This Sunday is International Vodka Day. Below we will tell you about vodka and its origins as well as give you some French vodka suggestions and even a cocktail recipe or two. Happy International Vodka Day!
The word “vodka” first appeared in Eastern European writing in the 1400s. It was, and remains, a national drink of sorts in Russia and Poland for many a century, with each of the countries claiming it was their country that invented vodka. It was only in the 1800s that Western European countries started to make their own vodkas.
What does the word vodka mean?
The word “vodka” is said to come from the slavic word “voda” which means water. The reason vodka is named after water is because vodka is generally made up of ethanol and water.
How is vodka made?
What constitutes vodka has been defined by the European Union. In accordance with regulation No 110/2008 of the European Parliament and European Council of 15 January 2008:
“Vodka is a spirit drink produced from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin obtained following fermentation with yeast from either:
(i) potatoes and/or cereals, or
(ii) other agricultural raw materials,
distilled and/or rectified so that the organoleptic characteristics of the raw materials used and by-products formed in fermentation are selectively reduced.
This process may be followed by redistillation and/or treatment with appropriate processing aids, including treatment with activated charcoal, to give it special organoleptic characteristics.”
The minimum alcoholic strength by volume of vodka under this regulation is 37.5 %.
Some famous French vodkas
You may well have heard of Grey Goose which is most likely France’s most well-known vodka internationally. Grey Goose is made from soft winter wheat grown in Picardy, France and water from natural springs filtered through champagne limestone in Cognac. While it is made from wheat, it is gluten-free as distillation removes gluten from the final product.
The name Cîroc Vodka may also be familiar. Perhaps you didn’t know it was French – after all the name doesn’t give that away. Ciroc, unlike Grey Goose, is not made from grain but rather from French grapes, namely Ugni blanc and Mauzac blanc. You may remember Sean “Diddy” Coombs promoting the vodka brand in the early 2000s.
Coming along a little later than Cîroc Vodka is Cobalte, a vodka made exclusively from champagne grapes not used by champagne makers: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
French vodka recommendations for International Vodka Day
We asked a few French spirits importers to recommend some French vodkas for International Vodka Day and to tell us how they would drink them.
Emmanuel Conde, Ambassador NSW & TAS at Cerbaco tells us his recommendations for International Vodka Day
Does Cerbaco sell any French vodkas?
Grey Goose revolutionised the market 10 or so years ago.
Yes, because France has everything needed to produce high quality vodka:
- raw materials, notably wheat, which is world-renowned;
- savoir-faire in distillation and control of alcohol;
- art de vivre.
Which French vodkas do you recommend?
At Cerbaco, we import two brands of French vodkas:
- NAUD, the wonderful “Noble and Unusual Distillery” of the Naud family.
- SUMMUM, a Franco-Russian collaboration, located in Cognac.
How are these vodkas different to the more well known vodkas?
Our two vodkas offer, above all, a beautiful texture in which the balance between aromas, tastes and alcohol is perfectly managed.
The SUMMUM range is available in lemon and Espelette pepper, with no other addition than citrus or the famous spice.
How do you drink them? Do you have any cocktail recipes to share?
Cocktails allows our vodkas to express themselves at their best:
- Moscow Mule with the alcohol-free beer Pimento,
- White Russian for a creamy cocktail, or
- Espresso Martini with the coffee liqueur Massenez d’Alsace.
Grégoire Bertaud, Founder & Director of Noble Spirits speaks to us about French vodka for International Vodka Day.
Which French vodkas do you recommend for International Vodka Day?
FAIR Vodka from Cognac, South-West of France.
It is made out of organic Fairtrade Certified quinoa seeds which makes it very silky and elegant. The production is quite interesting as the master Philippe Laclie is using a technique used in the whisky production.
How do you drink it? Do you have a cocktail recipe to share?
I would recommend it with soda water or in this really nice cocktail:
The watermelon quinoa martini:
30ml FAIR Quinoa Vodka
15ml FAIR Goji
15ml Vanilla syrup
30ml Watermelon juice
15ml Lemon juice
Garnish with Watermelon slice
Method: Shake and fine strain
Where can we buy it?
You can find it in selected Dan Murphy’s stores or simply at Grégoire’s store The Drink Hive in Rosebery, NSW.
We also asked Adelaide’s beautiful art-deco inspired The Playford Hotel to share a vodka based cocktail for International Vodka Day.
Vodka, egg white, triple sec and bitters
How will you be drinking your French vodka for International Vodka Day this Sunday?
Do you like spirits?
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