Polish vodka

Poland - the legitimate birthplace of vodka.

The earliest written reference to vodka is found in a Polish manuscript from 1405. It is therefore widely believed that vodka originated in Poland. The Polish word for vodka is ’wódka’, and its literal translation is ’little water’. It is the diminutive form of ’woda’ which means ’water’ (in Polish “w” is pronouncedas a “v”). In Poland, commercial distillation began at the end of the 16th century, with Poznan established as a production centre by 1580. In the 17th and 18th centuries, country estates, manor houses and monasteries had their own stills to produce vodka and rye was considered to yield the finest spirit. Atthis time the growing renown of Polish vodka meant that it was exported to the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Moldavia, Ukraine and the Black Sea region. In the late eighteenth and earlynineteenth centuries, the distilling industry continued to evolve. Distilleries specialized in producing spirits and flavouring them according to their own recipes. Today some of the distilleries operating in Poland, including WYBOROWA [Vee-bor-ova], are the direct descendents of this tradition.