Vodka is a clear, unaged spirit that is often considered to be completely neutral – without distinct characteristics, flavour, colour, or aroma. Source ingredients can range from grains such as rye and wheat, to potatoes, grapes, and sugarcane. Vodka is distilled to 190 proof or higher, before being reduced to a bottling strength of around 80 proof or 40% abv (alcohol by volume). Vodka is often processed after distillation with charcoal filtering. This high proof distillation and subsequent filtration gives vodka its neutral flavour characteristic.
The origin of vodka is difficult to pinpoint, but it is often associated with Poland or Russia since at least the 12th century.