Drinking Vodka the Russian way
While drinking rules vary across the world, you would be pardoned to think that there are none more ‘serious’ than the Russians’. Despite their grim portrayal in popular media, Russians are quite a jolly lot and very sharing and caring when it comes to drinking. And even if their national drink is odorless, colorless, and flavorless, the Russian way of drinking vodka is anything but bland.
So, let’s find out how they do it in Russia.
A brief history of vodka
There is no consensus on the origin of vodka and is a contentious debate. Both Russia and Poland have fought over the origin of their national drink.
Vodka is a distilled drink made from grains like rye and wheat and recently using potatoes. The beverage has been made in Russia since the 14th century and Russians drank it because the cereal grains are cultivated across the country.
The drinking culture is consistent within the entire Russian territory. One of the first things you need to understand is that Russians do not drink vodka without a reason. Unlike wine, the alcohol content in vodka is higher and therefore, it is not drunk every day at dinner.
Russians drink the beverage at occasions, which include weddings, childbirth, local/national/religious holidays, funerals, a successful business deal, and a good harvest. Several holidays are in the late fall season and winter when vodka is easily available just after the harvest.
Toasting is very important in the Russian vodka drinking culture. Russians perform an obvious and loud exhale after the toast but before sipping the drink to mitigate some of the effects of a hangover. In company, Russians rarely pour vodka only for themselves. Typically, a Russian will first pour the drink for others before taking their own turn.
Lastly, vodka is drunk neat in a small tumbler. It is never served as a screwdriver, gimlet, or martini. Russians drink vodka with ice more as shots instead of sipping on a glass of the drink.
Food pairings - the Russian way
Food is an important component of Russian vodka drinking culture and it is never consumed without some foods. There is a superstition that if you do not include complementing food with your vodka, it may burn up your insides.
Traditional foods like zakuski are often eaten with vodka. These are pickled fruits and vegetables, such as mushrooms, cucumber, and cabbage. Russians also eat open-faced sandwiches comprising cured and dried fish, cold meats like chicken liver and tongue, and acidic salads made from cucumber and tomatoes.
Vodka and Indian winters
As the mercury drops, dark rum, brandy, and whisky prevail. The easygoing vodka is put aside for the warmer season. But, it does not have to be so. Because vodka is a neutral drink, you can integrate it in wintry cocktails.
Popular winter vodka cocktails
- Pho-King Champ: An incredibly deep flavor combining sherry, vodka and fresh lime
- Moscow Mule: Add apple juice to ginger beer, vodka, and lime to create a tarty and flavorful variation for winter gatherings; garnish with fresh fruits
- Espresso Martini: It combines vodka and espresso, coffee liqueur with a little sugar to keep you going all night long
- Pear and Elderflower Collins: The perfect blend of vodka with pear liqueur and pear puree for a cold-weather fruity and light drink
Indian food pairings with vodka
Winter is the best time for indoor parties and pairing your favorite home-cooked dishes with some Absolut vodka cocktails gives you the perfect excuse to party with friends and family.
While there is nothing like a hearty dinner combining Juniper Crusted Lamb Chops with caramelized grapefruit chutney with a spicy and sweet concoction made from vodka, here are some more options to consider:
- A fresh rocket, walnut, and apple salad with balsamic dressing paired with the Poet cocktail that combines vodka, martini, green apple, rocket leaf puree, and honey water with lime juice is perfect for a Sunday brunch
- A punchy vodka cocktail with grilled vegetables and sea bass with a white wine and shallot sauce is the perfect light lunch pairing
- Beet, fennel, and orange salad amuse-bouche with a vodka cocktail that is zingy and fresh is the perfect pairing as the sun sets on a winter evening
Well, that’s all for today, we leave you to munch on these delicacies while sipping your favorite Absolut vodka cocktail. Dasvidaniya!
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