Who Really Invented Vodka?
Travel with Igor Berglin to the frontlines of the Vodka Wars where he tries to discover who really invented this popular drink and finds out that the strained relationship between Russia and Poland can be salvaged by a bottle.
In the fall of 1977, Poland instigated a trade war with Russia over the right to produce Vodka. This was the first time Poland tried to claim the drink as its own, but it would not be the last.
Most people see Vodka only as something that’s put into a cocktail. But in Russia and Poland, it’s much more than a “good time” juice. These two nations have been fighting over who invented the drink for years. Apparently for them it’s a matter of national pride and reason enough to justify going to war.
In Warsaw, Berglin tries to find out if Vodka was originally a Polish word. His quest leads him to flip through the pages of a book published in 1693. In this book he finds reference to “gorzalka” an old Polish word that means “something bitter and spicy”.
Travelling some more, Berglin arrives in Krakow. Here he finds books printed in 1543 where mention is made of the medicinal value of gorzalka. Could this be prood that the Polish are the original inventors of Vodka?