Isidore (inventor)

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Stolichnaya, a famous Moscow vodka brand

Isidore (Russian: Исидор) was a 15th-century Russian Orthodox monk from Chudov Monastery in Moscow, credited with producing the first genuine recipe of Russian vodka circa 1430, a fact later recognised by international arbitration in 1982.[1]

A type of distilled liquor close to one that would later become generally designated by the Russian word vodka came to Russia in the late 14th century. In 1386 the Genoese ambassadors brought the first aqua vitae ("the living water") to Moscow and presented it to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy, who previously had defeated Tatar-Mongols and their Genoese mercenaries in the remarkable large-scale Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. The Genoese likely got this beverage with the help of the alchemists of Provence, who used the Arab-invented distillation apparatus to convert grape must into alcohol. Since Islam prohibited the drinking of any alcoholic bevarages for Arabs, they used alcohol mainly for the production of perfumes. In Christian Europe, however, the aqua vitae became the predecessor of all modern strong alcoholic bevarages, including brandy, cognak, whisky, schnapps and Russian vodka. The liquid that was got as a result of distillation of grape must was thought to be a concentrate and a "spirit" of wine (spiritus vini in Latin), from where came the name of this substance in many European languages (like English spirit, or Russian spirt).

Moscow Chudov Monastery in 1883

According to a legend, around 1430 a monk called Isidore from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin made a recipe of the first Russian vodka. Having a special knowledge and distillation devices he became an author of the alcoholic beverage of a new, higher quality. This "bread wine" as it was initially known, was produced for a long time exclusively in the Grand Duchy of Moscow and in no other principality of Rus' (this situation persisted until the era of industrial production). That's why this bevarage for a long time was associated with Moscow. Vodka is a diminutive from Russian voda ("water"). The first written usage of the word vodka in an official Russian document in its modern meaning is dated by the decree of Empress Elizabeth of June 8, 1751, which regulated the ownership of vodka distilleries.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Pokhlebkin V. V. / Похлёбкин В. В. (2007). The history of vodka / История водки. Moscow: Tsentrpoligraph / Центрполиграф. p. 272. ISBN 5-9524-1895-3.