One of the first things people said to me when they learned I was going to Russia: vodka. I ended up in what some would call a higher end liquor store in Sochi where a deli offers accessories for the cocktail, like different flavored olives even some sweets.
With the help of a translator, the store clerk says years ago people made the beverage themselves in small villages.
"So people were doing it out of breakout of dry yeast and then later they found a way to clean it properly and since Russia is a massive country and many areas are very cold in winter that's how it became popular"
Since then it has become a household tradition with meals and celebrations.
“Normally it's a dinner so it's like a little shot during the meal and it's like a saying that. You have to know how to drink it because it's a very strong drink and our boy sour Russian boys
Used to say you also have to know how to eat it."
In fact it's considered rude to decline a shot of vodka and you should be prepared for toast especially at happy occasions and good will.
During them people are wishing each other well or good health but always good will.