There are three cardinal rules of drinking in Russia. The first is that you NEVER drink alone. To sit by yourself in front of an open bottle is considered abnormal and antisocial. Even the self professed drunkard abides by this rule, coming together as a small group (na troikh - for three) and chipping in for half a liter and some sausage or a bite of herring. The second cardinal rule of Russian drinking is to NEVER drink without eating something immediately after. The zakuska or "little bite" takes on a literal meaning. The "little bite" should be salty (to incourage more drinking!) such as pickles, olives, or herring. The third rule is to NEVER sip your vodka, and NEVER add ice or tonic. Although you can purchase commercial flavored vodkas, it's more fun to make your own, which you can do so in just a few minutes. I prefer to use a real Russian vodka, such as Stolichnaya. In a pinch I will use Absolut. Make at least two or three flavors and serve in cut crystal or glass decanters. A 750 ml bottle of vodka makes about 16 1 1/2 ounce drinks.