Tasting Vodka in St. Petersburg

December 9, 2010

Cranberry, Horseradish, and Garlic Vodka, along with typical Russian appetizers, served at a restaurant in St. Petersburg

During our summer vacation cruise of the Baltic region, we took a shore excursion in St. Petersburg billed as “Life Through the Eyes of the Russian People.” It included a tour of the city’s massive subway system, a project undertaken during the Stalin era; a visit to a farmers’ market; a stop for souvenir shopping; and a vodka tasting at a “real” Russian restaurant.

The restaurant had the ambience of a Long John Silver and was filled with Americans from our cruise ship and others in port that day–no locals in sight.

We were served a trio of cranberry-, horseradish-, and garlic-flavored Vodkas, along with typical Russian appetizers.

The appetizers included a chunk of dill pickle skewered on a plastic toothpick along with a tasteless cherry tomato and canapes layered with coleslaw, whitefish, cucumbers, and other bland spreads and veggies.

If this was typical bar fare, I was glad I didn’t live in Russia!

Once back in the tour bus, our guide announced that “real” Russians would never drink flavored Vodka–only the straight stuff. And that most women eschew Vodka for Champagne (my kind of women!). The spread we had sampled was strictly for the tourist buses!

Preferred nibblies with alcoholic beverages  among St. Petersburg natives include brown bread with pickled herring, pickles of various types, and vegetables of the season.

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