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Do you remember? In the article on beer, I told you that I liked to drink beer with my Russian rocker friends in Russian bars, because there’s also vodka, and sometimes it changes the course of the evening. So I’ll tell you a little story about this alcohol, which is very (too?) popular in Russia. And very (too?) cheap! And whose choice seems unlimited!
First, a little culture. That’s right, it’s not because we’re drinking that we can’t be cultured! Let’s look at the etymology of the word ‘vodka’ (водка in Russian). ‘Vodka’ comes from the word ‘вода’, which means ‘water’, and which is pronounced ‘vada’ and not ‘voda’. One could say that vodka means ‘little water’ or ‘water of life’.
This alcohol is often made from the potato, although it can be made from other ingredients. And it’s distilled to obtain a white alcohol of 40 °, with a slight taste. Indeed, although I shouldn’t boast about it, after 10 years spent in Moscow and my excessive consumption of vodka, it’s still difficult for me to tell the difference between two vodkas. I can say that one is better than the other, but I can’t distinguish the taste. That said, there’s still some really bad vodka.
However, when my friends and I drink vodka, I’ll tell you honestly, we don’t care about the taste! Here too, it’s like beer, what we want is quantity!
And here, the quantity is unlimited! In addition, in Russia, and not only in Moscow, many bars are open 24 hours a day. And there is, to my knowledge, no legislation to refuse to serve a drunk client. At least this is what it seems. You can drink until you aren’t thirsty anymore – you’ll be served what you ask, as long as you pay!
Russians drink pure vodka, accompanied by small things to eat, zakuski (Закуски), which could be translated as ‘snacks’. Or they accompany it with fruit juice, slices of lemon, and even beer! But it’s very, very rare to drink it mixed, as we do in France!
Besides, still a funny thing, in Russia, we order vodka in grams. Let me explain: the drinking places serve it by the glass (50ml), or sometimes 40ml! And so we order 50 ‘grams’ of vodka. You can also order a carafe, and then you choose the quantity: 100ml (100grams), 150ml (150grams), 200ml (200grams) etc … or a bottle (500ml, 700ml, 1 litre!). This practice of selling a bottle is forbidden, it seems to me, in France, except in nightclubs.
When you order the vodka, you tell the waiter/waitress how many vodka glasses you want, and the waiter comes back with what you asked for.
As I said, many bars stay open all night – and there can be consequences.
I’m not going to say it’s a habit, but it’s happened to most of us. But don’t panic! If you vomit in a bar in Russia, even on the floor next to the table, like one of my friends did, or near the entrance (like I did), it doesn’t matter. A woman in an apron will come and clean your vomit and life goes on! In fact, neither the waiter nor the bouncer intervenes. It’s not their problem. Everyone has his job. The waiter serves, the bouncer controls, the housekeeper does the housework …… and the customers drink!
Considering the number of alcoholic parties I’ve attended in Russia, I’ve rarely seen a fight. But it has happened that the spirits are warm and sometimes things get out of control. But after a couple of half-hearted punches exchanged between guys, calm quickly returns.
Going home – winner: last metro, taxi, night bus, first metro?
One of the hardest things to do while drinking, is to know when to stop. When you’re with friends, it’s difficult not to drink too much. But even harder sometimes, is finding the way home.
Luckily for us, for the last 5 years in Moscow, there are night buses. And we have one that stops at our metro station, not even a ten minute walk from home. It’s very convenient, so we use it often. But don’t forget to wake up at your stop. Otherwise, you arrive at the terminus.
Going home – loser
Can you can guess what happened to me one night, when Cheryl wasn’t with me? I fell asleep in this famous night bus and woke up at the terminus. And it happened to me twice. The second time was when I was 49 years and 356 days old! (We’re a bit irresponsible until we turn 50!)
But what you don’t know is that the terminus of this night bus is the Sheremetyevo International Airport! About 30 km from our home! I can tell you that the alarm clock was violent! And the return from there to our flat was a nightmare. I’ll give you the details maybe another time.
In concerts, there’s also vodka and it’s often quite cheap. It was quite strange for me at first to drink vodka at punk concerts. But eventually I got used to it. It gives us some good energy and we don’t need to go and pee every five minutes, as we do with beer.
There are also happy hour bars. Including one that, on Thursday nights, offers two free drinks when you buy one! It’s no longer happy hour, it’s a crime scene! Of course, I’ve been a few times, for the modest sum of about $6 AUD, 3.50 Euro, $4 USD, you get 150ml of vodka. Suffice to say that, at this price, getting drunk is almost inevitable! (Un)fortunately, I haven’t been back there for a while. It’s too much! Not the bill, no. I’m talking about the pain of the next day!
As you may know, I’ve had to calm down on vodka. Otherwise, it’s going to be cirrhosis! It was my liver and my doctor who told me. So, since I’m serious, every morning I watch the video of this song from a group called Aquarium: the song’s called ‘Mum, I can’t drink anymore!’ (Аквариум – Мама, я не могу больше пить)
But that doesn’t stop me from continuing to go to concerts and hanging out in bars, even though I don’t stay out as long as I used to, and I drink cheap beer, instead of drinking vodka of dubious quality!
And your liver? How is it? The same as an 18 year old’s? I doubt it! Come on, send us your laboratory analysis in the comments! Let’s have a laugh!
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Health advice: Drinking alcohol, including beer, and smoking cigarettes is dangerous for your health. Never Mind the Wrinkles doesn’t recommend or condone these activities.Follow us: