Sochi, Vodka, Cheers!

Oakville Sommelier

Sochi, Vodka, Cheers!
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Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada.Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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In celebration of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi I thought it would be a good time to write about a liquor that Russia is famous for, vodka. Although this drink has been ingrained in their history for centuries, there are still many opinions as to the origins of this spirit. Was it first made in Russia, Poland, or Persia? Regardless, vodka is a large part of the Russian culture and a favourite drink good for most any occasion.

Did you know that the word vodka came to be in the 1600s, derived from the Russian word for water: voda. Vodka is a neutral white spirit often described as colourless and tasteless, unless it is a brand which has been flavoured with fruits, herbs, or spices. It can be distilled from a number of things including potatoes, grain, and grapes to name a few. Russian Vodka is typically made from grain. For instance Stolichnaya uses wheat and rye grains, and Russian Standard uses winter grains. The United States produces vodka from a gamut of things including corn as the base grain and molasses. Cîroc Ultra-Premium Vodka is made from the grapes Mauzac Blanc (a traditional white grape originating in the Gaillac and Limoux areas of France) and Ugni Blanc (the most planted white grape in France, originating in Italy where it is called Trebbiano), and Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers located in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada distills this spirit in the classic vodka method from local Niagara wine grapes.

To be traditional, serve chilled vodka neat in a shot glass. Also known as the mixable spirit, you can mix it up in a multitude of ways. Drink recipes to get your juices stirring from: Stoli, Russian StandardDillon’s. Then there is the classic Canadian cocktail that comes to my mind which was invented in 1969, the Bloody Caesar. In its modern form, a mixture of Vodka, Clamato Juice, Worcester Sauce, Tabasco Sauce, Salt, Pepper, over ice in a Celery Salt rimmed glass garnished with a Celery Stick and Lime Wedge. With 20 Olympic Medals to date for the Canadian Olympic team including Gold in Freestyle Skiing, Short Track, Bobsleigh, and also both Women’s Curling and Hockey teams winning their Gold Medal games on Day 13, I’ll drink to that, Cheers!

So there you have it: Sochi, Vodka, Cheers!


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