What would be of this blog without a special mention of Russian Vodka? Well, here it goes. However, I must warn you that this post might disprove my previous statement “No, we do not guzzle vodka on a regular basis”.
Vodka, the purest and most seemingly simple of all alcoholic drinks, wasn’t invented until the 15th century (by the Russians, obviously). Previously, Wine had been the preferred drink by the popular masses, but the difficulty of growing grapes in a cold climate drove many people into exploring the alcoholic potential of fermented grain (which is what Vodka is derived from). A compilation of discoveries of different people, opened way to bread wine, which is what Vodka was originally called back in those days. It was first distilled at a Muscovite monastery…and here is a little diagram to explain this process (just for the curious ones that want to submerge themselves in the deep history of Vodka).
Some brave Russians even owned one of these themselves, and it was pretty common to make home-made vodka, which isn’t that hard. For instance, my grandparents used to own one. Yes! Home-distilled vodka!
Anyways, you may ask yourself, how much Vodka do Russians really consume? The answer is: way too much. It has become part of our culture and been proclaimed our national drink. No one really knows the reasons Russians love it so much…it may be the cold…it may be the custom…it may be the urge to drink (since most have developed some sort of dependency). It’s really a lot of things. But what I know for sure, is that if you go to any Russian meeting, either formal or informal, there will always be Vodka on the table. Be it a family reunion, be it a holiday, be it a religious feast, be it a birthday, be it a business conference – there will always be Vodka for you. So don’t be shy.