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A medium vodka dry martini – with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred.
Ian Fleming

The word 'vodka' comes from the Slavic word for water 'voda'. The history of vodka is hotly debated - while the first documented production of vodka was in Russia at the end of the 9th century, Poland also lays claim to have begun distilling vodka earlier, in the 8th century.

Vodka is a pure distilled spirit commonly made from cereal grains like rye, barley and wheat, but it can also be made from potatoes and other agricultural products such as grapes and sugar beets. It is then charcoal filtered, rectified or distilled again to reduce levels of natural congeners and ensure a very clean taste. Vodka is often distilled at least three times, though some are distilled five or more times. After it has been distilled, vodka can be 'corrected' – can have certain additives added, such as sugar or citric acid, to soften its harshness.

Vodka is best served ice cold as it is viscous at ice-cold temperatures which leads to a better mouthfeel. Vodka may be sipped neat but it is usually mixed in cocktails.

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