Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Potato Vodka is *not* "real Russian vodka"

There's a myth in the West that "real Russian vodka" is made from potatoes. True, vodka can be made from potatoes (as it can be made from anything containing enough calories), but it's usually far inferior to vodka made from wheat -- which is, in fact, the "real Russian vodka," and potato vodka is generally considered to be cheap swill suited for hobos.

A few weeks ago, there was a program on CBC where an invited guest was an "artisan distiller from PEI" who specialized in making vodka from potatoes. Since, hey, we were going to PEI, and, hey, I have some experience consuming vodka from my Russian years, we've decided to pay them a visit.

55 dollars later, I can sadly confirm that potato vodka, even when made by "artisan distillers" is still cheap mediocre vodka. Don't believe everything you hear on the radio. :)

Of course, if all you have around is potatoes, making potato vodka makes sense. However, for good vodka, you should still go see trusted brands that are made from wheat.

Not a big loss. We'll use the bottle that we got to make a "ryabinovka" -- a rowan liquor. Should taste passable. There's no lack of rowan berries around this time of year.


Casey said...

Can you recommend a brand?

Anonymous said...

Try the Finnish Finlandia vodka. Wheat, pretty good. Also higher standards than in russian vodkas (no methanol thank you).

Unknown said...

My Polish friend tells me that proper "artisan" potato vodka should be made in a dirty bathtub. ;-)

My personal favourite is Grey Goose, quite tasty.

Anonymous said...

Grey Go-o-o-se! No, thanks!
How can French understand anything in vodka? They should stick to making cognac...
Safe bets in vodka are Stoli, Finlandia, Absolut. Some newer Russian brands, like Russian Standard or Akdov are good too.

Anonymous said...

Absoult is a cheap vodka in a pretty package. For an a decent vodka at a good price go with go with Kettle One, Stoli is OK for flavored vodkas and Finlandia is good, but anyone who says Absolut knows nothing about vodka.

Chris said...

Personally I think Vodka should be as tasteless as possible. It's basically ethanol to mix in cocktails.
Want a "real" Russian drink? Find Kvass (квас). A distilled spirit? Scotch.
A fine Vodka? A stupid concept for alcoholics with too much money.
То знай: за честь должна считать