When one receives an invitation to a Russian food and Vodka party you know its going to be an interesting party. One that I wasn’t sure I wanted to attend. Mostly because I knew it would be a vodka party and I prefer soft drinks to alcohol. I finally decided to stay home and watch movies on this Friday night. But my friends got to the party, called me and told me that many of my blogger friends were there. So I grabbed a taxi and off to Lavington I went. And I was glad I did. It was a 3F’s party; Food, Fun and Fellowship party.
The party was hosted by Katya Dyachenko who actually makes the Aqula vodka. She was kind enough to have us over to her house and to cook for a crew of hungry bloggers – we like our food and those who like to drink, can drink like fishes.
Katya told us that we drink vodka in the wrong way. Vodka’s primary role is not to get one drunk but to get warm. With winters like the ones they have in Russia you can understand why they would need to keep warm. It is important to eat as you drink the vodka. With every course, a toast is made and a tot taken. The toasts in this case were very funny and some even got some people blushing.
One of the surprising things that I learnt is that the best way to take vodka is with pickles. Once you down a shot, you are supposed to eat the pickle quickly. Try it. It may or may not work for you. I am assuming they take it that way because pickles were readily available in Russia which is not the case here. You can always experiment if you don’t like the pickle to see what works with it.
We started by having borsch, which is a soup which has cabbage, beetroot and some vegetables. The soup was red in colour, owning I guess to the beetroot. It was quite tasty. We had it with some black bread that wasn’t quite like anything I have tasted before. All I can say is that it is an acquired taste.
So there was a toast, then the soup, then another toast after which people dug in to the food. There was some sort of wild rice (I don’t know what kind of Russian rice that was), meat, chicken, and a red cabbage salad. The food was delicious and those who had enjoyed the black bread also ate some of the food with it. Because we are Kenyan, we also got to have a leg of mbuzi nyama choma. We also had fruits for dessert. A great end to a perfect meal.
Drinking vodka should be a communal thing if I got it right.You are supposed to enjoy it together as friends or family as you have a meal together. That is exactly what we did. Had a great meal with great Aqula vodka (for those who were drinking it). I do have to say that I gave in to peer pressure and had one tot. It wasn’t bad. Luckily wherever there is a Russian vodka party there is a lot of cranberry juice so I got to enjoy myself as well with that. Cranberry juice is also a great mixer for vodka so if you are looking for something to mix vodka with that’s a great mix to try.
According to my friends they did not have a hangover the next day. I don’t know whether it was because we ate first or that Aqula does not have a hangover.
The Aqula vodka is distilled and bottled in Russia. Aqula is made from an original Russian recipe by Katya who was born in Russia but who now calls Kenya home. It is grain vodka which apparently is considered to be higher quality then potato vodka. Aqula comes in 500ml and 250 ml bottles which can be found in Nakumatt or BoozeDuka. You can also order directly.
Maybe its time we started our own vodka traditions and maybe borrow something from the Russians. The Russian food and vodka party was very insightful as to how Russians have a meal with vodka. The setting was very Russian from the dishes to the setting so it felt like we were transported to Russia for a little while (the only thing missing was Russian being spoken). All I can say is that if you ever get an invitation to a Russian food and vodka party you should definitely attend.
Photo credits. http://spyce.co.ke/aqula-vodka-tasting-party/