Zero vodka. In a world of corporate branding, this seemed like a pretty good name for a vodka: short, meaningful, easy to remember.
„Hey, what have you been drinking?“
I bought this half-liter for 150 som (less than 4€/700ml: 10/10) in a tiny shop in a tiny village on the shores of giant lake Issyk-kul. I took it to my room and decided to save it for dinner. Then I got my towel and went out to the lake. The lake was so big that there were actual waves in it. They weren’t big, but they kept crushing in as if the lake thought it was an ocean. I bounced around in the water for a while, then I lay down on the sand.
This is when suddenly this dude appeared. He lay down next to me, and I could smell alcohol on his breath. He asked me some questions, then started inquiring about the possibility of lending him 50 som. To make his point, he put a finger to his neck, the Russian sign for the consumption of alcoholic beverages. I looked around. The sun was high in the sky, I was yet to have lunch.
That night, I had a little bit of alcohol by myself.
Zero vodka = zero harmful impurities
See the little note on the label that says: HARMFUL IMPURITIES?
Here I am in a sanatorium in the heart of the former Soviet Union, and I am looking at a bottle of vodka that proudly advertises itself as containing harmful impurities.
The taste wasn’t that good. It burned. Okay, maybe it was the „advertisement“ on the label that put me off, but I didn’t really like this stuff (4/10). And there was no pleasant aftertaste either (3/10).
I took another sip just to make sure I had gotten it right.
Then I put the bottle down and looked out of the window at the lake instead. The waves were still crushing in.