Vodka: How a Colorless, Odorless, Flavorless Spirit Conquered America

Victorino Matus

It begun as toxic rotgut in Medieval Russia—Ivan the poor beloved it, Peter the good loved it—but this grain alcohol “without designated personality, aroma, style, or colour” has develop into our uncontested king of spirits. Over 1000 manufacturers struggle for industry percentage, shelved in glass skulls, Tommy weapons, bulletproof bottles; flavored with pears, currants, chipotle; or quintuple distilled through Donald Trump. however it wasn’t consistently therefore. For two hundred years, the US drank the brown stuff, which gave us Colonial rumrunners, the Whiskey uprising, and Bourbon County, Kentucky. So how did Russia’s “little water,” initially a medieval rotgut drugs, unseat America’s favourite hooch? Vic Matus takes us on a massive visible trip from vodka’s humble American origins in a Depression-era Connecticut factory—using the family members recipe from a negative Russian exile in France named Vladimir Smirnov—through its upward push to glamour and repute by the hands of James Bond and the Nineties growth enshrined in Sex and the City’s gray Goose Cosmos to today’s craft distillery flow, which ways the drink as an paintings shape. You’ll see in transparent, intoxicating element how hippie tradition, women’s lib, and a fully inventive Swedish corporation all performed their half, remodeling the booze right into a prestige image. via 1975, the conflict had ended: Vodka formally grew to become our favourite spirit. at the present time, a 3rd of all cocktails ordered include it. final 12 months $20 billion in revenues poured in from greater than one hundred forty million gallons of the stuff. here's the crisply distilled, bracing tale of ways risk-taking marketers defied the chances and grew to become medieval medication right into a multibillion-dollar industry.

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