The Downtown landmark is the only restaurant in Pittsburgh to make the Wine Enthusiast’s 2017 list ... again.
"Vodka shimmered in its glass as Russia's poetry, its mythos, its metaphysical joy ... a liquid cultural yardstick." -- "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking" by Anya Von Bremzen
Vodka shimmered for us in St. Petersburg. Here are some favorites and what we paid per 50-milliliter shot.
Premium ($12): Beluga, considered super premium, very pure, with smoothness we could identify from blind lineups. Polugar No. 1, Wheat and Rye, is old-style vodka. Sometimes called "bread wine," it is sipped at room temperature, smells like grain and tastes faintly sweet.
Mid-range ($6 to $8): We preferred Russian Standard over Smirnof or White Birch, the latter said to be Russia's third-best-selling brand. We found lots to like in Samogon Kosogorov. The word samogon means "self-distilled," a salute to Russia's proud history of moonshiners. Kosogorov is the maker. Not as "purified," this one had rounder flavor than most.
Availability: PLCB carries Russian Standard and Smirnov. We wanted Beluga and arranged to get it from out of state.