April 01, 1998

The Perfect Vodka Appetizer

As this issue is dedicated to vodka, we decided to provide you with a comprehensive list of meals that go well with this drink – both hot meals and appetizers. As William Pokhlyobkin, Russia’s renowned expert on food history noted: “attempts to mix vodka with improper dishes are dangerous, as these attempts may ensue in vodka being discredited as a gastronomically essential table drink ...”

Ideally, vodka consumption should be accompanied  by traditional Russian meals. For it is difficult to fully appreciate some of these meals without vodka. First of all, vodka goes well with fatty meat or salty fish. It also goes extremely well with pork {RL, December 1996}, bliny {RL, March 1996} or pelmeni {RL, February 1996} and solyanka {RL, November 1996}. The vodka complements these meals, contributing to good digestion, washing out the fat (and the fat, in turn, helps you to stay relatively sober). Traditional Russian meals are made to remedy the negative impact of vodka on one’s head, provided the vodka is consumed in moderation, of course. Oh, and don’t use fatty lamb or mutton, which call for heavy, dry red wine rather than vodka.

Even though hot meals can go great with vodka, this drink is mostly consumed with appetizers. The assortment of appetizers in Russian cuisine was mainly developed in the 18th century – the same time that the art of home-made winemaking with its rich vodka assortment began to blossom. So vodka’s organoleptic properties, its aroma and its purification process were adjusted to complement Russian appetizers.

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