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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Savoy’s Russian Cocktail harkens back to imperial Russia

Browsing William Grimes’ entertaining book Straight Up or On the Rocks: A Cultural History of American Drink has lead to the discovery of interesting cocktail recipes.  Just a month ago you had the chance to try an intriguing sounding cocktail of Rum, Dry Vermouth, and Grenadine, El Presidente, that had something a little different to offer.  Grimes’ chapter on Vodka’s takeover of the American drinking scene mentioned yet another interesting sounding recipe: the Russian Cocktail.  This Russian is neither Black nor White, but clear.  The semi-obligatory web search turned up a couple of recipes that were almost identical to the original cocktail recipe from the Savoy Cocktail Book, referenced by Grimes, which just calls for equal parts of all three ingredients.

No experimentation was required to develop the recipe below, but that doesn’t preclude some experimentation on your part.  Start with equal parts (as little as ¾ ounce) and work from there.  The Vodka in this recipe is present (as it often is) to tone down the flavor a little.  The combination of Gin and Crème de Cacao was a pleasant surprise, but if you find it overpowering either add a little Vodka, or cut back on the Gin and Crème de Cacao, or perhaps both.  The choice is yours, so get back to your cocktail lab and make this drink your own.  A note on garnish: The Savoy often fails to specify garnish and did so in this case, but since orange goes well with both Gin and chocolate, a twist of orange peel was added by the Utah Mixologist.  Feel free to change that, too.

Russian Cocktail

1 oz Dry Gin
1 oz Crème de Cacao
1 oz Vodka

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass half full of cracked ice.  Stir while contemplating riding across the frozen Russian steppes until you feel cold.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with twist of orange peel.  The Savoy Cocktail Book says: “tossitoff quickski,” but if you used quality ingredients and enjoy the taste, take your time.

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