Wednesday, September 30, 2009


As part of their Bartender series, Zagat has posted a video of me making an Improved Moscow Mule atThe Raines Law Room, NY.

To reiterate what is said in the video, the recipe is:

3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur
1 1/2 oz Russian Standard Platinum Vodka

Shake Briefly but Vigorously
Strain into a Copper Mug Containing 1 Large chunk of ice cut from Lake Ladoga at the peak of the Russian Winter
Top with Seltzer

Garnish with Freshly grated Nutmeg & a small Sprig of Mint

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello my Name is Vodka, & I'm a "Neutral" Spirit

Occasionally, when one decides to play devil's advocate for a stint, one suddenly finds oneself advisor to the so-called devil. VODKA is the devil at hand, and I am the advocate of the hour.

Like many of the bartenders & mixologists which comprise the classic cocktail underbelly of New York City's drinking culture, I once scoffed at Vodka: "Would you walk into a kitchen and ask a chef to make you a soup with water rather than stock as the base?" Having worked in several kitchens myself, I can tell you that all stocks are largely comprised of water. Surely I could have imagined a better metaphor. The most popular degradation of Vodka around town is "We keep a bottle of Vodka around for cleaning cuts." I suspect that some bars consider this among the top 5 things to teach trainees.

In short, Vodka is the popular kid with a bad reputation. Though it outsells every other spirit, Vodka is disliked, or more accurately, dismissed, by a growing minority of spirit and cocktail connoisseurs. This blog is dedicated to that faction, with the hope that whether they decide to love or disdain Vodka, they might cease to dismiss it. The fact is, most of this dismissal is aimed less at the spirit itself, and more at the typical Vodka drinker, who is identified as lacking discernment, having chosen Vodka because of its capacity to be easily overwhelmed by generally sweet modifiers. If you're thinking to yourself, "That's me, I'm the typical Vodka drinker," then read no further, I offer you this way out.


Every week, I will focus on one Vodka Classic, that being any Vodka drink dated between 1900 and 1970. Along side each profile, I will also include a variation based upon my trials with the drink, as well as some discussion in regard to Vodka's relevance and appropriateness in relation to the drink.

Periodically, I will include brief historical segments, derived from texts such as William Pokhlebkin's A History of Vodka, and I will also strive to keep tabs on any Vodka related events around New York City.

Note: While I've considered initiating this blog for several months, I have to thank a recent Mixology Monday for giving me that extra push.