How to drink Vodka like the Russians
Vodka has become a rising star in the spirits segment in India. A huge chunk of the Indian demographic chooses vodka over other tipples and to cater to them big and small alco-bev companies alike have introduced vodka brands. Everyone wants a share of the vodka business so much so that the plethora of brands available at a wine shop is quite mind boggling.
Once you’ve distinguished the good from the bad and ugly, the question to be asked is how to enjoy vodka? Obviously we will follow the methods of the original proponents and lovers of this clear almost neutral distillate – the Russians.
1. Invest in good quality vodka purchased from an established wine shop. There are a lot of spurious and sub standard vodka brands available which use cheaper molasses based Extra Neutral Alcohol.
2.Chill your vodka overnight, preferably in a freezer, the colder the vodka the better. Don’t worry the alcohol in the vodka won’t let it freeze. Vodka is best served chilled instead of on ice. The alcohol melts the ice very fast leaving you with diluted vodka.
3. Similarly, avoid mixers. The neutrality of the spirits lends itself to cocktails and mixing but to discern the minute notes of the vodka it is important to let go of the mixers.
4. Drink it at the right temperature, ideally around 5-8° Celsius. If it is too cold, all flavors and notes will be gone and if it is too warm, vodka will come across as too aggressive.
5. Swirl, smell and sip with vodka? Yes, absolutely! There is no other way to taste. It is very similar to wines, swirling aerates the liquid opening more notes. Smell carefully, there should be notes of grains, hints of sweet creaminess on the nose. On the palate, it should be both crisp and smooth, it should leave a pleasant overall taste. If your vodka reminds you of a visit to the hospital and antiseptics, rest assured the quality is definitely suspect.
6 After the first tasting sip, knock down the remaining of the vodka. The experience will assuredly be quite different and it adds to the overall impact and taste of the vodka.
7. Pick more than 2 vodka brands to understand the differences between different types of vodka. Vodkas are made from grains, fruits, potatoes, etc, and even though it is supposed to be neutral there are differences. Flavors and notes change with the water used and region of production, these are worth investigating during a tasting.
8. Remember to keep hydrating yourself. Drink water as frequently as possible, vodka has a potent ABV percent and you need to be able to flush it out of your system.
9. Keep some snacks handy. Anchovies, crackers, pickled gherkins, olives, cured meats, etc, go exceedingly well with vodka.