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Colourless distilled liquor of neutral spirits usually made from a grain mash (generally rye or wheat). Potato vodka originated in Russia in the 14th century. Today most vodka is distilled from cereal grains. It is highly neutral, most flavouring substances having been eliminated during distillation and filtration, the latter process employing charcoal purifiers. Distilled water is usually added before bottling in order to lower alcohol content to 40–43% by volume (80–86 proof). Vodka is not aged. It is traditionally consumed unmixed and chilled, in small glasses; in the U.S. and elsewhere, it is often used in mixed drinks.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on vodka, visit Britannica.com.