Vodka is synonymous with Russia. The spirit was first developed in what is now present day Russia some 500 years ago. The region's preeminence is partially due to the stature vodka holds in the Russian culture and that making vodka was a family tradition with one generation handing down the secrets to the next. Such is the case with Real Russian Vodka, a classically structured, Russian-style vodka now being made in the U.S.
Instead of Moscow or Leningrad, Real Russian Vodka is made at the Premiere Distillery in Gurnee, IL, which is located just outside of Chicago. The handcrafted vodka is distilled entirely from winter wheat in a copper pot still. In 1905, the grandfather of the brand owner and master distiller was granted special permission from the Tsar to make vodka. Real Russian is distilled according to the same heirloom recipe.
"Our family's vodka is distilled a total of 6 times and then filtered 10 times," says Inna Feldman-Gerber, president and co-founder of Real Russian Vodka. "My father is a skilled craftsman, a third-generation master distiller from Russia. He pulls all of the oils and impurities from the alcohol, making it pure and smooth and yet retaining some body and aromatics. As a result it can be sipped and enjoyed on it's own. Each bottle has great love and history behind it."
Be prepared to be seriously impressed. The small batch vodka has pristine clarity, a creamy textured, medium-weight body and a generous nose of semisweet grain, cloves, citrus zest and light tropical fruit notes. It's an impressive aromatic display for a vodka. Real Russian raises only a trace of heat as is bathes the palate with the subtle flavors of anise, cocoa, black pepper and cinnamon. The finish is long, dry and silky smooth.
Among the many laudable things surrounding this vodka is that Real Russian carries a suggested retail price of only $19.99. That's a lot of vodka for such a remarkably modest price.
It's ironic a brand like Real Russian Vodka should turn out to reaffirm that pursuing the American Dream is still a plausible proposition. Work hard and persevere in the direction of your dreams and success is an attainable goal.
"When my family emigrated to this country in 1979, we left Russia with basically nothing," says Feldman-Gerber. "Over time our family accrued enough resources to open our distillery. It's gratifying that our dream has come true."