For most visitors to Russia, there probably is no more culturally iconic a thing than vodka. Which bodes well for a new Moscow museum devoted to the national drink.
The Vodka Museum -- new to Moscow, but originally located in St. Peterburg -- displays more than 50,000 bottles of vodka, including many special versions of the drink, including some bottles produced more than two centuries ago. Visitors are offered samples of 10 different vodkas.
Vodka and Russia have a mutually intertwined history. In addition to being the drink of choice for celebrations and general socializing, there was a time when a bottle of vodka became a kind of national currency, "preferable to cash payments," according to the museum's curators.
They note, "In the beginning of the 1920s during a serious financial crisis when there was a shortage of monetary units, vodka labels served as cash in Siberia. This drink also plays a significant role in the Russian language and folklore. In other words, vodka is an important component of Russian life, an element of national identity and everyday culture."
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