Vodka has its roots in the Russian word voda, which means "water." Allegedly first produced in Russia in the 9th century (although Russia and Poland have a fierce rivalry over who actually invented vodka), it's no wonder this odorless, flavorless beverage is so closely associated with Eastern Europe. The production and consumption of vodka proliferated in the 19th century, allegedly due to the presence of Russian soldiers throughout Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. Just a couple centuries later, vodka is now the most widely consumed spirit in the world—quite the accomplishment! On Oct. 4, we raise our shot glasses in celebration of National Vodka Day.
Why We Love National Vodka Day
1. Vodka Is a Blank Canvas
Because it is tasteless, colorless, and odorless, vodka makes it possible for you to create any drinking experience you want. Want something fruity? Add cranberry juice. Prefer a savory experience? Mix up a Bloody Mary. Want to have the true Russian experience? Drink it straight and chase it with a crisp pickle. Za zdorovye!
2. Vodka Is Way More Than Just a Drink
Vodka is most popular for its inebriating properties, but it is much more versatile than it gets credit for. Vodka can be used to treat jelly fish stings and poison ivy, to repel bugs, to clean your windows, to make your hair shiny, to keep your flowers looking fresh, and much, much more.
3. Vodka Helps Heal Wounds and Is a Great Anesthetic
Because of its high alcohol content, vodka can be used to prevent microbial infections on wounds. In Russian folklore, vodka has been used to cure a wide variety of ailments, ranging from headaches to hangovers. Got a toothache? Swish a little vodka around in your mouth (and swallow it, if you want!).
How to Celebrate National Vodka Day
1. Infuse Your Own Flavored Vodka
Cocktails aren’t just for the bar. You can make a delicious concoction right at home in your pajamas! To create a vodka infusion, all you need is a few ingredients (such as vanilla and citrus fruit), a bottle of cheap vodka, a mason jar, and the patience to wait between three and seven days.
2. Host a DIY Bloody Mary Party
Invite your friends over for a fun cocktail-making party starring… the Bloody Mary. Set up a bar with all the ingredients your guests need to unleash their drunken creativity: tomato juice, lemon juice, celery sticks, hot sauce, peppers, olives, horseradish, and of course, plenty of vodka.
3. Tour a Vodka Distillery
Each U.S. state houses its own unique vodka distilleries—Kansas produces vodka from wheat, while you can find potato-based vodka in Maine. Treat yourself and your friends to a vodka distillery tour, followed by a vodka tasting. Don’t forget to bring along a designated driver (that poor soul!).