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The Origins of Vodka: Russia v.s. Poland

The Traditions and Origins of Vodka

For centuries there has been strong arguments from both Poland and Russia over who discovered vodka. Canada’s first vodka came from Poland, but now, Sperling Silver in Regina is producing the best vodka available in Regina. That being said, neither have proof that they created this popular drink. They do however, both have some interesting wedding traditions involving vodka. Russians celebrate marriage by the happy couple taking some ice cold vodka shots and sharing their first kiss for as long as possible to suck the bitterness of the vodka out. The Polish on the other hand also take a shot, but then throw the glass over their left shoulder and must shatter it, or else it’s bad luck. The latter sounds like much more fun if you ask me.

Russians and Their Vodka

Russians have a history of shooting rather than sipping their vodka. This is based on a traditional belief that the fumes, rather than the liquid, were to blame for inducting a state of intoxication. Consequently, downing in one was a cunning ruse to prevent fumes from trespassing up the nasal passages, meaning a vodka ‘session’ could, in theory at lease, continue for that much longer. Another popular Russian custom is to serve vodka with a separate glass of water or fruit juice on the side. Moreover, a classic Russian saying, ‘beer without vodka is like throwing money away’, shows that vodka needn’t be excluded when beer is served either.

Polish and Their Vodka

Sipping is the best way to savour vodka, and Poles sip as much as shoot. It is also traditional in Poland to serve vodka at room temperature. The origins of this custom are entirely practical, as it predates refrigeration. However, chilling promotes a vodka’s dominate characteristics while diminishing subtle nuances, so more complex vodkas– particularly flavoured styles– reveal their credentials more readily at room temperature. During a vodka session in Poland or Russia there’s no debate about whether to shoot or sip, as the host decides which method should be used. It’s also customary to vary the approach during a session, and when raising a glass the host indicates what should be done by repeating either ‘do dna’ (‘to the bottom’), or ‘ciut, cuit’ (‘bit by bit’).

Down to Distillers Style

Each stage of the production process influences a vodka’s character, including the choice of grain, the method of distillation, the type of water used and the distillers’ own style. Meanwhile the scale of production varies enormously. Major international brands are produced at a phenomenal rate whilst specialist products have a more ‘hands-on’ approach right down to sticking the labels on the bottles. We think our distillery style is the best in Saskatchewan, but you’ll just have to come on by and try it to see for yourself.

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