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Every culture and heritage has its own folklore and mythology, passed down through decades or even centuries, and the myths of Ukraine are no exception. Rooted in what bears a strong resemblance to contemporary ideals of religion, as well as paganism, there are origin stories and myths alike that have vibrant lives in Ukrainian imaginations to this day.
“Horilka” is the Ukrainian term you’ve never heard for something you might have frequently—Vodka. There are several anecdotal tales of regional twists on vodka (like horilka) that go back centuries. The term “Horilka” comes from the Ukrainian verb hority, or “to burn.” It seems logical to assume that this would refer to the burning sensation of the drink, or even the spiciness commonly found in horilka (flavored as it is with red pepper), but in reality, it refers to the fact that alcohol literally burns when lit on fire.