If you’re one of the millions of Americans who enjoy imbibing now and again, the end of the year is certainly worth celebrating. Last month, we raised our glass to National Bourbon Heritage Month, and in November, gin will take center stage. But chances are you probably prefer America’s “most popular libation,” vodka, which means today is for you—happy National Vodka Day! We’ve got a few takes on some classic vodka drinks, plus some perfect book pairings.
We’ve all heard of this one (it’s delicious), but what’s the history? The Moscow mule was invented in 1940s Los Angeles, the result of a joint and mutually beneficial brainwave between a U.S. importer of Smirnoff vodka, a maker of ginger beer (who also owned the Cock’n’Bull pub and restaurant on the Sunset Strip), and a lady lamenting her poor copper mug sales. And you thought you had great brainstorms when you went to the pub…
2 ounces vodka
4-6 ounces ginger beer
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Lime wedge and/or mint sprig, for garnish.
Fill a Moscow mule mug (or a Collins glass if you failed to support this copper mug lady’s endeavors) with ice. Pour in the vodka, and fill nearly to the top with ginger beer, and then the lime juice to finish it off. Garnish was the lime wedge or decorate with the spent lime shell; maybe toss a sprig of mint in there, too.
PAIRED WITH: Amor Towles’ new release A Gentleman in Moscow. Hole yourself up in a corner with this delicious drink and pretend you’re stuck in a luxury hotel.
At the end of The Taming of the Shrew, Katherina’s made the bumpy transition from cranky single girl to a supposedly obedient wife. We’d like to imagine that Kate is happy at least once a week as she’s serving these cold, ironic Shrew-drivers up to her married girlfriends at her Wednesday morning Book Club Brunch.
1 ½ ounces limoncello
1 ½ ounces lemon-flavored vodka
5 ounces fresh orange juice
4-6 dashes grapefruit or lemon bitters (depending on your mood)
Lemon wedge and slice
Rim a highball glass with the lemon wedge and dip the rim in sugar. Fill the glass halfway with ice. Pour in the limoncello, vodka, and orange juice. Stir in the bitters. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Another classic, this time with a fair number of origin stories. One of the lesser known tales surrounds a fellow named Earnest Hemingway. Doctors had forbidden Hemingway to drink and his wife, Mary, took the interdiction seriously and put him under close watch. Stealth and cunning were needed to get Hemingway his drinks that I can only assume he believed had medicinal properties. So the bartender at the Ritz Paris’ Petit Bar devised the ingenious mixture, a drink packed full of alcohol that could not be detected on the writer’s breath.
16 ounces vodka
16 ounces tomato juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
Celery salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Large lump of ice
Makes one pitcher, so share it.
“If you get it too powerful weaken with more tomato juice. If it lacks authority add more vodka.” – Ernest Hemingway.
post by Keely Platte