Translates as a diminutive of water … from the Slovak languages. Originally the word was used to describe a medicine or a chemical cleaner that was concentrated and needed to be watered down to be applied.  Later vodka was an ingredient on many medicines.

Early vodka’s were made in the 8th and 9th Centuries and about 300 years later commercial distilleries were made. 

Earliest vodka’s were made using simple natural fermentation and were about 28 proof.  Modern vodka is typically 80 proof with some variation. It is sold in Poland as high as 192 proof.  In fact, many American vodkas are made from Archer Daniel Midlands’ 190 proof ethanol stock that is watered down and flavored.  

  Today Vodka is made generally from fermented grains that are distilled and or filtered to remove non-alcohol chemicals that add off tastes AND are believed to contribute to hangovers.  Sorghum, corn, rye and wheat are common sources of ethanol. Some are made with potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grapes, molasses, rice and even oil refining by-products.

Using fruits and herbs to flavor vodka is centuries old in Scandinavia.  I am not 100% sold on the savoriest of vodkas … Bacon vodka – sold as Bakon by Black Rock Spirits in Seattle. 


Also not sold on Vegemite. 

The Australian staple is a version of Marmite which is made from an extract of used brewer’s yeast.

A vegemite sandwich is buttered bread with this earthy, salty, malty, umami-rich spread.

Did I say it was salty?  Its 8.6% salt. 

President Obama described it as ‘horrible” in March of 2011 while at an appearance with the Australian Prime Minister.  It’s vegetarian.  It’s Halal. It’s technically Kosher.

Kraft makes 10 million jars a year in Port Melbourne.  They’ve made a Billion since 1926.  They have tried adding it to a number of products to make it more palatable.  None have succeeded.


The Green Mountain State is actually a contraction of Green mountain in French--  Verte Mont. 

Second least populous state – only 626,000 call Vermont home.  And many stay there. 

Although our 14th state… it has existed since 1777.  Not admitted as a state by New York … who kind of hoped that it would be part of their state.  Lake Champlain forms more than half the border between New York and Vermont.

It also declared Independence in 1776 and existed as the Vermont Republic for 14 years.  They abolished slavery while a Republic.  The first North American nation or state to do so.

But that whole time its chief executive was … a governor.  Making Montpelier one of the few cities that have been both a country’s capital and a state capital (Also Austin, Richmond and Honolulu).

Vermont’s state Capital city is Montpelier – named for a city in Southwestern France.  It is the least populated state capital city with only 7,855 residents.  It is also the only state capital without a McDonald’s.  Montpelier in France has at least two.

Tiny St Albans Vermont was the site of the northernmost raid of the Confederacy.  22 cavalry troops snuck into the northern timber town and robbed all three banks of over $200,000.

Burlington is the largest city in Vermont and at a population of just over 42,000 it’s the least populated largest city in the US.  

Ready for the Questions?

1)    Starting June 7th, what oldest surviving airline will start thrice weekly service from Burlington to Atlanta… its hub and headquarters? 




2)    You can fly Delta to what country that is home to the PARENT company of CAR MAKER Volvo? Its CEO is Hakkan Samelssen, its Chairman is Li Shufu.  Founded in Sweden in 1926.   Ford Owned Volvo until 2010 when they sold it to Zhejiang Geely Holding Company.




3)    Volvo is from the Latin for I Roll. Volkswagen means “People’s car” in German.  Originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche, Volkswagen used slave labor during the Second World War.  What three models of Volkswagen make the Top 10 best selling cars list? 


Beetle, Golf (Gulf Stream), Passat (Trade Wind)


4)    The Golf (Car and Driver’s Car of the Year 2013) is the best selling VW nameplate EVER. The Golf was also sold under what name in the US, that can be considered venison – from its original definition?


VW Rabbit.  Originally Venison meant anything hunted.


5)    Similarly Velcro was originally named for a product that didn’t work.  Velours (velvet) and Crochet (hooks).  The original Velcro design was made of cotton and did not work, nylon has been much more effective. Velcro was originally patented in what European country? 



6)    Also headquartered in Switzerland, Victorinox was created in 1884 and named for the dear mother of the founder… Victoria.  What iconic device does Victorinox create 10 million of a year, many for the 3 million strong Swiss Army.  


Knives (also bayonets, multitools (like a Leatherman ®) and household knives.


7)    A household knife would be used to cut up what official state vegetable of Georgia… there is no crying in trivia. 


Vidalia Onion. The town of Vidalia was named for the daughter of the town’s founder.


8)    What planet is named for Roman version of the “daughter” of Uranus in Greek mythology.  In the Greek story Aphrodite was born from the sea foam created when Cronus literally emasculated Uranus. 




9)    This is almost entirely dissimilar to vasectomy.  First performed on a human in 1899, it was considered illegal until 2001 in what country? 


France- it was considered a violation of the anti-mutilation portion of the Napoleonic Code.  It is also a violation of Sharia law and illegal in Indonesia until 2012.


10)What US states have state Capitals from French names? 


Baton Rouge, Des Moines, Juneau, Pierre and Montpelier


11)But only two of these are in US states named in French.


 Louisiana and Vermont