1528: Vodka

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Or whatever's handy! I'm pretty much pure alcohol and water, so it doesn't really matter!
Title text: Or whatever's handy! I'm pretty much pure alcohol and water, so it doesn't really matter!


Vodka is a distilled beverage composed primarily of water and ethanol, sometimes with traces of impurities and flavorings. Traditionally, vodka is made by the distillation of fermented cereal grains or potatoes, though some modern brands use other substances, such as fruits or sugar.

When people use the phrase "maybe it's the [type of alcohol] talking", they usually mean that they are speaking under the influence of alcohol and are saying things they probably wouldn't say when sober. This is similar to the Latin saying "in vino veritas" - in wine there is truth. However, in this comic, it appears that the vodka itself is literally speaking through Ponytail to discuss its origin, potatoes in this case. Other comics in which things have been taken too literally include 1099: Tuesdays and 1364: Like I'm Five. In 1541: Voice, Ponytail is again possessed by a non-human entity, or maybe she is just making pranks with Megan in both cases.

In the title text, the vodka is implying it can be made from many other things beside potatoes. Vodka can be manufactured from potatoes, grain, and most other plants. Most illegal distilled vodka is often made with whatever one has on hand. However, vodkas are often repeatedly distilled to remove the "foreshots" (the first few ounces of alcohol that drip from the condenser), the "heads" (the higher alcohols which are first to condense during distillation) and the "tails" (the lower fusel oils which are last to be distilled). Removal of these leaves a clear solution consisting almost entirely of ethanol and water. This is in contrast to other distilled beverages like whiskey, brandy and rum.


[Ponytail and Megan sit together at a table with two small shot glasses on the table. Ponytail is imbibing from a large bottle, while Megan is cradling a relatively large glass.]
Ponytail: Maybe this is the vodka talking, but:
Ponytail: Hi! I'm made from potatoes!

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Moving three comments below (between --- and ---) from the page 1528 that was not named correctly to begin with --Kynde (talk) 12:53, 22 May 2015 (UTC)


Weirdly enough, 80 proof vodka and the human body are both about 60% water. If you replaced the remaining 30-odd percent of volume in your body with pure alcohol, you could sustain yourself purely on vodka! Or become vodka. Consumer (talk) 09:37, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

That Polytail is a pretty hardcore lady - it looks like she's drinking directly from the bottle. --RenniePet (talk) 12:39, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

I kinda think she's looking into the bottle, to see if it is really 'talking', rather than drinking from it. 05:44, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
She does not have a glas where she could drink from (Megan has one), so she must drink from the bottle. 13:11, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
I see two small vodka glasses. Megan in holding a larger glass, probably containing a soda chaser. 18:53, 27 May 2015 (UTC)


Fun fact: vodka is named by adding a feminine diminutive to the Russian word for "water." A somewhat more literal translation (for anime fans, at least) would be calling it "water-chan". —Robotech (talk) 14:46, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Somewhat like whiskey/whisky or akvavit or eau de vie, all of which mean "water of life."Taibhse (talk) 16:00, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Does that mean the Bene Gesserit were all just drunk off their collective asses on Whiskey the whole time? -Pennpenn 00:12, 25 May 2015 (UTC)
Well, actually, "uisce/uisge" just means "water." The name comes from "uisge/uisce beatha" = "water of life" but they dropped the "life" part in English usage. Also, medieval Latinists gave the name "aqua vitae" to just about any distilled concentrated ethanol product. It doesn't really rain Johnny Walker or Jameson's on Whiskey.Taibhse (talk) 10:57, 26 May 2015 (UTC)
I would like to say the "-k-" diminutive cannot be feminine itself: it's the word that ends with "-a" is gender neutral for people and "feminine" for things.bAlso... Saying "Oboronka" instead of "Oborona" even creates a new noun. 20:26, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Polish people tried to claim vodka as own nation's invention, with a claim based on that "k" letter. Their logic was: Russian "voda" is Polish "vodka" minus "k" letter. I know some words indeed were derived that way ("flyaga" for flask was derived from "flazhka"), but "voda" is based on ancient "va".