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August 29, 2007


W. Shedd

Privet Bert. Regarding the effects of drinking vodka without feeling especially drunk, I might suggest Konstantin's (perhaps antiquated) blog http://konstantin2005.blogspot.com/2005/09/how-to-drink-vodka-and-stay-sober.html for his take on the topic.

Personally, I think food with alcohol always limits its effects, and the Russian urban lifestyle does require lots of walking (unlike the U.S., for example). Maybe banyas offer some assistance as well - at the very least it makes for a great excuse to visit!

I've found that typically the rate of vodka consumption is about one shot every 15 to 20 minutes over a period of a couple of hours. If you keep that up for very long, it is sure to catch up with you, but for a typical meal it is just enough to feel a little tipsy.

Jesse Heath

When I studied in Russia, I was often a guest at dinners that involved several (i.e., 4-5) hours of eating punctuated by vodka drinking, or several hours of vodka drinking punctuated by eating. I was amazed at my tolerance and have never re-created this situation in the States. In addition to eating after every shot, I would point out that Russians remain seated for almost the entire time and are always engaged in lively conversation. I think this keeps you from over-exerting yourself but mentally 'aware' and thereby staves off the bad effects of the alcohol. Banya helps too...


Very interesting report. I didn't know "zakuski and vodka". It sounds that I can't drink that much though, W. Shedd said that there is a way to be sober. The point is eating immediately after taking a shot. Wow.., Is this way only zakuski and vodka? It doesn't effect with other alcohols?


Thanks for your comments.
Jesse said : "I was amazed at my tolerance and have never re-created this situation in the States."

This is the point, I was thinking the same thing and I forgot to develop it: Although I never really tried, I'm deeply convinced that somehow the magic wouldn't work here in France, even if I could manage to gather the same style of food.

The Konstantin's page about the subject is very insightful, thank you for the link, Wally.

I never tried to gulp wine glasses and have food immediately after, Hikalu, but I also doubt it would work (and the tasting side of the wine would be missed).


There also may be something about the vinegar in many of the zakuski (lots of the food is pickled, right?) that helps the liver and kidneys process the alcohol. Sort of like the trick of using white wine to get red wine stains out of your clothing...

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