Where is home and work?
Home is here in London for the last 9 years, and my second home remains in St Petersburg, Russia. My work takes me everywhere from the Arctic Circle, to Dubai via Monaco – I look after trainings and vodka activations in Europe and Middle East.
Obvious question, how much Vodka do you drink a week?
Every week is different depending on my schedule, but you could always detect some vodka in my blood!
Chekhov said “Money like vodka, turns a person into an eccentric” is that true?
Too much money like too much vodka could be a dangerous thing. Eccentricity is just a nice part of it! They say – in vino veritas – but in vodka lies bitter truth.
Where did the passion for Vodka come from?
To me love is personal, so I talk about my love of Russian Standard vodka rather than all 4,000+ of them! Russian Standard vodka comes from St Petersburg, which is where I spent my formative years studying at St Petersburg State University. You can find it in more than 80 countries in the word and it still is number 1 premium vodka back home. To me it represents the best Russia has to offer, in terms of quality, tradition and science.
Where did you last go on holiday?
My last holiday was a week’s yoga retreat near Dalaman in Turkey at the end of May, just to keep life balanced and have a bit of a detox time, away from people and parties.
Where do you like to eat and drink?
To me it is more about people than places, so I would go anywhere where the chef is passionate about food and the bar team about drinks. I also love unusual and creative concepts, like Mr Fogg’s or the Punch Room.
What’s your favourite Vodka based cocktail?
I love a spicy Bloody Mary, a refreshing Russian Mule or a sweet Lychee Martini.
What should we be eating alongside drinking Vodka?
It could be anything from pickles to smoked salmon, herring with baby potatoes, a Russian salad, or some caviar on a special occasion. You raise a shot of cold vodka, look into your friends’ eyes and make a toast to something positive. DAVAI!
What’s your most extravagant purchase to date?
I have a passion for jewellery so I enjoy searching for beautiful stones and unusual pieces. Sometimes I treat myself to Russian Yakutia diamonds.
What other brands do you admire?
From the drinks world, I do admire Billecart-Salmon champagne, Caol Isla whisky and San Pellegrino water. Otherwise, I could name Boucheron, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, FIAT and Fornasetti.
Is Vodka better in Russia?
Champagne tastes better in France; whisky on a Scottish isle and vodka certainly tastes right in Russia. It is a unique combination of the specific climate, water, food, people, language and music that makes drinking vodka is Russia such a great and true experience. Not to mention the bears, Cossack dancing and eating caviar with a spoon – just kidding!
Finally, what’s the biggest perk of the job?
Being able to travel around the world to most amazing places, meeting great people and learning about different cultures, their traditions, food and naturally, the DRINKS!