Its name is quite a proclamation, but to stand out in the very, very crowded vodka category, you need to be nothing less than bold.
Distillery: St. Petersburg, Russia
Still Type: column
Awards: Gold, 2020 Spirits Business Vodka Masters
- Provides a blank slate for mixing and infusing.
- Its neutral flavor makes it great with mixers and modifiers such as juices and tonic or sodas.
- Its viscous body might be a turnoff for those who look for a complete blank slate in vodka. However, its texture is complementary to the Russian tradition of cold vodka served alongside food.
Nose: Minimal aromatics, except for a nearly imperceptible sweetness from the grain base
Palate: Clean, mildly sweet from its wheat base, and surprisingly peppery on the palate, this vodka also hits the tongue with an almost unctuous, oily texture.
Finish: The lingering sensation is all about the peppery notes and the alcohol. The unctuousness dissipates and the finish is very dry and clean.
Russian Standard’s self-made billionaire owner, Roustam Tariko, also founded an insurance company and a bank, and owns his own Boeing 737. The vodka his company created in the late 1990s seems like it has a particular traditional focus: To be served cold and with food. It is silky and almost voluptuous in the mouth, and makes a nice primer for meats, a variety of pickled foods, and other traditional Russian dishes, and its barely perceptible aromatics mean that while it doesn’t necessarily complement any dishes, it certainly doesn’t compete or clash with them, either.
Chill it down and give it a shot (pun absolutely intended). Of course, mixing this vodka in cocktails is entirely fine, too. It makes an excellent complement for soda in highballs (like the ubiquitous Vodka Soda) or juice-centric cocktails, and its soft viscosity would add even more velvety texture to drinks using cream or eggs.
Russian Standard is the rare widely distributed spirit that’s independently owned by a sole proprietor, Roustam Tariko, a self-made Russian billionaire who at one point worked as a street sweeper. His company, Roust, also owns Żubrówka Polish vodka.
The bottom line: Russian Standard Original vodka is both food-friendly and nicely mixable.