by Patricia Herlihy
Reaktion Books, 2012
the word "vodka" derive from the Russian "voda," meaning water, or the
Polish "wodka," derived from "woda," or water? Historians from the two
countries will argue incessantly on the origins of the world's favorite
liquor, which almost certainly originated somewhere in Eastern Europe
during the 14th or 15th century.
This new volume in The Edible Series of Reaktion Books explores how a
rather unremarkable liquid -- pure alcohol distilled from grain --
became such a potent spirit, both culturally and economically. Once a
humble drink known only to Eastern Europeans, it is now the most
popular liquor in both the U.S. and Britain, and probably the world.
Written in an encylopedic tone, the book is thorough and effective, if
won the Cold War? Vodka.
Prior to the mid-1970s, vodka lagged well behind the whiskeys in the
market for spirits in the U.S. and most other Western nations.
Then came détente and President Richard Nixon's effort
to ease geo-political tensions with the Soviet Union.
President subsequently authorized his good friend Donald Kendall, the
Chief Executive Office of Pepsi-Cola, to do business with the Soviets,"
Patricia Herly explains.
"The American company agreed to help the Soviet government set up a
factory with the capacity to produce 74 million bottles of cola a year,
using Pepsi's syrup. The cash-strapped Soviets were allowed to pay in
"PepsiCo, in effect, became the sole American agents for the popular
Soviet-produced Stolichnaya Vodka, known widely simply as 'Stoli'...
Sales exploded. In 1975, for the first time in history, American vodka
surpassed bourbon to become the leading national liquor."
The Soviet Union ultimately collapsed in the 1990s, but the popularity
of vodka has continued undiminished.
Head Vodka Glasses and Bottle
Since vodka lacks
a distinctive taste, its branding is almost entirely marketing... and
Head vodka, in a skull-shaped bottle, refers to a legend that thirteen
crystal heads have been unearthed from the Yucatan to Tibet at various
times. Supposedly, the skulls emit positive energy, good will and
prosperity - properties the manufacturer would like consumers to
associate with Crystal Head, which is triple-filtered through polished
crystals known as Herkimer diamonds so the result is a pure 'spirit,'
free of adulterants.
Dan Akroyd, the Canadian actor, TV personality and screenwriter with a
strong belief in spiritualism, conceived the idea of this particular
vodka, and travels widely to support the $50 bottle.
A man walks into a bar and orders six
shots of vodka. He lines them up in a row and downs the first glass,
then the third glass and finally the fifth glass.
Then he stands up and starts to leave the bar.
“Excuse me,” says the bartender. “But you
of the glasses of vodka untouched.”
The man replies, “I know… My doctor says
to have the odd drink.”
have discovered The Fountain of Youth and it
looks a lot like vodka
Connery as James Bond prepares a Vodka Martini