A few years back at a staff party, the Ukrainian software developers introduced me to a wonderful way of drinking vodka. Granted, I thought I could go shot for shot with these guys and ended up stumbling drunk at my boss’s home. A major embarrassment, to be sure. OMG . . . . I was mortified to go to work the next day. But, the drink was AWESOME!
Let me introduce it to you . . . trust me and try it. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Let me enlighten you. It’s kind of like doing a shot of tequila . . . the salt, the shot, and the lime. Kinda . . . but not.
Drinking vodka for Russians is a special occasion . . . every time . . . it involves ceremony and formal procedure. Believe it or not, there is particular etiquette to drinking Vodka the Russian way. We, Americans, are clueless when it comes to drinking vodka.
Before consuming the fine spirit one toasts "Na Zdorovie!" ("To Your Health!"). Then you follow up by ceremoniously saying "Nu..." ("So..."), take a deep breath, tilt your head back and down the entire shot in one defiant motion. Next, give a quick sniff to a slice of black bread and quickly eat it along with pickle.
I can vouch that the following the shot with a pickle is a taste sensation . . . mmm mmm mmmmmmmmm!
The way I was shown eliminated the bread . . . whether that was circumstantial or not part of the Ukranian tradition, I cannot say. Another variation . . . which is not overly appealing to me . . . is eating bites of fish, such as cod, smothered in sour cream following the shot.
The type and quality of the vodka is inconsequential. And it should be served warm . . . none of that fancy shmancy chilled vodka. Although, I wouldn’t recommend a flavored vodka . . . particularly of the fruity variety. That being said . . . a pepper flavored vodka works well (I know this from experience).
Oh . . . and another thing. . . Russians know naught about moderation. You must offer a toast for each glass and must always drink all the vodka in the glass. Once you bust into that bottle of Vodka you must finish it. It’s like a rule or something. It is considered impolite and boorish to leave the table with anything less than an empty bottle. It also considered a harbinger of doom and misfortune to place the empty bottle back on the table
A departure from this dignified and mouth-watering tradition is a shot called the . . .
1.25 oz. Absolut Peppar (chilled, the colder the better)
A piece of a Dill Pickle.
Chill the Absolut Peppar & pour into an appropriate shot glass. Put a small amount of
on the divot created by the webbing between the Knuckles of your thumb & pointer finger on the backside of your hand. Tabasco
The process is simple
1. Lick the
2. Shoot the vodka
3. Eat the pickle