Vodka goes in and out of fashion, but not its popularity with drinkers. It remains the biggest-selling spirit in the U.S, and even the Scots drink more vodka than whisky. In the U.S., according to the Code of Federal Regulations, vodka is defined as “neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” Nevertheless, there are subtle differences between vodka made from potatoes and from grain, for example, two of the most common base products for distilling into vodka. (In recent years, a wide variety of other bases have been used to make vodka.) Infused vodka has usually been infused with natural products (e.g. real lemons), while flavored vodka can mean it contains either natural or artificial flavorings. Rules regarding the acceptable strength of vodka differ slightly around the world. Within the European Union, vodkas can be bottled at as low as 75 proof, while in most countries outside the European Union, and in the U.S., vodka must be at least 80 proof.
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