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The Crack Magazine

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The Dedalus Book of Vodka

Geoffrey Elborn, Dedalus, £15

After alcohol prohibition ended in Russia (it ran from the beginning of the First World War until 1924) the populace returned to vodka with gusto and a family of eight, with the help of thirty guests, celebrated by polishing off 36 litres of the stuff (along with a sheep and a pig) and then had to spend the rest of the year living off bread, cucumbers and potatoes. Kids also got stuck in but the estimated forty percent of children who didn’t partake, could often be found parading outside of factories with placards that read “We demand sober parents” and “Shoot drunks”. This is just one of the many fascinating tales related in this book which follows on from an equally anecdote packed Dedalus book on gin. There’s information on the drink’s history; how it gained popularity in the US and UK; James Bond’s love of a vodka martini (he first supped it in the second 007 novel “Live And Let Die”, 1954); its relationship with literature and music; a tasting guide; and various cocktail recipes. A very spirited account. 

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