Travelers to Belarus are always in for huge surprises but none more dramatic than tasting the local vodka. That’s right, the country is not only famous for Olga Korbut and cosmonauts, the vodka here is extraordinary.
As recent proof of Belarus vodka quality and potency, Belarusian brand “Kristall” recently beat out Ukrainian Medoff, Polish Krupnik, a Polish-British Czysta de Lux and other well-known brands in the Drinks International voting for best spirits of the world. Interestingly, the world leader for the second year in a row was soju (Korean traditional alcoholic drink) Jinro. Second place overall went to the brandy Emperador, and third to old vodka standby Smirnoff.
Minks Crystal Vodka is actually the largest enterprise in Belarus. The company produces vodka, wines, and cognacs among other liqueurs. By way of a brief history lesson, 115 years ago, in 1893, brothers Yankel and Zelman Rakovshchiks built a distillery on Nizhne-Lyakhovskaya Street (presently Oktyabrskaya St.) in downtown Minsk near the Svisloch River. This is where the now famous RUE “Minsk Kristall” began.
Minks Kristall just took home four awards from the prestigious Wine-vodka 2012 held in Sochi, Russia late last year. The vodka won:
The Gold medal – for excellent quality of liquor -Belling-
The Silver medal – for excellent quality of bitter brandy “Belovezhskaya”
Another Silver – for excellent quality of vodka «Belaya Rus Lux»
And yet another Silver medal – for excellent quality of cognac «Gold cock» 5 years old.
Here’s hoping your stay in Belarus is all the more lively.