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Her Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments And Discoveries Paved The Way For Vodka Distillation And The Rise Of One Of The Most Beloved Liquors

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There are a lot of women online who have proclaimed themselves “vodka girls,” as vodka is their alcohol of choice on a night out. There are a lot of “vodka girls” out there who can’t imagine a Friday night celebration without ordering a vodka-cranberry or sipping on an ice-cold dirty martini.

But do you know who we could consider the original “vodka girl?” The fascinating woman scientist whose scientific discoveries and experiments paved the way for vodka distillation?

That scientist was Eva Ekeblad, whose one of many scientific accomplishments was creating the efficient process that made flour and vodka from potatoes.

Eva was born in Sweden in 1724. She was born into aristocracy, as she was the daughter of a statesman who hosted influential political salons. When she was 16, Eva married politician Count Claes Claesson Ekeblad, and they had seven children throughout their marriage.

Since her husband often had to travel, Eva was left to manage and take care of their land and home, which sparked an interest in science and agriculture. She became an agronomist by the time she was in her 20s, learning about crop production and soil.

In the mid-1740s, Eva began conducting experiments with potatoes, which had only been introduced to Sweden in 1658 and was mostly given to animals. Through her experiments, Eva figured out how to extract the starch from potatoes to create flour and alcohol, which led to the country’s love of potato-based vodka.

Eva’s discoveries were a very big deal; they changed Sweden’s culinary culture and helped the country solve its food crises. Because potatoes were now being frequently used to make alcohol instead of wheat, rye, and barley, those grains could be used to make more bread and feed the hungry.

While Eva wasn’t the first person to make alcohol from potatoes, her method was much more efficient and strongly aided her country.

Not long after conducting her remarkable experiments, Eva became the first woman scientist to be inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748 when she was only 24 years old.

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