1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vodka

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VODKA, Vodki or Wodky, the Russian national spirituous beverage. Originally vodka was made almost entirely from rye, barley malt to the extent of 15 to 20% being used to effect saccharification (see Spirits ), but at the present day potatoes and maize are the staple raw materials from which this spirit is manufactured, and, as a rule, green rye malt is now used instead of barley. The distillation is conducted by means of live steam in a double still of the “patent” type. Vodka as manufactured contains from 90 to 96% of alcohol, but it is diluted, previous to retailing, to a strength of 60 to 40%. It is illegal to sell it with less than 40% of alcohol.