Not all that bubbles is champagne

OK, now they've gone and done it.

Not content with boasting that they invented vodka -- along with most other things enjoyed in the modern world -- the Russians have come up with the world's first sparkling vodka.

I speak not of some fizzy pseudo-spirits concoction like a "cooler" (ugh). Rather, O2 vodka from Ikon actually has oxygen bubbles injected into the smooth grain-based vodka.

To be perfectly accurate, however, it really wasn't Russians who came up with the new twist. That just made a catchy lead-in for this item. The old Russian brand is owned these days by International English Distillers and the patented bubbly version of the 80-proof beverage was developed in England by Philip Maitland.

The vodka, made mostly with wheat and a touch of malted barley, is distilled and filtered three times in 100-year-old copper pot stills. Creating the bubbly version was an 18-month process of trial and error.

Meanwhile, Diageo, one of the drinks industry's giants, has patented a new technology that creates a fizz in its vodka and other spirits by mixing a spirit with yeast and a fermentable carbohydrate, a method similar to that used to produce Champagne and sparkling wines.

No public announcement has been made by Diageo concerning a marketing timetable, or even which of its brands will be fizzed up.

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