It is inevitable to associate Russia with vodka, but it is the only traditional drink? What other traditions around the drink exist?
Vodka is considered to be a drink obtained from the distillation of rye or wheat, and with a lot of graduation (from 96 to 98 degrees) and domestic or bottled water.
There are certain traditions and myths sometimes spread by film productions about the ritual of drinking vodka. Contrary to what some believe, when drinking vodka, Russians do not break the glasses. The Russian way of drinking vodka is: pure, not mixed with other drinks, and without ice, but the whole bottle is chilled. It is drunk in special glasses, which have also been chilled. The most common ones are stopok (50 ml) and lafitnikov (70 ml). Vodka is not drunk before or after a meal, but is accompanied by “zakuski” (hors d’oeuvres) or food. There is the custom of pronouncing many toasts, the most famous being “Nazdoróvie” (Cheers!).
Another very traditional drink is “Kvas”, formerly used as a remedy for scurvy. Kvas is a Russian drink that is drunk especially on summer days. It is a fermented grain drink that resembles beer, but is usually made without alcohol or with a low alcohol content.
There is a tradition of distilling homemade liquors, which has a long and rich history in Russia. Homemade liquor allows quality control, and adds the possibility of customizing it to personal taste by adding ingredients. The result of this homemade production in Russia is called “samogon”.
On your trip to Russia, you will be able to taste these and other drinks in the many pubs that are located there, either on a tour in Moscow, or on an excursion in St. Petersburg.
A view of the wonderful art bar “Door19” in Moscow