Everyone has a story when it comes to Vodka and it’s usually a story of a great night with friends. Essentially that is what Vodka stands for in both culture and design. Vodka is our party drink, our social drink and our hit in a cocktail; in fact Vodka is almost everywhere and the most internationally recognized spirit. However, it has somehow earned somewhat of a bad reputation of late. Vodka has now become synonymous with the all night drinking culture and been associated with die-hard partygoers. Interestingly enough, in Russian culture, Vodka is actually meant to be a social party inducing drink but it also doubles as your standard dining beverage.
There are many beliefs and myths to where actual Vodka came and what original Vodka is made from. Most people are lead to believe that real Vodka is made from solely potatoes, at least the Polish do, well in fact vodka can be made from any starch or sugar. More commonly vodka is made from wheat, barley and potatoes, each typically rendering a slightly different texture and aroma.
Russia being the nation most associated with Vodka in fact has little presence in the premium Vodka market locally in Kenya. The more commonly known brand of Vodka is Smirnoff, which unfortunately is not an accurate representation of Russian Vodka. Now like most alcohols and spirits around the world some Premium brands are branching out in the Kenyan market. The most prominent and most Russian is Russian Standard offering original premium Vodka to the Kenyan public. This would give the likes of Absolut and Grey Goose a run for their money that has long dominated the premium market.
Russian Standard is a relatively young brand with a very old philosophy. The company believes that the true origin of proper Vodka stems from a Russian scientist, Dimitri Mendeleev, famous for the periodic table. He states that there must be multiple distillations and under go a charcoal filtration. Out of the three different Vodkas they offer none are less then 4 distillations and each go through multiple filtrations. The owner and founder of Russian Standard had a vision to export and produce vodka how it was meant to be.
I had the pleasure to taste a variety of Vodka’s from Russian Standard at the WWW Shop and Bar classroom at the Junction. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about a Vodka tasting. My first reaction was to dive in deep with my nose like I would a wine, this killed my entire sense of smell. The key was to go in slowly and you would pick up the subtle fragrances of wheat behind the alcohol. Personally I felt that the flavor was sweet and a bit like strawberry for the first classic Russian Standard. It was key to add a bit of water before tasting it. The interesting thing about Vodka I found, is that the more premium the Vodka the more subtle the flavor and cleaner it becomes.
“What is a Vodka if it is not in a Cocktail?” There is a uniquely “Kenyanized” cocktail that worked perfectly with Russian Standard. Simply Stoney Tangawizi with lemon and Vodka – this make for the perfect summer cocktail.