|"I'd totally drink that sh*t" - N. Gogol|
|Nikolai Gogol and Shustoff are my favorite things to come out of Ukraine|
Vodka (Водка in the cyrillic alphabet) is the diminutive of voda (Вода) which is the Russian word (also shared across the other Slavic languages) for "water". Similar to eau de vie in French, uisce beatha in Gaeilge, or aqua vitae in Latin, which all roughly translated to "the water of life," it equates a distillate as having some sort of spiritual, life-affirming (or medicinal) quality.
It can be distilled from anything that can ferment. The most popular base products are grains, potatoes, molasses, and sugar beets. Each base product creates a different tasting vodka. Some are distilled many times, others are filtered but the idea that the true essence of that base product can be captured in a final distillate is what makes vodka so interesting to me. However, most people do not appreciate that.
So I will spend this post on what is my favorite vodka: Shustoff Luxury Vodka.
This is a wheat vodka comes from Ukraine. I'm not sure how many times it was distilled but it's very smooth. I've described it to others as "drinking velvet bunnies." It has a sweet and spicy nose with hints of graphite. It has an herbal and mineral-y taste with only a little bit of heat from the alcohol.
Unfortunately, I can't find it in my hometown anymore. However, I encourage you to look for it - you will not be disappointed.