Vodka is a spirit that was virtually unknown in the United States prior to the 1940s. Traditionally prepared vodkas had an alcoholic content of 40% by volume.Today, the standard Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Latvian and Lithuanian vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume (ABV) or 80 proof. The European Union has established a minimum of 37.5% ABV for any “European vodka” to be named as such. Products sold as vodka in the United States must have an alcoholic content of 30% or more. For homemade vodkas and distilled beverages referred to as “moonshine”, see moonshine by country.
Vodka is traditionally drunk neat in the vodka belt countries of Eastern Europe and around the Baltic Sea. It is also commonly used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as theBloody Mary, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, Moscow Mule, White Russian, Black Russian, vodka tonic, and in a vodka martini.