Vodka is distilled from the fermented products of sugary substances. It may be made from grains, potatoes or fruits.
In 2007, the European Union defined vodka as a spirit distilled from any agricultural product; however the EU requires special labeling if the vodka is made from anything other than grains or potatoes.
Vodka may be distilled from rye, wheat, soy or corn, molasses, sugar beets or grapes. Additional ingredients include malt meal, water and yeast. Vodka is distilled to a high alcohol content which essentially removes any specific flavor other than optional flavor additives which come into the process towards the end.
It is thought that vodka originated in Eastern Europe in the 14th century. Modern vodka is typically distilled to 80 proof or 40 percent alcohol.