Vodka Translates as ‘little water’ in both Polish and Russian. Any source of fermentable sugars can be used to make vodka.  Most cheap vodkas will have an unspecified mix of various sources, including cane and beet sugars.  Most quality brands are made from a specified grain and are chosen for their local suitability. Originally, most vodkas were flavoured to disguise the inadequacies of the distillation process and to enhance, with herbs and spices, the ‘medicinal’ qualities of the spirit.  Flavouring has now re-emerged as a growing category with a myriad of fruit flavours.  

The 1830’s saw the invention of the continuous or Coffey Still.  This led to the beginnings of a spirit pure enough to be recognized as vodka, today.  Most vodkas now come of the Still at c.96% ABV, the purest it is possible to achieve through distillation

The emergence of the process of filtration allowed further refinement in taste and character and many brands undergo some filtration.