Vodka. It’s the Russian national beverage, and today many Americans would gladly claim it to be theirs just as well. Though virtually tasteless by design, this most neutral of all neutral spirits is not only a beverage worthy of drinking by itself neat (straight) or on the rocks, but is widely becoming the spirit of choice to use as a mixer in its infinite flavored varieties available at your local liquor store (though many would admit that the best flavored vodkas are actually made at home using peppers, vanilla beans, or anything else you’d like to use to add a hint of flavor to your vodka).
In 60′s it was cited by Patrick Gavin Duffy as a spirit which “was quickly gaining popularity” in America, andin the few decades that have lapsed between then and now, vodka is arguably the most popular drink in the country. Cocktails once calling for gin default instead to use the watery stuff, and amazingly it has won its following off of what the government officially describes as “neutral spirits, so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or color.”
So how is it, exactly, that a spirit lacking such definitive characteristics manages to elevate itself to what may be the world’s most popular liquor?