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Rare Russian vodka?


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We will be travelling from Sakhalin Island to St. Petersberg on the BAM and other RRs. Is there a Vodka that is available only in Russia that I can not get in Chicago? I would like to pick up a few bottles for gifts and for my own use. I do not want to spend more thatn $10-20 USD. Two years ago we were in a Moscow liquor store I was dumfounded by the selection- I bought bottle for $6USD that the clerk recommended- yum! I like my vodka with a kick versus smooth. Thanks

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Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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I can't say that I know what is available in Sakhalin, but I frequently go to Kyiv and one of the Russian vodkas of choice there is Beluga (if you want to pay a bit more). If you get the gold line it will cost you a lot more, but the regular Beluga is relatively cheap and it comes in .5, .75, and 1l bottles. I am sure there is a larger variety in Russia though.

You are starting to see Beluga in some places in the US, but the stock is minimal and you might not be able to have it shipped.

I like to say things and eat stuff.

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I don't know how rare it is, but I'm told by a Russian friend that the "Russian Standard" (labeling is in Cyrillic, of course) is what the Muscovite yuppies like to drink. He brought me back a bottle a few years ago. It was quite tasty, however it's vodka, so it doesn't really have too much flavor. It was pretty smooth though...

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I don't know how rare it is, but I'm told by a Russian friend that the "Russian Standard" (labeling is in Cyrillic, of course) is what the Muscovite yuppies like to drink. He brought me back a bottle a few years ago. It was quite tasty, however it's vodka, so it doesn't really have too much flavor. It was pretty smooth though...

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Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I must say that I think you will be much more pleased with Beluga than Russian Standard. I conducted a blind tasting with a bartender once with palate cleansers and rye bread between tastes, and the three top were Stoli Elite, Hanger One, and Beluga Gold Line. Other standouts were Effen, Tito's, and in the lower end flight even Smirnoff did well. But the lower end vodkas often add citric acid and glycerides to make them smoother. Russian Jewel, Stolichnaya, and Russian Standard were in the middle of the pack and some such as Russian Jewel performed poorly.

There are some better lines of Russian Standard that you can get abroad, so if you go that route I would choose one of those as the regular Russian Standard is pretty common in the US, so it would be nice to bring back a top-notch bottle that is hard to find here.

Another good brand that is super smooth is Kaufmann. They have several bottles (Hard, Soft, and Special) and all of them are good but you will pay more too. And then they have their vintage vodka that is way, way spendy. If you can find a good deal on a .7 l Kaufmann, you will not be disappointed. I think the Soft bottle is the easiest to drink. They also have one bottle that is called Jewish Standard, and even though I have the bottle at home, I have yet to try it.

If you want something interesting to bring back, you might be able to find Georgian Cha Cha. Russians/Ukrainians sometimes call it grape vodka. It is made from the pomace of grapes that go into Georgian wine, so it is more like grappa, but it is definitely an interesting drink. I often bring that back to the US and give as gifts, but beware that Russian-Georgian tensions have been higher since their conflict, so it might be harder to find.

Lastly, a good vodka is best served chilled, and don't waste it on mixed drinks. I actually sip my best vodkas and don't shoot them. I shoot bad vodka and sip good vodka.

Good luck, and happy drinking.

k.

I like to say things and eat stuff.

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