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“There are only two absolutes in life: friends and vodka. And the best times usually involve both” – Unknown
For those who don’t know, yesterday (October 4th) was National Vodka Day. This famous drink is considered as the national drink of Russia, Poland, Sweden, Finland and many other countries. Its popularity has spread across the globe and it is now the widely consumed hard liquor in the United States because its neutral taste allows it be mixed with different drinks such as juices, sodas and even energy drinks to name a few. Moreover, it is also very interesting to know that despite its intoxicating tendencies, the smell does not stick to your breath.
Vodka is made of ethanol, water and other ingredients such as potatoes, beets, molasses, sugar cane, grains and fruits. These ingredients are fermented and then it goes through multiple distillation processes to remove impurities. The procedures may differ depending on the brewery, but charcoal is the most common filter as it removes unpleasant tastes and harmful chemicals. Nowadays brewers prefer to create pure vodka instead of masking the impurities with various flavors.
This drink has a magical power. It strengthens the weak, and revives those who have fainted. Those tired after work and physical activity can return their life forces by this drink much sooner than by nourishment. … It works as a diuretic, an appetizer, an antitoxin..
— Carolus Linnaeus, Vodka in the Hands of a Philosopher
Beyond being an alcoholic beverage, vodka has other uses. It was once marketed for medicinal purposes and called aqua vitae or “water of life”. This started when alchemists from the medieval ages experimented with minerals and different kinds of produce to find an elixir that will grant eternal youth.
Back in the 17th century they believed that this magical drink gave them strength, energy, vitality and happiness (which are all side effects of being drunk as we all know). The Absolut vodka website says that “it was a medicine that cured everything from colic to plague”. It served as an antiseptic, anesthetic and antibiotic too. Vodka was used to clean wounds and given to patients before and after surgical procedures.
Nowadays vodka is often taken as a drink or used for cooking. Surprisingly, it also has household uses. It can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner for removing odors, stains, fighting molds and mildew. I would suggest that you use the cheap type of course. I don’t think you’d enjoy using Belvedere, Absolut or Grey Goose to scrub your floors right?
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I personally use vodka for cooking especially when I prepare seafood, since it removes the “fishy” taste thus making the food more aromatic. Family and friends often call these dishes “drunken seafood”. Vodka penne or spicy sausage and penne pasta are the most common recipes that use this ingredient, but there are others such as vodka lemon chicken and even vodka tiramisu.
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As we all know alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation because too much can lead to accidents or health problems. With this in mind, let us toast to this brilliant crystal clear drink that has given us great drinks, great food and great times despite the hangovers. What a good excuse to celebrate and have a martini or my favorite, vodka cranberry. Cheers to drinking, cooking and eating with vodka today!