Monday, June 10, 2013

Still looking for that perfect Father’s Day gift?

If you’re still looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for your dad, I have a suggestion for you.


Vodka is a distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol. The ethanol is produced by distilling fermented substances, such as grains, potatoes, or fruits. Although there are a wide variety of distilled spirits made in the world, vodka is by far the most popular beverage in that category, and the bulk of that consumption is in the former Eastern Bloc countries.

If you vary the recipe a bit, the end product becomes something called “moonshine” and it’s produced in a number of countries around the world. In America, it is often called “white lightning” because it is not aged, and has a high alcohol content.

The name “vodka” is a diminutive form of the Slavic word voda, or water, and the first production of the beverage itself goes as far back as the 9th Century in Russia, or even the 8th Century in Poland.

Not a lot of people are aware of the fact that vodka is responsible for the creation of the internet, but that’s a story for another time.

If you walk the aisles of any liquor department, you’ll find a dizzying selection of vodkas from a variety of places around the globe. In addition to “straight” vodka, most of the producers also have so many variations of flavored vodkas that I’d be afraid to count them all.

Vodka also is sold in a wide range of prices. The first “super premium” vodka was the Polish brand Belvedere, which was introduced in 1996.

The average retail price of Belvedere is $34 a bottle.

The French got into the “super premium” vodka class in 2004, when Grey Goose was first produced.

The average price of a fifth of Grey Goose is $30 a bottle.

One of my personal favorites is Absolut, a Swedish vodka that has been in production since 1879, but it wasn’t introduced to the global market until 1979. It would probably be considered a “premium” rather than an “super premium” brand, and it’s the third most popular brand of alcoholic spirits in the world, after Bacardi and Smirnoff.

The average retail price of a fifth of Absolut is $20.

In 2005, the New York Times did a blind tasting of 21 unflavored vodkas to determine which one had the best test. The list of participants included Grey Goose, Ketel One (from the Netherlands) and Absolut.

The winner was Smirnoff, a Russian vodka that was established in Moscow in the 1860’s, and it’s had a very interesting history since that time.

The average price of a fifth of Smirnoff Vodka is around $12.

You certainly free to spend as much as much as you want on your dad for Father’s Day, but do yourself (and him) a favor.

Buy him a bottle of Smirnoff. Just call it “the water of love”.

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