A history of alcoholic beverages in Russia

Russians are known for their love of vodka, but in the Middle Ages, the Russians displayed great talent at creating other alcoholic beverages including mead. Later, in the early 16th century, monks developed the first recipe for vodka.

From the Pravda article: Since old times, Russian mead-brewers used mechanical methods to purify fermented honey. These methods were very similar to those used for purification of grape wines. Maturation and unique freezing of honey allowed removing fusel oils and other impurities together with the ice from the honey surface. This method made the recipe for producing hard liquor in Russia unique.