• Ira Bliznets

Russian Vodka’s birthday



Russian vodka is not only an alcoholic drink but is a world cultural phenomenon. Many people take vodka as one of the basic elements of Russian everyday life, but we should be honest to say it is not. Though it is still one of the most popular drinks on Russian table whether it is set for a joyful celebration of birthday or wedding or sad commemoration of the dead.

The name of this Russian drink probably originates from Polish and is a diminutive word for water. In our country it was initially named “bread wine” as it was frequently made of rye, wheat or barley. But the true etymology of this drink’s name is still unknown. As well as the story of how and when this drink appeared in Russia. Some sources say that white bread wine was brought to Russia from Scandinavia in 16th century. Some historians say there are official documents of Sandomir voivodship that mention this drink in the scripts of 1405, others think that it was brought to Russia from Genoa back in 14th century. But there is also information that such strong alcoholic drinks existed in Rus in 11-12th centuries already. But there were different kinds of it - 38, 45 and even 56 degrees. Nowadays there are even stronger versions. Though classical (etalon) vodka is 40 degrees, thanks for reasonable explanation of Mendeleyev.


The fact that established the informal date of Vodka's birthday celebration was the presentation of Dmitry Mendeleyev's famous doctor's dissertation "About compound of spirit and water" on January 31, 1865. Mendeleyev spent two years working on the thesis. Today his final paper is preserved at the museum of this outstanding scientist at the State University of Saint Petersburg.

The scientist's main goal was to study the specific weights of various spirit-water mixtures depending on their concentration and temperature. In other words, Mendeleyev studied the quality of mixtures starting from waterless spirit to 0% water fluid. The result showed that the optimal proportion of the mixture would mean 33,4 weight percents or 40 volume %. But this study did not mention a word about physiological or biological effect of compounds once interacting with a live organism.

And even if celebrating this famous drink's birthday one should remember that alcohol can cause severe damage for one's health. At least you should remember that 45 grams of strong alcohol kill 1000 neurons in human brain.


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