The Facts

While vodka has become an international drink, there are still drinking traditions in Russia which are centuries old but are still closely observed today. Drinking vodka 'a la ruse' means drinking it in accordance with these customs and we at Nikita's encourage you to give them a try!

Vodka is meant to be drunk chilled and neat, without mixing it with other drinks. We chill our vodkas to below 10C and serve it to you in carafes set into blocks of ice. This keeps the vodka at the ideal temperature as Russians do not believe in putting ice into their vodka to chill it - vodka is perfect, why add anything to it? Give it a go because as the traditional Russian saying goes, "the first charka (shot) may come like a stick in your throat, but the second flies in like a falcon and the others just dive like small birdies".

For Russians, vodka is part of the meal and they drink their vodka during dinner as well as before and after it. You should drink your vodka in small sips relishing its aroma and taste.

"Budem zdorovy" "For our health"

"Za udachu" - "For good luck"

"Na dorozhku" - "For the way" (a toast to make before leaving - the Russian equivalent of one for the road)

"Daj Bog ne v poslednij raz" - "Hopefully it's not the last time we drink, with God's help"

Russians will even drink to celebrate new purchases - this known as "obmyt" which literally means to "wash" the new object. So don't feel guilty about that shopping spree - at Nikita's it's a cause for celebration!

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