I know that hatred grows as deep as the liver, but anti-Semitism goes deeper, but that’s never affected the sale of Thanksgiving turkeys, Israel’s third largest export behind oil distillates. In America, being Catholic has been a problem those who could spell it in lowercase, but they still drank Irish whiskey by the case. Drinkers in America have always kept subcultures alive; this is evident regarding jazz, the Beat life, or anyone who has had the money to spend on sin. Taste buds have never had a political affiliation.
Regarding vodka. Vodka, after the grain was regrown and squeezed into bottles, wasn’t controlled by the state, unlike most of post-World War II Russia. Vladimir Putin put a state-controlled monopoly over the liquor only this century, so historically, vodka wasn’t as red as it could have been, or as it is now. What’s more interesting, in a Mel Gibson Conspiracy Theory sort of way, is that from 1939 to 1978, woman drinkers jumped from forty-five to sixty-six percent in America. Subsequently, they were marketed to by companies that produced clear-colored, neutral-flavored spirits—vodka, from Moscow, specifically ambrosia from Pyotr Arsenivich Smirnov, the illiterate corpse who established Smirnoff, but which was by then owned by John Martin of Heublein Spirits, an American company that, through the Red Scare, marked Russian vodka as “White whiskey. No taste, no smell.” In the south, the bottles were topped with whiskey corks. And because woman found that they had the bellies for manly firewater, Vodka outsold whiskey, selling as well as boneless babies to a tribe of toothless cannibals.
It seems like Russian vodka has always marketed itself into safety and security, through recessions and Red Scares. Up until the nineteen-eighties, where it positioned itself as the king of the martini bar, and until the present, where Vodka has carved itself a nice niche in the hearts and minds of the Jersey Shore crowd.
I am too thirsty to cite my findings, but they can be found in the pages of:
Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol
Drink: A Social History of America