Whenever most people think of Russia one of the first things that comes to mind is of course Russian vodka. So no wonder that nowadays in St Petersburg there is an excellent museum fully devoted to this strong alcoholic drink — The Russian Vodka Museum!
The museum is not too big but to visit it is a lot of fun. During the tour you will learn where it all started, that vodka was not that strong at first and was a product of distillation. In the times of Peter the Great if a person was late to one of his parties – so called assemblies – he or she no matter where they were from or how old they were had to drink one liter of vodka in one shot! Fortunately for those people in those days vodka was not that strong yet (not 40% as today), it was more like a strong wine, and that is why it was not as dangerous as it would have been today. However people could still faint.
In times of Catherine the Great a lot of people were producing vodka, so being a very wise woman, she introduced a special tax for vodka which reasonably increased the budget of the country.
And of course the exhibition reveals the secret of how the vodka we know today was invented. The recipe for ideal vodka was discovered just in the end of the 19th century and as such vodka is a relatively new spirit. The main idea of the exhibition is to show a deep connection between this strong traditional Russian drink and the history of this vast country.
The museum boasts of a great collection of small liqueur and shot glasses of different shapes, materials, and sizes. Among the exhibits there are bottles with tied necks (to remind us about the “dry law” when it was strictly prohibited to drink at all). On display there is also a bottle of wine taken from the cellar of Gering when the Soviet army reached Germany during the World War II.
However the museum is not just an exhibition. It is also a place where you will be able to try different kinds of vodka with traditional Russian snacks (such as pickles or a herring sandwich) and not only to try but also to buy! The bar of the museum offers a great variety of different vodkas produced all over Russia.
So during the visit you will learn that drinking vodka is not as simple as it seems! Drinking vodka is not just about drinking but also a fascinating rite (including lots of food) which was formed during centuries! So pay a visit and feel yourself Russian!