Why do Russians prefer vodka over other spirits

The stats may claim that the country is drinking less of the good stuff, but its destined to remain in the collective consciousness for eternity.

All Russians are ardent vodka drinkers, so says the age-old cliche, but this is 2019. Moscow and other cities are full of minimalist cocktail bars and hipsters are continuously inventing new flavors of craft beer. With this in mind, you could be forgiven for thinking vodka has been elbowed off top spot by more “sophisticated” tipples as Russia’s go-to thirst-quencher…but has it?

In 2012 Russia allegedly necked more vodka than any other nation, the equivalent of 14 liters for every person in the country. But it appears times are changing and that Russians are giving their livers a break: last year the government said the country is drinking five times less vodka compared to six years ago. Despite the authorities’ claim, some Russians will always opt for vodka over any other alcohol, here’s a few reasons why.

Food factor

Vodka is neither an aperitif nor a digestif. It goes well with food, especially Russian food. Pure and simple.

“The secret of vodka is in the right snack and good company. Vodka perfectly accompanies Russian dishes: pickled mushrooms, herring with boiled potatoes, different types of cured fat (salo in Russian). A nation’s character is determined by food and drink, and I feel that I’m subconsciously drawn to Russian cuisine. Well, you’re not going to wash down salo with cognac, or eat dumplings with gin,” said Vsevolod from Moscow.


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