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The Great Vodka Taste Test

The Great Vodka Taste Test

Our man in Moscow samples 11 premium brands in one wild night.

The First Nip

It was time to confront the fear. Thanks to a dare from vanityfair.com, there were 11 bottles of vodka in the freezer. When I nervously took a peek at them, I noticed that the freezers pall of frost had obscured the Cyrillic on their labels in a thick, crystalline haze. I was going to need some help.

The doorbell rang, and I welcomed a few friends into my apartment in a Brezhnev-era high-rise in central Moscow. They had arrived to lend a gullet in taste-testing the new breed of Russia’s premium vodkas. The editorial rationale? In the last several years Russia has seen a remarkable elevation in the status of its national drink, as a slew of premium brands has created an entirely new market for pricey vodka. And Moscow and St. Petersburg, Eastern Europe’s 21st-century capitals of wealth and decadence, are the places where these spirits are consumed with greatest enthusiasm.

This sounds like my kind of party.

Good friends … good booze … as long as there’s a good place to crash and sleep off the effects afterwards.

And I’m still looking for the premium tonics

flahute