It is believed that vodka originated in the XII century in the grain growing region that now embraces Poland, Belarus, Ukaraine and Western Russia; areas that for centuries were a part of Poland. The first written record of vodka in Poland dates to 1405 in the Sandomierz Court Registry. Made originally for medical purposes, this anesthetic and disinfectant was initially distilled from rye. It was not until the middle XIV century that vodka was discovered to have intoxicating effects. The etymology of 'vodka' is derived from Polish "wódka", diminutive for "woda" (water).
This clear spirit was primarily made from rye, wheat, barley and oats until the end of the 18th century when potatoes were introduced as a practical way of distilling vodka. To develop the aroma and taste the seeds of grasses, herbs, shoots, flowers and fruits were added.
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