It’s the start of Vodka Week here at The Sip and as we’ve done in the past, day one is all about educating ourselves. I will play the role of teacher and as per usual, you my little sippers will be my eager pupils, taking in the breadth of my knowledge (or at least what I could scour from the internet). There will be a test at the end, so please pay attention. Ah, what do I care, let’s go through the motions of the lesson plan and get drunk!
Northern, Eastern and Central Europe – Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Scandinavian countries, Latvia, Lithuania, etc. – is known as the Vodka Belt because these countries are the historic home of the spirit as well as the area where it is most consumed worldwide. Sure beats living in America’s Bible Belt! Imagine you could actually have a belt that was filled with vodka and had an extendable straw you could pull out to access the alcohol… I call dibs on the franchising rights. Lucky for me, I’m on my way to many of these countries at the moment during a Scandinavian cruise! (I see lots of vodka in my foreseeable future!)
Vodka gets its name from the Russian word ‘voda’, which translates to mean water. I have it on good authority that Russians actually drink vodka like IT IS water and are practically raised on the stuff. That’s pretty badass, as they’re running around with mickeys as bottles, while us North Americans are deciding how much Nesquik to put in our milk.
Vodka is considered to be the purest alcohol in the world thanks to its distillation process and lack of fusel oils.
While vodka can be blamed for too numerous injuries and deaths to count, the libation can also have many positive medical effects. It is known to keep arteries strong and clear, while also keeping drinkers cholesterol down. It can also be used to heal cold sores and fever and stave off strokes, heart attacks and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Before 1885, vodka was only sold in buckets of12.3 litres at a time. You could bathe in that much booze and apparently in Poland they did, as vodka was originally scented and used as after shave. Could this be why Mrs. Sip’s legs smell so good? She is part Polish, after all!
Vodka has a ton of other uses, such as being a disinfectant that is strong enough to clean bathrooms. I find this to be a two-fold problem. First, who has the money to overpay on cleaning products and second, that’s just a lot of wasted liquor. In a pinch, though, if you have company coming over and have used your entire budget on entertainment goods, I guess you could pull off the clean sweep using vodka. As early as the 15th century, the liquor was even used in gunpowder manufacturing by Sweden.
There are actually Vodka museums in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.
Today, nearly anything you can think of has been turned into a flavoured vodka. There’s bacon, smoked salmon, Froot Loop, cupcake, marshmallow, and the list is endless. Companies like Smirnoff, Absolut, Three Olives, and Pinnacle have the flavoured vodka market cornered, but even top shelf spirits like Grey Goose and Van Gogh have delved into the exotic vodka flavours.
Drink #139: Kamikaze
- 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Pinnacle Cherry Lemonade)
- 1 oz Triple Sec
- Splash of Lime Juice
- Garnish with a Lime Wheel
So, let’s get into our best Vodka Belt mood and party ‘til the sun comes up! And what if it’s that time of year where the sun never comes up, you ask? Then you better have some longevity when it comes to your boozing!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I like that this is a vodka version of a margarita. I took the shot recipe and turned it into a delicious, refreshing drink, perfect for summer. The Cherry Lemonade Vodka was a nice touch, with Cherry flavour coming through in the aftertaste.