By Jessica Dang
Vodka has long been the drink of choice for a night out on the town, but at the dinner table? At a Russian Standard Vodka tasting this month, we learned from Igor Galburt, the company’s global brand ambassador, that, not only is straight vodka becoming more commonly paired with food, it’s also considered a celebratory spirit. If your goal is to have a festive holiday cocktail party with family and friends this season, vodka should be right up there on the list along with champagne!
First things first: chill your bottle of vodka. It should be served icy cold, just like how it’s done in Russia. You can store it in the freezer–because of it’s alcohol content, vodka will never freeze. The result is a smooth consistency and flavor. Despite its crystal clear qualities, vodka has a variety of complexities. “Add a few drops of Russian Standard to the palms of your hands and rub them together,” instructs Galburt, “Now, inhale. It should have the aroma of freshly baked bread.” Unlike cheaper vodkas that give off shocking notes of rubbing alcohol, higher quality ones possess a creamy depth. Galburt recommends chasing each sip of vodka with the briny quality of pickle juice to soften its edge.
In Russia, it’s typical to serve chilled shots of vodka with pickles, salted pork fat (sala), black bread, and dill. If you’re looking for more of a cosmopolitan vibe, try spicy meatballs, blinis with sour cream & smoked salmon, and crostinis topped with chopped beets or tomato & mozzarella. And, true to Russian form, don’t forget to make multiple toasts throughout the evening. There’s always something to raise your glass to. Nazdarovya!