One time, I gave a souvenir bottle of Russian vodka as a housewarming gift to a friend, and she excitedly said that she’d have to ask me about vodka cocktail recipes to make with it.
I looked at her in consternation. Russians don’t make cocktails from vodka. The drinks known in the West as a “black Russian” and “white Russian” would be a sacrilege at a Russian table. Vodka with cream? Goodness no.
Russians drink our vodka straight. Chilled but not on ice, because we don’t even want to dilute it that much.
We do have chasers, though. Vodka is accompanied by pickles, and all manner of salty foods, as well as potatoes. Dried, salted, or pickled herring, pickled mushrooms, salo (salted pork fat), salt and black bread, and salt with onions.
Yes, you dip the onion into salt and eat it, then follow it up with bread or a potato. Or just dip the bread or potato into the salt. You want fancy snackfood? No, dammit, you get raw onion and boiled potato. And you like it that way.
So if you’re in Russia and a bottle of vodka gets brought out, expect it to be served like this instead of this.