Let’s try a little word association: When we say “Russia,” what pops into your mind? For many, it’s vodka. But just because Russians are good at making the spirit doesn’t mean that they are pounding down shots all day long.
“People think that we drink vodka for the lunch, for the dinner for the breakfast, but actually it's not because it's a really strong drink,” said Alina Ibragimova, a manager at Druzhba Restaurant in Rosa Khutor near the Olympics’ mountain venues.
TODAY’s Lester Holt, who admits he’s not much of a vodka drinker, got a tutorial from Ibragimova drinking six different vodkas over the course of an hour.
While some of it was surprisingly smooth, it also put a little extra hair on Holt’s chest.
"Very manly. A little burn in the throat ... it's like my insides are on fire,” he said after trying the Siberian Husky Vodka, the strongest of the bunch.
Lester ended up with a new appreciation for the spirit, but when we asked him if he’d switch his fine wine for sips of vodka, he deadpanned: “No, I don’t think so.”
Want to try your own vodka tasting? Here’s a list of the vodkas that Lester tried, along with a few Russian toasts to help you throw it down:
- Russkii Standart (Russian Standard)
- Belaya Ber'ozka (White Birch)
- Belaya ber'ozka Moroznaya Klukva ( White Birch Ice Cranberry)
- Siberian Husky
- Pyat' oz'or (5 Lakes)
- Za zdorov'e (for health)
- Za lubov' (for love)
- Za detei (for kids)
- Za mir vo vs'om mire (for peace on Earth)
- Za myjchin (for men)
- Za dryjby (for friendship)