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Cooking for the Modern Gentleman: What to Serve with Vodka

29. November 2012 by Xavier 0 Comments

Next time you get together with the guys, why not swap out the usual beer and chips for a sophisticated vodka spread?

In Russia, vodka is always served with an array of hearty, tasty foods. Vodka is said to enhance the flavor of foods. Having a bite to eat in between drinks also adds a bit of cushioning that can prevent hangovers.

If you want to drink your vodka like a Russian, always drink it chilled and neat. The classic Russian vodka ritual goes like this:


  • Pour everyone a shot.
  • Pick up a bite of food on your fork.
  • Take a strong whiff of your food.
  • Tip up that glass of vodka, and drink it quick!
  • Inhale the aroma of your food again, then eat.

Russians swear that this combination of actions makes it all taste better and can protect you against feeling bad the morning after a great night with friends.

You don’t need to spend hours slaving in the kitchen for the food. A combination of simple store-bought foods and a few homemade treats is ideal. A few suggestions on what to serve for a traditional and delicious vodka-accompaniment spread:

Smoked fish. This can be thin-sliced smoked salmon, smoked herring or any other you enjoy.
A dish of fruits and cheeses. Grapes and watermelon go great with vodka.
Boiled potatoes with lots of butter.
Katletta. A Russian, hamburger-like cutlet.

Recipes for your homemade treats:

Boiled Potatoes

1 pound baby potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste

In a medium pan, cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. The potatoes are fully cooked when they can be pierced easily with a fork or skewer. Drain the potatoes, and rub off the skins. The peels should slide off easily. Slice the potatoes into disks about 1/8 of an inch thick. Toss gently with the butter and spices and serve warm.


½ pound ground pork
½ pound ground beef or turkey
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ small onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

Grate the onion and garlic. This is quickest with a food processor, but can also be accomplished with a blender or a hand grater. In a bowl, add the onion mixture to the remaining ingredients and mix well. Grab portions of the meat mixture a little larger than a walnut. Pat into a shape like a thick hamburger patty. Repeat with the rest of the meat mixture.

Preheat your oven to 400.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat enough olive oil to lightly cover the pan. Put patties in a few at a time, ensuring that there’s about half an inch between them. (Any closer, and they’ll steam instead of brown.) Cook a couple of minutes on each side, enough to get a nice browned exterior.

Put the katletta in a large baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes.