From Russia with love

img_9943I did warn you that I was gonna make a cocktail inspired by this book so don’t look so surprised. Nothing fancy though, just a twist on a classic “French75”.

It’s “big book season”. The days are short and the weather is bad; taking refuge on the sofa with a substantial read is the only thing for it. And yes; more then one book by a russian writer or on the subject of Russia has turned up. It goes  well with winter is what I’m claiming(and a lot of people would agree with me).

My brother is a huge history-buff and the Romanovs have a special place in his heart. He used to have a copy of this book actually, and got rather excited when I spoke of reading it(although inspiration came from @liinabachmann).

It’s a brilliant book, and I was surprised that it was his debut( he later won the Pulitzer prize for his book about Peter the Great). The work with Nicholaus and Alexandra(or Nikolaus och Alexandra as my copy is called; I read it in the swedish translation) came about after his son was born with hemophilia, just like the son of Tsar Nicholaus and his wife Alexandra, which makes for a touching anecdote.

It does read like a novel and you couldn’t make Rasputin up if you tried. He just wouldn’t be credible. And they lived in the last days of the old empire, where the champagne flowed and Faberge outdid himself with those eggs; the opulence was at it’s peak just before the fall.

As I got some “Tzar Alexander” tea from Mariage Fréres at around the same time as I bought the book it seemed logical to use the tea in the cocktail; I made a tea-syrup. There are different methods to achieve that. I most often make a very strong tea(let it steep for 5 minutes) using the normal ratio of tea leaves and water,  and then bring that tea to the boil before adding one and a half  the amount of sugar and stirring until sugar has dissolved. It makes for a rather rich syrup, but not to heavy. In this case its just enough. You can use any kind of “Smokey earl grey” as a substitute. When it has cooled pour into a clean bottle. Will last about 2 weeks. A smokey tea syrup like this is excellent in many cocktails; add some to a Martini or instead of Maraschino in a Martinez. Mind-blowing.

Anyways; having made the syrup I decided that this was gonna be some kind of Champagne cocktail and as the “French 75” is a fave, I decided to make a twist on that. I’ve never claimed that my cocktails are always super difficult; I just want people to drink quality rather then quantity.

A French 75 is usually sugar,gin,lemon juice and champagne. In this case it ended up being smokey tea-syrup,vodka,lemon juice and champagne. And I chose pink champagne for extra opulence. The swap for vodka should be self-explanatory. These flavours do go together well; the smokey and the sour balance each other, the vodka gives a kick.

The suggested name so far is “The Alix” but we’ll say what it’s called in the end. Will make this again no doubt.

Romanov twist on french75; yields 1 cocktail

3 cl vodka

2 cl smokey earl grey syrup

2 cl lemonjuice

for serving;

cocktail coupe or champagne flûte

pink champagne

  1. Stir ingredients in an ice-filled stirring glass until chilled.
  2. Pour into the glass.
  3. Top up with pink champagne.
  4. Serve.

As always; drink responsibly.





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