The Story of Russian Vodka
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There are many definitions of Russian vodka, but the most strict and clasical one was made by the
great Russian scientist Dimitry Mendeleyev, who devoted his thesis for his doctorate degree to the
improvement of vodka production in Russia.  In 1894, the Russian government patented his definition.
 According to Mendeleyev's definition, "Only the that contains as its main ingredient rye bread spirit
prepared on the basis of Russian kinds of rye given triple distillation, dilluted according to the weight
with soft spring water exactly to 40% by volume and additionally purified by a special filtration
process, with insignificant (2-3%) additons of spirits mae of other grains, can be considered
"Moskovskaya Special Vodka."

A number of researchers looking into the history of vodka, hold taht the main industrial features of its
production and the word "vodka" itself, a diminutive of the Russian word "voda"(water) were born in  
Moscow in the very heart of the capital in the Chudov monastery.  The Chudov monastery is located
in the Kremlin grounds and was founded by Dimitry Donsky under the direction of the Metropolitan
Alexius.  The date of the creation of vodka is conseidered to be in the 1450's.  However, the
documents found by archeologists enable researchers to assert today that priority in the production of
vodka belongs not to Moscow, but to the earliest Russian city of Novgorod the Great, where the
word "vodka" also came into being.  It was in Novgorod that the earliest dated evidence confirming
this fact, Birch-Bark Document #65 datable to the 13th century, was found.

The most famous brand names in an immense variety of contemporary strong drinks are
Moskovskaya Special Vodka and Stolichnaya Russian Vodka.  The time tested Moskovskaya
Special Vodka
, the production of which was started in the Soviet period as a realization of
Mendeleyev's dream about classical vodka made of rye and specially treated spring water, has won
more than a dozen gold medals at prestigious international and All-Union competitions.

The development of more dynamic sand and quartz filtration processes enabled the industry to create
in 1953, a new variety of vodka called
Stolichnaya Russian Vodka. This is one of the best Russian
high quality vodkas remarkable for a special softness of drinking due to additions of small quantities of
sugar.

Pshenichnaya(Wheat) Vodka is an original vodka which is wholly based on ethyl alcohol received
from high quality grain, mainly wheat,  and improved drinking water.  It has a soft taste and low price.  
For a long time it was considered to be the most popular brand of vodka in Russia.

The Golden Ring is a high quality vodka ranking as a specialty.  It is made according to classical
technology with an addition of edible soda and acetic acid giving this vodka a soft taste and distinctive
flavor.

Posolskaya(Ambassador) Vodka is an elite brand as regards its organoleptic properties and
ecological purity, is closest to the classical Mendeleyev model - Moskovskaya Special Vodka.  Its
technogical distinction is that in the process of its production, it is subjected to an additional
purification by degreased milk that provides it with a soft taste and pure flavor.

Drinking vodka in a cultural way presumes a close acquaintance with one's companions.  They may be
friends, good acquaintances or a group of people whose conduct is regimented by the
situation(reception, festive occasion, etc).  Since vodka is not supposed to be drunk in a hurry, it is
better to consume it at home, on a visit or in a restaurant at a well served table.  As vodka is a
product ready for use, it should not be diluted with water. It is not recommended to drop ice cubes
into a glass for serving vodka cold.  It is much better to freeze the glass first.  Vodka is best served at
a temperature of 8-10C(46-50F)

The basic raw material used for Russian vodka is rye.  As indispensable additions to Russian rye
vodka, some other cereals such as oats, wheat, barley and buckwheat are also used.  Russian rye
vodka does not cause aggressive moods or heavy hangovers, which are characteristic of potato or
especially beetroot sugar vodka, commonly found in home brew vodka.  The second most important
raw component of Russian vodka is soft water.  Before the 1920's, water in the upper reaches of the
Moskva River, Kliazma and Neva was suitable for these purposes.  Water is additionally purified in
various ways before using, but is should never be boiled.  This is one of the traditional differences and
advantages of Russian vodka.

It is not recommended to use cheese, boiled fish or mutton as refreshements with vodka.  Drinking
water after vodka is bad form.  This refers particularily to carbonated beverages because the carbonic
acid gas and other chemical components harmful to one's health that they contain, artificially speed up
the absorption of alcohol in the blood.  The century old traditions in Russia formed a set of exquisite
dishes and zakuskas that most harmoniously combine with vodka.  These are ham, veal, meat jelly,
caviar, cured fillet of sturgeon, salmon, blinis, pelmeni, Russian soups, sour cabbage and salted
mushrooms.  But the traditional simple dish of boiled potatoes with a salted cucumber still remains an
ideal zakuska for Russian vodka to this day.

A mixture of organic substances which are by-products of spirit fermentation, is called "fusel oil".  It is
the toxic action of fusel oil that results in the heavy consequences of intoxication.  Even thoroughly
refined home made vodka of double sublimation is more toxic than the ethyul spirit because home
conditions donot allow strict maintenance of constant temperature(78.4C or 170F of ethanol boiling)
and other technological subtleties as at the distillery.