Gentleman in Moscow

Back in the pre-prohibition days, Vodka was one of those spirits that people (who weren’t Eastern Europeans) didn’t know what to do with. Thanks in large part to the creation of the drink known as the Moscow Mule (and more recently the proliferation of flavored vodkas) vodka is now the most popular spirit in the world. The Moscow Mule is a combination of vodka, lime, and ginger beer – traditionally served in a copper mug. It’s a refreshing drink with an interesting backstory, but as is the typical case with any story involving liquor, things tend to be a bit muddled (sorry, couldn’t resist the cocktail pun!). The Moscow Mule fell out of fashion during the Cold War, but (despite our current tensions with Russia) it has made quite a comeback. Read this article from Vine Pair to learn more about the history of the Moscow Mule.

We decided to do a “martini style” version of the Moscow Mule using ginger liqueur in place of the ginger beer. Since we’re serving this in a cocktail coupe (not the traditional copper mug) we decided our drink needed a more refined name – which we appropriated from a 2016 best-selling novel. The book A Gentleman in Moscow is the story of Count Alexander Rostov who, following the Bolshevik revolution, has been sentenced to house arrest in Moscow's luxurious Metropol hotel (life could be worse!)

Like the Moscow Mule, our Gentleman in Moscow Cocktail uses vodka and fresh lime juice - although we cut the amount of lime to make this a more "spirit-forward" drink. Along with the ginger liqueur, we added a bit of blanc vermouth and a few dashes of lemon bitters. The combination is bright and balanced, and (hopefully) sophisticated enough for Count Rostov. 

Our vodka of choice is District Made Vodka by One Eight Distilling. Perhaps we should have explored a Russian vodka for this cocktail, but we are fans of One Eight's rye and corn based vodka. It's made using Russian filtering technology (although that does sound a bit like a term related to espionage). We know that some craft cocktail mixologists consider vodka to be rather pedestrian. This may be true if you are using some of the mass-market brands, but there are good craft vodkas out there (ones that have an actual flavor). 

There are a couple of craft spirit options for ginger liqueur, but we went with Domain de Canton. It's a product of France that combines a sweet and spicy ginger eaux de vie and cognac. We've been experimenting with this liqueur in a couple of bourbon and rye cocktails with good results. You can try swapping it for Grand Marnier to spice up a cocktail like our Jamaica Bay.

The Cocktail Artist did a quick sketch, and followed up with a watercolor of the Gentleman in Moscow cocktail along with the book and the gentleman’s hat. If you haven’t read the novel yet, we do recommend it – along with our cocktail to serve at your next book club meeting, or to sip while you read.


Gentleman in Moscow

2 ounces Vodka (District Made Vodka)
1 ounce Ginger Liqueur (Domain de Canton)
1/2 ounce Blanc Vermouth (Dolin)
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
3 dashes of lemon bitters (Bitter Truth)

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime twist.

Book Club - original watercolor painting by The Cocktail Artist

Pen sketch by The Cocktail Artist

Popular posts from this blog

Cherry Capital Old Fashioned

Jamaica Bay

The Grand Mariner

Ginger Root

Twilight Amaretto Sour