- Food & Drink
Siberian Kiss (it's a rule of cocktails that they must have slightly embarrassing names)
When I was growing up, my knowledge of cocktails was drawn exclusively from murder mysteries. Dangerous and glamorous, they were bought on trays to the library by butlers and drunk by doomed house guests dressed in diamonds and satin. Occasionally they contained hemlock.
At home, alcohol was limited to beer or cider. A litre and a half of Liebfraumilch occasionally made an appearance, poured into etched wine glasses with thick, twisting stems. But hard spirits were irregular visitors. Rum was bought at Christmas for my Merchant Navy grandfathers and brandy fetched for the fruit cake (the rest claimed by my dad. I once asked to try a sip from his gold-rimmed balloon glass. Granted permission and, being a greedy child, I took a gulp. My throat was filled with a rope of fire and I’ve never much liked cognac since).
On my 18th birthday I determined to set out on my official drinking career in style. So I went to Chiquito, the exotic new Mexican restaurant and ordered mimosas to go with my bathroom towel tortilla and tomato red chilli. This was a treat that wasn’t just a cocktail, but a cocktail made with sparkling wine. In the annals of my life, this lunch will count as a moment of extraordinary sophistication.
Matured and gin beaten as I now am, cocktails no longer dazzle me with their umbrellas, straws and syrupy cherries. I know my way around London’s speakeasies, dive bars and hot spots and how I like my martini. I am a cosmopolitan woman of the drinking world. But I don’t often make cocktails at home – unless pink gins count. Which I don’t think they do. It’s just gin in a glass, which is more of a liver problem than a recipe.
So when a kindly PR asked if she could bike over a bottle of Mamont Vodka for me to create cocktails with, I contemplated the contents of my kitchen cupboards, my lack of plans for Saturday night and agreed to help her out.
The vodka itself is smooth, sweet and a little aniseedy. How to use it in a cocktail that captured the cool, cutting air of Siberia, the wildness of the Yukagir Mamoth and the general spirit of adventure that vodka tends to instill? There was only one solution. I put on my best Hawaiian shirt, took a firm grasp of my cocktail shaker and set to work. My favourite of the four recipes I tried is below.
1/2oz pear juice, chilled
1oz Mamont Vodka, chilled
1/2oz ginger syrup, chilled (see recipe below)
1/2oz fresh lime juice
2oz prosecco, chilled
Pour the pear juice into a chilled coupe glass. Add the Mamont Vodka, ginger syrup and lime juice. Top up with the processo and serve.
Ginger stock syrup
100g caster sugar
100ml cold water
50g fresh ginger, thinly sliced
Place the sugar, water and ginger in a small pan over a medium heat. Gently warm, shaking the pan occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
Turn up the heat and bring the syrup to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Cool and strain into a tub or jar. Store in the fridge – it keeps for ages.