Choosing the right drink for caviar is a delicate matter: it should never overpower the taste of fish roe and serve as a palate cleanser. The standard choice of connoisseurs would be caviar with wine or champagne, however, if you dive deeper into history, you will find another popular beverage.
Caviar and vodka pairing starts its history in the Old World, especially from the so-called “vodka belt”, which includes Eastern Europe and Scandinavia countries. Such a strong connection between the delicacy and the beverage was born from the great compatibility between salty, oily roes and neutral, cleansing vodka taste.
Of course, a big role also played their origins: historically, the caviar industry comes from Russia, where vodka has been a traditional drink from the dawn of times. Hence, local royalty and aristocrats have enjoyed Russian caviar and vodka for centuries, then exporting this pairing to other countries.
How to eat caviar with vodka?
The most simple way to eat caviar will be to put a small portion on a spoon (by no means on a metallic one, as it will compromise the flavor), eat it, and follow with a shot of ice-cold vodka. Sounds a bit hardcore, right?
But don’t worry! If you are not ready for such a minimalistic approach, you can serve caviar with vodka alongside other dishes, and this would make your dinner more diverse and exciting.
If you want to keep the delicacy as a centerpiece of your table, you can serve it with buttered bread, crackers, or dry toast. They won’t hide the natural flavors of fish eggs but only highlight them. You will get the same outcome by serving blinis with caviar and vodka — traditional thin Eastern European pancakes. By also adding a drop of sour cream or crème fraîche, you will get an elegant and balanced appetizer enjoyed by connoisseurs since very long ago.
If you don’t mind using caviar as a garnish for more substantial dishes, we would suggest considering serving pasta with caviar and vodka. It would definitely differ from old-school approaches to caviar degustation, but it doesn’t mean that it would taste bad.
How to serve caviar and vodka?
Caviar and vodka are both special products, and without following some basic principles, you might become disappointed with your experience. However, these rules are pretty simple and won’t demand a lot of effort from you.
Keep It Cold
Vodka is a strong spirit that should be drunk neat with caviar. Hence, it is essential to keep it at an ice-cold temperature, which will contribute to the soft taste this drink might have. And trust us, there is nothing more disgusting than a warm shot of vodka. So, when you acquire a bottle of this drink, immediately put it in the freezer until you are ready to serve.
At the same time, you should also store your caviar in a cool place. You don’t need to be as radical and put it in the freezer, the regular fridge temperature would be enough to preserve the fish roe freshness for a few days.
Use The Right Tableware
The accessories are another essential part of your tasting. In the past, there were even special serving sets for the occasion that included special servers, ice platters, vodka glasses, and so on. Of course, it was a luxury afforded by royalty and the wealthy, and while representing sophistication and high class, it is not mandatory.
To enjoy the delicacy, your minimum would include a spoon and a server. Avoid any metallic accessories and give preference to glass, wood, and mother of pearl which would save the natural caviar taste.
The vodka can be served in different types of glasses, but the best way to drink it neat would be from a shot glass which was previously put in the fridge for cooling.
To get the most from the tasting, take your time to balance caviar bites and shots. Vodka will only ignite your appetite, so prepare some garnishes and try different combinations. But don’t forget the first bite only of caviar and follow it with vodka to feel the pure taste of both products.
The best vodka for caviar we recommend
Should you try only the best Russian vodka with caviar? Truth be told, Russia doesn’t have a monopoly over this spirit, and it has been inherent for other countries from that region as well, like Ukraine or Finland. Moreover, you can easily find US brands that aren’t lesser than brands from vodka-belt countries. So, here are three brands we find to be a good match for caviar.
Leopold Silver Tree Small Batch
A craft US vodka brand with a full-bodied mouthfeel will be a good match for the caviar, especially considering the vanilla and sweet potato aroma consumers notice. The silky, smooth taste won’t overwhelm your taste buds, so you would be able to enjoy the salty caviar flavor in full.
This premium vodka from Finland with more than a 50-years history will be a great treat for you and your guest on your caviar-dedicated dinner. Finlandia is smooth and crisp, which makes it easy to drink neat, and with a complementary bite of sturgeon caviar, it will make a splash.
St.George All Purpose Vodka
Another great example of US-made vodka, but this time, made from pears. While the company offers different flavored types of the drink, this All Purpose vodka will be perfect to sip neat while trying various caviar sorts.
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