Comments: Za Vashe Zdorovye, Ya Dumb Yuppie

It's Na (on or to, the propsition has many meanings) Vashe Zdoroviye, not Za (after).

And there is a difference between vodkas. You just have to get used to the subtlety. The best two I know of are not that expensive, but hard to find outside of Brighton Beach: Pshchenichnaya (Wheat) brand, and the reputed favorite of Iosif Vissarionovich Djugashvili: Bela Bashna. The latter is a Byelorussian herb-flavored, red-colored vodka drunk by wild boar hunters, hopefully after they're done handling firearms, although with Russian attitudes towards safety being what they are, that's not a good bet.

Posted by John at November 8, 2004 02:12 PM

Preposition, not "proposition". Sheesh. And no, I haven't been hitting the sauce.

Posted by John at November 8, 2004 02:13 PM

Hi John,

Gad, I learn something new every day blogging. The reason I went with "Za Vashe Zdorovye" is that is apparently the most common English spelling of the Russian phrase meaning "to your health." (к вашему здоровью, according to the translation software, although we know how reliable those programs are).

By all that, though, I mean Google agreed with the Za spelling. Typing in "Na Vashe Zdorovye" received a few hits, typing it in with "Za" got like 2,880. Also, even some travel guides used the Za wording. So if I am wrong, I am at least in good company!

More importantly, though, I am not suggesting that there aren't differences between vodkas. There are undoubtedly differences, especially between the low-end, oh-God-my-throat types of vodka and the middle-to-higher end stuff. My point was merely that spending all sorts of cash on alcohol used in foofy mixed drinks, or after one is seriously smashed, doesn't make much sense. Nor does it make sense to spend money on high-end product if the middle-priced stuff is just as good.

But then, I am a gin drinker, because it's old school and unpopular. The best gin of which I know, Bombay Sapphire, costs less than $20 per bottle. So one can get serious quality improvements through spending just a few bucks more for the stuff. I would submit this holds the same for vodka, which in my admittedly biased and personal opinion isn't as enjoyable as gin. But to each his own.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 8, 2004 08:07 PM

Intersting on the "za". I spent 2 years in the USSR and never heard "za zdoroviye" - maybe it's new slang. I was just teasing about the vodka, but do try to pick up a bottle of Bela Bashna if you can. I wan't kidding about the alcohol and firearms issue, though. There was the old perestroika joke about Gorby's anti-alcohol campaign:

He goes to a factory and asks a worker: "Would you come to work if you'd had a drink before breakfast?"


"Two drinks"

"You betcha, comrade."

"Three drinks?"

"Well, I'm here, aren't I?"

Posted by John at November 9, 2004 08:02 AM