Vodka is made from anything that can be fermented including fruit and potatoes, but nowadays is chiefly made from cereal grains. To improve its viscosity, often small amounts of citric acid, honey/sugar or glycerine are added. Because of its neutral taste, you can drink vodka with mixers and/or ice. It's also a popular ingredient in classic cocktails like Bloody Mary and Cosmopolitan.
The Leader in the Field. This vodka, owned by the British company Diageo, is sold in more than 130 countries and is available in 35 different flavours. Made from corn, this brand was created in 19th century Russia by P.A.Smirnov. He was the first to develop a method of filtering the spirit through charcoal, and the company still uses a 10-stage traditional filtration process.
Made with Pure Well Water. Absolut was developed in 1879 in Sweden by L. Olsson Smith, who used a continuous distillation method. It is still produced in his birthplace, Ahus, using winter wheat (grown in snow-covered fields which hardens the grain) and local well water which is protected from impurities. When it was launched in 1979, the distinctive bottle was based on an antique medicine bottle.
Made with Glacial Water. Established in 1998, this is one of the newest vodka brands on the market. The location of the distillery in St Petersburg is in order to be near its raw ingredients. It is made from winter grain cultivated on the Steppes of Russia and water from Lake Ladoga which is of glacial origin and therefore has fewer impurities.
A Scottish Vodka. Although Scotland is best-known for its production of fine whisky, vodka is made by the Catrine distillery located in Ayrshire. The Glen's brand was first created in 1972, and has since developed a loyal following. This is partly because it is made from sugar beet rather than grains, and this subtly changes its taste.
A Revolution in the Taste of Vodka . Since 1986 and the launch of Absolut Peppar, this company has developed a range of flavoured vodkas made to the same exacting distillation and filtration standards as the original. All their flavoured vodkas are made without adding sugar. You can drink them with ice to savour the distinctive flavours or as cocktail ingredients.
A UK Triple-Distilled Spirit. Originally made in the Grenall distillery in Warrington, the production of this vodka was transferred to Glasgow when it was purchased by Whyte & MacKay in 1990. It is made from 100% grains and is charcoal-filtered. Apart from the classic vodka, it's also available in 2 flavours.
The First Designer Vodka. Originally state-owned by Alko, Finlandia is now American although still produced in its native country. The production of this vodka is a two-part process. Distillation takes place in the village of Koskenkorva from locally-grown barley. Then the grain spirit is transported to a village outside Helsinki where Rajamaki spring water is added. At its launch on the American market in 1970, it was the first designer vodka.
Grain-based Vodka from Liverpool. The Red Square brand was acquired by Halewood International in 1991 and continues to be produced in Merseyside. The main ingredient is 100% cereal, and it is distilled 7 times and triple-filtered during its production. Apart from the classic vodka, Red Square is also available in 7 other flavours.
A French Spirit Created by a Cellar Master. Grey Goose was purchased in 2004 by Bacardi from its creator, S. Frank. This vodka is 100% French though more popular outside the country. The soft winter wheat used in its production is cultivated in the Picardy region of North France. The distillate is then sent to the Cognac area where Gensac spring water (stripped of its mineral content) is added.