounts of vodka.

8. If your pet has accidentally consumed antifreeze, it is often said vodka can act as an antidote (definitely just seek professional medical advice though).

9. In 2019 the bestselling vodka cocktail in the world was the espresso martini, followed by the Moscow mule.

10. The espresso martini was invented by British bartender Dick Bradsell in the late 1980s when a model asked for something to wake and pep her up. And so the drink was born when he combined vodka, fresh espresso, coffee liqueur and sugar.

11. The average monthly vodka consumption per person in Russia is estimated to be around 17 shots.

D1 Potato Vodka, priced £35.99 (70cl) is available from D1 London Spirits.