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VODKA - Versatile and Spirited

Updated on April 22, 2013


Vodka – водка - Wódka is made by a process called distillation. Wheat grain, rye, sugar cane or potatoes (other grains or sugar rich plants) are heated until the starch is extracted and converted to sugar. The resulting ‘mash’ is fermented, heated to a very high temperature and distilled many times until all of the spirit has been extracted. The more times distillation takes place; the higher the proof of spirit. Finally the vodka is filtered through charcoal and water is added to decrease the alcohol content. The spirit is then bottled and ready for sale

Blue Mosque - former Constantinople
Blue Mosque - former Constantinople | Source

How did Vodka originate?

Legend has it that in the late 9th Century, some Russian monks from the monastery of Chudov visited Constantinople and sampled a spirit made of grapes. They loved it so much that they made a similar drink distilled from grain as they had no grapes. This was aqua vitae which is believed to be the forerunner of the vodka of today. There are various versions of this story.

Poland also stakes a claim to being the first producers of the spirit in the 8th Century.

Originally Vodka was used for medicinal purposes as it was believed to cure many illnesses including the ‘Plague’. Eventually it was concluded that there was not much value in it as a medicine and drinking it for social reasons took over.

Appletini | Source
Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary | Source
Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon | Source

Versatile & Spirited


Its lack of discernible taste (apart from the flavoured types) makes vodka an excellent base for a multitude of drinks and cocktails. Below are just a few recipes:

Apple Martini

2 oz vodka

1 oz apple schnapps

Apple slices

Mix in cocktail shaker with ice. Strain and pour into martini glasses, garnish with apple slices

Bloody Mary

3 fl oz tomato juice

1 ½ fl oz vodka

½ fl oz lemon juice

Dash Worcester sauce

Celery salt

Ground pepper

Chili sauce to taste

Celery stalk

Lemon or Lime Wedge

Put the liquid ingredients in a tall glass over ice cubes. Mix well. Add the seasonings to taste.Garnish with the lemon and/or lime wedge and celery stalk.

Blue Lagoon

1 fl oz Vodka


1 fl oz Blue Curaçao

Lemon Twist

Mix in shaker and serve over ice cubes in a tall glass garnished with a lemon twist

Cosmopolitan | Source
Harvey Wallbanger
Harvey Wallbanger | Source
Moscow Mule
Moscow Mule | Source


1.25 fl oz Vodka
0.25 fl oz Triple Sec
1 fl oz Cranberry Juice
1 Twist of Lemon

Shake all liquid ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist

Harvey Wallbanger

1 measure vodka
3 measures orange juice
Galliano® herbal liqueur to float

Orange twist


Shake the vodka and orange juice and pour over ice in a Collins glass. Carefully float a tablespoon, (or more, if you prefer) of Galliano Liqueur on top. Garnish with orange twist and cherry.

Moscow Mule

2 fl oz Vodka
2 fl oz Lime juice
8 fl oz Ginger ale

Lime wedge and mint leaves

Mix ingredients with ice. Serve in copper cup or glass garnished with lime wedge and mint leaves

Vodka Martini
Vodka Martini | Source
Woo Woo
Woo Woo | Source

Vodka Martini

1 ½ fl oz Vodka
¾ fl oz Dry Vermouth


Shake vodka and vermouth together with several ice cubes in a shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with olives and serve.

Woo Woo

1 ½ fl oz Peach Schnapps
1 ½ fl oz Vodka
3 ½ fl oz Cranberry Juice

Peach, lime or lemon slice


Pour all ingredients into a highball glass over ice cubes, stir, and serve garnished with a peach slice and cherry.

Lesser known uses of Vodka


* Underarm odours?

Use a spritz of vodka to freshen underarms of stale clothing.

* Stinky Feet?

Bathe feet in vodka



* Lipstick on your collar?

Dab with vodka before washing as normal

* Sticky label residue?

Rub with cloth soaked in vodka – Use only on non porous surfaces

*Dull Chrome?

Buff with soft cloth and a few drops of vodka. Also works on glass & porcelain

*Cat-sick on the carpet?

Clean up solids, spray stain with vodka and scrub. Blot with cloth

* Mould and Mildew?

Spray with vodka, leave for 5 minutes then scrub and rinse.

* Dull Jewellery?

For sparkly gemstones. Soak in vodka for 5 minutes then rinse

* Dull blunt razor?

Soak in a cup of vodka to prevent rust and sterilize the blades.



* Greasy Skin?

Use cotton wool soaked in vodka to blot oily areas.

* Stuck fast plaster?

Use vodka to soak off adhesive stuck to skin after removing plasters

* Insect Repellent?

Spray on liberally before going outside and keep re-applying

* Dull Hair?

Mix 2 fl oz vodka into 400ml bottle of shampoo for shiny lustrous hair



* Swimmers Ear?

Add a few drops of Vodka, allow to drain out after 30 seconds.

* Insect Bites/stings?

Dab with vodka to take out the itch and burn

* Sore Throat?

Gargle with warm water into which is mixed 1 tbsp of vodka

* Aches & Pains?

Soak lavender flowers in vodka for a couple of days in a warm place (sealed) then use the strained liquid (tincture) to treat strains and sprains.

* Jellyfish Sting?

Dab with neat vodka to alleviate the pain

* Nettle Sting?

Apply to the rash to lessen the prickling and itching

* Toothache?

Swish a mouthful of vodka around a painful tooth for a few minutes to numb the pain.

* Fever?

Bathe forehead, back and chest with a cloth soaked in vodka to reduce fever

© Susan Bailey 2013 All Rights Reserved


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    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks Marlene.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I was curious to see how versatile Vodka was and, wow... I am so surprised to see the many uses for it. It's interesting that monks liked it and started making it for themselves.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Joke Pinto, don't drink too much...

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Surely not Sue Bailey. It was just appreciation of the quality of content your have published.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Please don't become alcoholic on my account Pinto! Thanks for your comment.

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Sue Bailey! Really with this articles of yours my vodka consumption is going to increase manifolds. Very useful and nice detailing of this clear spirit.

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks Gypsy48 but don't blame me if you get a hangover! ;-)

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 4 years ago

      Interesting article, I didn't know vodka had so many uses. I will have to try a few of the cocktail recipes. They do look refreshing:)

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Thanks for your vote and share Suzie

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Sue,

      What a versatile alcohol Vodka is. As a drink I am not a fan, never have been but would only take it in a cocktail when "masked" by other ingredients. As you say it has little smell. It is perfect for homemade perfume making and mouthwash and love your list of alternative uses, so handy to know! We have a bottle in the freezer that is never used as a drink as neither of us like it or drink it but it is useful for so many things other than drinking. Thanks for this comprehensive list and background info, voting up+++++ shared !

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 4 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      Me either till I started researching Deborah. Thanks

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

      I had no idea vodka had so many uses. Interesting!

    • DIYmommy profile image

      Julie 4 years ago

      I would have never guessed that vodka had such a wide plethora of other uses and applications. For now, though, I think I'll stick to the drinks! I can't wait to give some of those drinks a try! Thank you for the great hub.