Vodka – Russia’s national drink

Vodka – Russia’s national drink

If you’re asked to name something that Russia is famous for, vodka is likely to be one of the first things that springs to mind.

A popular spirit around the world, vodka has formed part of the traditional Russian way of life for centuries. It’s drank in celebration at weddings and birthday parties and is often referred to as the country’s national drink, although many Russians will in fact tell you that tea is their favourite drink!

The history of Russian vodka

Despite its popularity, very little is known about the history and origins of Russian vodka. Its name stems from the Russian word for water ‘voda’ and it is thought that early forms of the spirit were distilled in the 1300s, by monks in the monasteries of the Kremlin.

Originally used for medicinal purposes, the popularity of the drink grew and by the 17th century, Russian vodka was being exported around Europe. It wasn’t until the 20th century that vodka’s popularity really grew in the Western world. After the Russian Revolution, private distilleries were confiscated by the Bolsheviks and many eminent Russian vodka-makers moved abroad to continue their trade – including one who established a distillery in Paris, using the French spelling of his name, Smirnoff.

How to enjoy vodka

VodkaTo enjoy a good vodka during your holiday to Russia, remember that it should be drunk chilled, with no ice or mixers, and followed by Zakuski, small snacks of pickles, herring, toast and maybe even caviar. And if you feel like impressing others with your knowledge of the local tipple, here’s a few interesting conversation starters:

  • Contrary to popular belief, many people claim that vodka will go off. They say that to enjoy it at its best, the spirit should be consumed within a year of manufacture.
  • Up until the late 19th century, it’s thought that vodka could only be bought in 12.3 litre buckets.
  • Vodka is available in many different flavours, with vanilla, various fruits, chilli and salted caramel being just some of the more popular ones.
  • It’s said that adding a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of vodka to your flowers will keep them fresher for longer.
  • Billionaire vodka is said to be the most expensive in the world – at a whopping cost of more than $3.75 million a bottle.

Every Travelsphere holiday offers exceptional value for money. Included in the price are return scheduled flights/rail travel and internal flights, where applicable, overseas transfers and transportation, carefully chosen hotels, many meals and excursions and the services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager or Local Guide.