Whether you are running a bar or entertaining some friends at home, you want your guests to have the best time possible. Of course, enjoying a few drinks can be a big part of that, but it is important for you as host to be able to help your guests to avoid overdoing it.
The origins of vodka date back at least to the 11th century, and the honour of being the first nation to distil vodka is claimed by both Russia and Poland.
Where the whisk(e)y family matured grain spirits in oak to add character and allow time to remove the rough edges, vodka took a different route; with multiple distillations and filtrations to create the purest spirit that could be obtained.
But pure doesn’t mean tasteless, and European vodkas have always prided themselves on displaying the essential character of their raw materials. The different vodka traditions from each region have subtly different styles, based mainly on their chosen raw material: Vodka’s essential neutrality has led to it being used as the base for a massive range of cocktails. For the delicate and subtle Vodka Martini, you certainly need to use a vodka with some character; the same may not necessarily be said for the Sea Breeze, the Moscow Mule or the Woo-Woo.
Perhaps the most famous vodka cocktail, remembering back to the days before the ubiquitous Mojito, was the Cosmopolitan. It’s the cocktail that taught a generation of mixologists the glamour and respect that could be commanded behind the bar. Shaken up, vividly coloured, served straight up with a flaming twist, and deliciously tangy but dangerously strong, it’s not difficult to see why the Cosmo was such a hit with the ladies, and making it such a hit for the barmen.