Vodka is defined as an odorless, colorless, tasteless alcoholic drink in the United States, and is not much of a challenge for bartenders to mix. However, if you don’t make a cocktail with it, vodka exists as a very pure spirit, where noticeable differences in aromas and flavors arise with different vodkas.
With this thought in mind, vodka became the star of the most recent Bottles event: Vodka: A Global History: Seminar, Tasting and Book Signing. On a warm spring evening, attendees gathered at Waterman Grille‘s Riverview Room, set on the banks of Seekonk River in Providence, Rhode Island. Folks tasted 5 vodkas from around the world as Patricia Herlihy and Eric Taylor talked about the history of vodka.
Patricia Herlihy is professor of history emerita at Brown University and its Watson Institute for International Studies, where she taught Russian and Soviet history. She is the author, most recently, of Vodka: A Global History. Eric Taylor, Bottles General Manager, is an enthusiastic vodka connoisseur whose favorite part about his job is education.
“I came into vodka through the back door. I studied temperance first, and then I saw the light. This book is the product of my conversion,” began Patricia at the start of the seminar.
The tasting was organized geographically, starting from Russia and then moving westward to Poland, Scandinavia, and finally to North America. Along with light appetizers, guests sampled Hammer + Sickle, Chopin, Finlandia, Hanger 1, and last but not least, Loyal 9 by Sons of Liberty Distilling in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. For an engaging history of Vodka, we highly recommend reading Patricia’s book, Vodka: A Global History.
|Jennifer from Books on the Square, Eric Taylor from Bottles, Eric Asimov, and Susanna from Reach Out and Read|
Eager fans could mingle with Mr. Asimov at Books on the Square the hour before the book reading, and taste four wines selected by Eric Taylor of Bottles Fine Wine and Mr. Asimov.
These featured wines included Ravines Dry Riesling, Thorigny Vouvray Sec, De Forville Dolcetto D’Alba, and Perroud Cote de Brouilly, provided with the help of Wine Wizards, Inc. All four of these wines are available at Bottles.
20% of proceeds from book and wine sales from the evening went to benefit Reach Out and Read Rhode Island. RORRI prepares the state’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with pediatricians to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. The Reach Out and Read program is in 43 clinical sites and reaches almost 35,000 children in Rhode Island.
Eric Asimov signed books, chatted with fans, and gave a wonderful summary and selected reading from “How to Love Wine.”
“For many people, wine is an anxiety-inducing mystery as arcane as quantum physics. With so many varieties, it’s difficult to know what to choose. That puzzling uncertainty often prevents people from buying and ordering wine, depriving them of an exquisite, deeply satisfying experience,” argues New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov.
In “How to Love Wine,” he examines why the American wine culture produces such feelings of anxiety and suggests how readers can overcome fears and develop a sense of discovery and wonder as they explore the diversity and complexity of the world of wine.
In a direct, down-to-earth manner, Asimov discusses favorite vineyards, wine’s singular personalities, the “tyranny of tasting notes,” and current wine issues. Thought provoking and enjoyable, How to Love Wine will help diminish readers’ anxiety, bolster their confidence, and transform them into wine lovers.