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Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour: From Russia With Love Summer Cocktail

As summer wears on and temperatures remain stubbornly high, mixologist Warren Bobrow offers his refreshing “From Russia with Love” cocktail to combat the heat, or at least distract you from it.

St.  Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, Moscow

 Image sourced from National Geographic

Here it comes, that feeling of heat and humidity.  We had a couple of days of pure, lush weather without any humidity- but now, like an army of Cossacks thundering across the plains, here comes another heat wave.

Russian Vodka has always held a mystique for me.  Perhaps it has to do with timing.  My parents traveled to Moscow in 1960 with my mother’s parents to attend the American Cancer Society World Meeting.

My grandfather was on the Board of Directors.

Russia in 1960 was still a place with many misgivings.  I was born in 1960, and as my dad has told me, I may have become who I am today in one of two places: Moscow or the Castle Harbour Hotel in Bermuda.  I have a feeling it was Moscow because of my passion for all things Russian.

I love the Russian stoicism, their approach to life and liquor, the diversity of their cuisine, and that the Russian people mirror my passion for Russian ingredients.  Hearty food and drink- with passion!

I especially love Russian Vodka.

Etalon Vodka is what I envision my father drinking in Moscow.  The summer that he and my mom traveled to Moscow was a summer of great records from a temperature standpoint.  The heat mimicked in many ways the heat waves we’ve been suffering through in New Jersey.  And because my heritage is Russian (on my father’s side) my thirst for Vodka has only been satisfied recently.

My dad retold the story about seeing large ice pitchers of what appeared to be water in the hotel lobby. The day was ultra hot and he and my mom were quite parched.  He poured himself a tall glass and drank it down in one fell swoop- It was VODKA!! A story that has lasted all these years.

Etalon Vodka has a rough, citrus-tinged texture across my tongue.  I liked it immediately.  It tasted like the long plains of golden grain that feed and sate the thirst of thousands of Russians.

It doesn’t taste flavorless or soft.  It’s a challenging slurp and it needs simple augmentation like freshly scraped horseradish, yellow beets and lemon zest infused ice to really make it shine!

Grain, not potatoes, make Etalon what it is.

Jagged, rough, and alive with possibilities.  I love it.  Straight, ice cold, nearly frozen with a turn of the pepper mill. Ice, but not straight out of the freezer, ice with lemon zest, fresh horseradish, and yellow beets shredded and frozen right in.. all good.

My cocktail mimics this venerable heritage of Russia. I’m fixin’ to go horseback riding with the Cossacks.


From Russia With Love Cocktail

Ingredients for 2 very strong cocktails: 

2 shots of Etalon Vodka

4 turns of a pepper mill

1 Small Bottle of Pimento Ginger Beer (EXTRA EXTRA SPICY)

Bitter End Thai Bitters (Extra Spicy)

Ice made with shredded horseradish, yellow beets and lemon zests added from Mavea Water Pitcher (Inspired Water) 

Williams-Sonoma KING Ice Cube tray to make your gigantic ice cubes

Preparation to get wasted:

To a Boston Shaker add some regular ice

Add 4 shots of Etalon Vodka

Add the 4 turns of a Pepper Mill

Stir.. DO NOT SHAKE the Vodka

Add a couple  Yellow Beet/Lemon Zest and horseradish GIANT ice cubes made with Mavea Water to your wide cocktail glass

Drip the ice-chilled Etalon Vodka over the infused Mavea/Williams-Sonoma ice

Top with PIMENTO Ginger Beer

Finish with a couple turns of the pepper mill over the top and top with the PIMENTO Ginger Beer

Add about four drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters (EXTRA Spicy)

Did I say be careful? This is spicy stuff!

Danger Level: 5 out of 5!


Danger Danger Danger!

Warren’s first book, Apothecary Cocktails is being published by Quayside/Rockport in November 2013 for the Xmas season. He has published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews in NJ Monthly Magazine. (Served Raw, Drinking in America, DrinkGal.com, Bluewater Vodka, Purity Vodka, Botran Rum, Orleans Apple Aperitif, Marie Brizard, Art in the Age: Root, Snap, Rhuby, Hendricks Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum, Tuthilltown Spirits, Bitter Cube, Bitter Truth, Bitter End-Bitters, Bitters, Old Men…etc. etc.)
He’s written food articles and news for Edible Jersey, Chutzpah Magazine, NJ Monthly, Serious Eats, Daily Candy (Philadelphia) Rambling Epicure (Geneva, Switzerland)
Warren is the cocktail writer/mixologist for Foodista. He is a former trained chef who began as a dishwasher/potscrubber. He has also bar-tended at the four star Ryland Inn, located in NJ.
Warren is the On-Whiskey Columnist for Okra Magazine in New Orleans.
He is also a Ministry of Rum judge.
Warren is a self-taught photojournalist and shoots with the venerable Leica M8.


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