Most people think that vodka was invented by the Russians. From what I know, it originated around Poland some time in the 13th or 14th century. It was referred to as ‘hot wine’ or ‘burning wine’ (gorilka).
It wasn’t until nearly 100 years later that the word ‘vodka’ was used by the Russians. ‘Voda’ (the Russian word for ‘water’) was used to dilute excessively potent grain or bread-based alcohol. Because Russians loved the voda-distilled drink so much, they gave the word voda a standard grammatical twist to indicate affection and reverence. To do this, they added the suffix -ka to voda (adding -ka to a word or name in Russian is like turning Joe into Joey or Bill into Billy in English) and thus voda was renamed vodka.
Blah blah blah… long story short, vodka is popular all over the world. Personally, I had enough of it while living in Moscow. Portland-based Medoyeff, however, is really impressive.
I took this photo at the Medoyeff distillery today, where world-class vodka, gin and Scandinavian aqua vit are made.