Vodka is one of the most well-known and consumed beverages on the planet. The history of vodka began in 14th-century Russia, although countries such as China and Italy contest the idea that vodka first appeared on Russian territory. Nevertheless, most people associate vodka with Russia. According to historical sources, vodka was invented by the monk Isidor, a Greek who had settled in Moscow.
As initially it was made only from rye, barley, and wheat, vodka was first (and for several centuries) called “bread wine”, while its alcohol content was no higher than 60%. Vodka production per se did not develop until the 15th century. At the time, Tsar Ivan III gained monopoly over the entire “bread wine” production and started receiving a constant influx of money.
Ever since then, the profitability of this business continued to rise and Russia started exporting vodka to places such as Sweden and the Livonian lands. Once export began, locals were forbidden to acquire vodka and could only obtain it from taverns and inns, where it was sold in 12.3 l barrels.
The idea of a shot of vodka originates in Russia, when Peter the Great forced those who were late for parties to take a “punitive swig”. Unlike today, the “punitive swig” in Peter’s era came in a 1.5 l chalice, which was, of course, to be consumed neat, in one gulp.