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Russian Shot Glass

January 6th, 2011

Russian Shot Glass
Russian Shot Glass

Fire and Ice – Russian Vodka Primer

It’s no surprise that one of the stiffest drinks ever invented comes from one of the world’s coldest countries. A shot of syrupy smooth vodka is sure to thaw the blood and put fire in the soul after finding refuge from the -23C bone chiller of a Russian winter. Typically 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume), Russian vodka , a simple and effective blend composed entirely of water and ethanol, is now king behind every bar from Moscow to San Francisco and a staple in every recreational and professional drinker’s arsenal.

According to ‘The History of Vodka’ by food and drink expert William Pokhlebkin, the first vodka recipe was conceived in an experiment concocted in 1430 by a monk inside the walls of the Kremlin. For those who like their hard drinking laced with even more history, visitors to Moscow can take a guided tour round the Kristall Vodka Factory or truly discover the spirit at Moscow Vodka Museum.

Although vodka, the diminutive Russian term for water, has turned the population senseless for centuries, many younger Russians nowadays are wary of vodka and sensible folk treat it with the utmost respect; and those who don’t typically suffer the terrible consequences of illegal vodka. But the drink originally known as ‘bread wine’ is steeped in tradition, and quality vodka combined with sensible drinking practices is a great way to enjoy Russian culture to its fullest.

Most Russians who sit down to a long vodka session follow social etiquette, whether it’s a wedding, a birthday celebration, or just a chance to party. The best vodka should be carefully chosen and served slightly chilled or even freezing (about -4). One way to check the quality is to look for ice particles when the bottle’s out of the freezer (the less particles, the better the vodka).

Although some say good vodka should be savored, the best way is to take a half-glass hit straight up. According to the theory, quickly downing a shot slows alcohol from entering the bloodstream as the esophagus doesn’t soak up as much. But the real key to not feeling sick as a dog is having a bite to eat (Zakuski) with each and every shot. The list of effective vodka snacks includes black bread with salt, sausage, smoked fish, pickles, cheese, and even lard.

Traditional Zakuski

The most popular question of those who arrive on a trip to Russia is “what are the best vodkas?” First things first, legit vodka should have a Rostest quality mark and the ‘Lux’ statement of purity printed on the bottle. The most smooth and tasteless vodkas derive from rye and wheat grain and are triple distilled to remove the nastiness of fusel alcohol.

Below, Black Book has reviewed a preliminary selection of vodkas to get the party going, put hairs on your chest, and help you steer clear of blowing chunks. Once you’re plied, stay tuned for Part 2 in which we’ll explore the finer social points of vodka culture…

 

About the Author

Larry Cervantes is Public Relations Manager at Anastasia International, Inc. Founded in 1993, Anastasia is the industry’s leading International Introduction and Romance Tour Company bringing men together with women from the four corners of the world for friendship and marriage. Anastasia sites from Russia & CIS, Latin America, Asia and Africa count over 80 million online visitors yearly with more than 1 million letters exchanged onsite daily. Affiliate programs drive over a thousand partnered dating agencies globally. Anastasia has been featured on numerous media outlets including: 48 Hours, The Daily Show, The Howard Stern Show, and Jennie Jones, and has been the subject of news features on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, the BBC and publications such as Forbes, Market Watch, Reuters and The Los Angeles Times. News and features about Anastasia have been broadcast in many countries including the U.S., Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Turkey and Australia.

 

For more, visit Anastasia International

The White Russian Shot

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