Versatile vodka stands alone or plays nicely with friends; enjoy it straight up, in a cocktail or as a flavoured vodka. So how do you take yours?
Always keep your vodka in the freezer. Alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water and this will simply give the liquor a silky, glutinous consistency that slides down ever so easily.
The clear, clean, fiery spirit of vodka sets pulses racing and instils fear in those about to face an evening with a Russian connoisseur.
Vodka’s traditional homeland is eastern and northern Europe, with both Poland and Russia developing the spirit at around the same time. But it’s the Russians who have emigrated far and wide taking their vodka passion with them. Vladimir Smirnoff, for example, brought vodka to America in the 1920s when the cocktail revolution was in full swing.
Popular Vodka Brands
The top brands are famous – and popular – for a reason; there are centuries of craftsmanship going into creating a spirit that has such subtle nuances of flavour. Some of the best include:
- Absolut: from Sweden, it’s one of the top three selling brands of vodka globally.
- Belvedere: from Poland, is made from rye rather than wheat and has been around for over 600 years.
- Grey Goose: from France, is a very young newcomer, launching in 1997 but already one of the world’s favourites.
- Smirnoff: from Russia, it was introduced to the world in the early 1900s from its inception in Moscow in 1862.
- Stolichnaya: from Russia, there’s still contention about when it was first produced and who currently owns it which is all irrelevant to its taste and success.
So it starts to get interesting about now. Straight vodka is, to some, completely tasteless firewater. To aficionados it’s smooth, creamy and earthy.
Vodka Food Matching
Since we’re in Russian territory, let’s start with vodka’s perfect pairing; caviar. The cold-yet-fiery viscous liquor and slippery, salty caviar pearls are an ideal match. But if caviar’s beyond the budget there are plenty of other delicious treats to savour with vodka.
Quirky Vodka Traditions
- Never fill a vodka (shot) glass to the brim, you’ll be marked as a Philistine. And very soon drunk.
- Never leave an empty vodka bottle on the table; it’s bad luck.
- Never be caught short of a toast; if you’ve run out and it’s your turn, charge your glass to ‘nazdarovye’, wishing your friends good health.
- Never forget to drink when someone else toasts; it’s tradition.
- Never drink vodka on your own; it’s poor etiquette.