Nothing stirs the Russian heart better than a good shot of vodka (or two). Though it seems that vodka has been a national drink for centuries, it is, in fact, relatively new and became an inseparable part of life in Russia only in the twentieth century. How did it happen?
This conversation will explain who came up with the recipe for vodka (and is it really made of wheat?) as well as exploring the cultural influence of the drink. We will also trace key moments in the economic development of the country: from Count Witte's financial reforms of 1895-1897 to Gorbachev's devastative ""dry law"" of 1985.
As a practical part of the seminar we are going to learn to find delight in this rather harsh spirit by focusing on the ways how better to serve vodka, what to pair it with, and what varieties of the drink to choose (and on what occasion). If vodka enthusiasts would like to taste along, we recommend participants to have a sample of pure vodka without flavoring and another one with a flavour. The vodka brand and flavor does not matter; we will compare both during the seminar.
Led by St Petersburg art historian, guide, and amateur sommelier Vladimir Ivanov, this seminar aims at showing the complexity of the Russian national drink. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of how and why Russians drink and produce vodka.
About Your Expert
Holding an MA in Classics, Vladimir is an author of a book called “Inspired by outer space: images of the future in late Soviet architecture” and a key contributor to TASCHEN's edition "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed". Vladimir has written articles on contemporary art for local media, done podcasts on photography and the Russian revolution. He has also curated a number of exhibitions, including "The Cradle of the Faith: Christian Presence in the Middle East" in New Michael Palace and "Lingua Sacra" in the Imperial Public Library. Currently, he is doing architectural walks in St Petersburg and shares his vast knowledge of arts through the tours of the Hermitage and Russian museums.
Not suitable for children under age 13 (sensitive content).
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.