Consuming vodka is a ritual with a historical background. It hurts us, Russians, to see how this wonderful ceremony is not followed in the way it should. If you’re wondering what is the proper way to drink vodka, below I’ve summed up the history behind this tradition and tried to explain the crime behind a non-Russian way of consuming this Gods beverage (as called in the Motherland).
Generally, it was a Western promotive idea to start selling RedBull on parties to associate the brand with a nightclub culture. Apparently, naive Americans found it very cool to mix the energy drink together with a shot of vodka. This to lead to a creation of a new kind of a breaking-down-traditions cocktail. Unfortunately, this habit was spread over to the rest of the world, including the Great Britain.
The important rules for drinking vodka are:
1. Never mix it with Bed Bull, Sprite or Coke
The moment I found out that people can mix vodka with coke — my throat started tickling, stomach squeezed into a molecule and my eyes goggled, almost popping out.
First and foremost, in The Motherland of Vodka this tipple is consumed in shots. Vodka “drinkardizers” would never-ever mix it with Coke or Sprite — this is an absolute pervasion for all vodka patriarchs. Sometimes, Russians (as a rule it involves women) wash it down with a homemade compote, and rarely with juice. But bear in mind, people sharing the table may think of you as a p*ssy.
2. Consume it with food
Shots of vodka are followed by Russian traditional snacks. That’s why there’s no need to mix the tipple with any additional drink that will reduce the taste of alcohol. Straight after a shot of vodka, Russians prefer to take either pickled vegetables, traditional Eastern European Salo or sausages, Russian dumplings (“pelmeni”), caviar, dried fish as well as sauerkraut. The actual list is endless, these are just the most common examples.
It is a myth that Russians have been born with the ability to drink vodka and stay sober after a litre of consuming it. Allow me to reveal a little secret: it this the ton of food that decreases the feeling of drunkenness, making this nation unbeatable when it comes to drinking. This tradition provides a quality alcohol consuming ritual proving to be helpful in reducing the chances of hangover.
Alternatively, the real men back in the Motherland prefer smelling something pungent straight after having a shot to food. A good example is leek, a popular antidote used the harsh taste of vodka.
3. Hold a conversation while drinking it
Vodka etiquette requires a table of food and a good company of people. There needs to be a special occasion to drink this Saints Drink. Vodka is not actually a beverage to consume in the nightclub. I don’t know if you have ever tried, but trust me it is simply impossible to dance in the club with a shot of vodka and a pickle in your hand. Nevertheless, people do dance when drinking it but usually at the guests’ house or at home.
To drink vodka means to have a long night of talks, jokes and nostalgia. People usually organise sauna sessions, karaoke, or intellectual games between taking shots. Drinking vodka is not an event of getting pissed at the first place, it’s an occasion to communicate, eat delicious food and make some awesome memories (though not always the case).
Drinking vodka is its own discipline. Follow these rules to drink like a professional Russian!
Although drinking so-called “Westernised” vodka cocktails with fizzy beverages is sure to make you pissed quite quickly as gases are strong alcohol strengtheners, but it is painful to see how this fundamental tradition has been destroyed.
Put it this way, we —Russians — don’t put jam over the Scotch Egg to experiment with tastes. So on the behalf of all Russian people, allow me to ask you a favour: if you drink our beverage — drink it properly. Respect the traditions and culture, or just don’t drink Vodka at all.
Here are some Vodka appetisers for your next gathering: