Cleaning up after Christmas and New Year’s, we came across some leftover Midori melon liqueur. We’d also been researching good inexpensive vodkas recently and, after colluding with a local liquor-store clerk, were encouraged to try Russian Standard Original and its higher-end cousin, the Platinum. We decided to combine the two ingredients (as well as some others) as a sort of end-of-year cleanup — to concoct a cocktail.
Russian Standard is one of the top-selling vodkas in that country — or the utmost top-selling, according to some sources. It’s also considered one of the more premium brands there, despite its relatively low price point (in the U.S., anyway — not sure what it retails for on average in Russia). Both the Original and Platinum versions are distilled from wheat and glacier water at 40 percent ABV and are charcoal-filtered. The glacier water imparts a cleanness and smoothness to both versions, though the Platinum is noticeably cleaner. The company markets the product, which it introduced in 1998, as being produced according to a recipe created by Dmitri Mendeleev, father of the periodic table of elements; but that’s just a marketing myth.
The Platinum is best enjoyed on its own terms, straight, served ice-cold in a frosted (shot or Old-Fashioned) glass. That is, stick the glass in the freezer for a bit, and just leave the bottle in there full-time. The Original is better for mixing than sipping because of the aforementioned purity — there’s no reason to give that up by mixing.
We came up with an original recipe, then realized we had to give it a name. Presenting the…
Midoriplumtini: Ingredients & Instructions
- 1½ oz Russian Standard Original vodka
- 2 oz plum wine (the Choya we used was 14.1 percent ABV, but you could use another variety — see images at bottom of post)
- ¾ oz Midori melon liqueur (which is 21 percent ABV)
- 4 drops lemon juice
- One umeboshi plum (or if you can’t find one, use a sour cherry; strawberry; a wedge of pineapple, kiwifruit or lemon; or a green olive).
- Optional hors d’oeuvre: Japanese rice crackers or caviar on crackers or toast points.
- Mix the vodka, liqueur and wine over ice in a frosted glass.
- Stir and add lemon juice sparingly.
- Garnish with the umeboshi plum, the tartness of which will help balance the sweetness of the liqueur. The “plum” is like a pickled apricot (and for this drink, it’s best to avoid umeboshi that are pickled in honey). You may be able to find these at an Asian grocery; if not, a sour — not Maraschino! — cherry or any of the other fruits listed above would also work as garnish. Or you could do what we did: Use the fruit floating around in a bottle of umeshu (plum wine) — though this approach will result in a sweeter drink. The little sidekick bottle of Choya in the package we bought came in handy, cuz there was a mini-plum floating around in there. Unless they’ve been depitted, plums, cherries and olives have pits that you may want to remove before serving. Especially because “[p]itted olives are completely gross and don’t belong on any table at any time.” Or in any cup.
- If you go with the pineapple wedge, we recommend using fresh rather than canned pineapple, as the latter are often swimming in syrup.
- As hors d’oeuvres, we served the Midoriplumtini with — what else? — caviar on crackers and Japanese kaki no tane (rice crackers) & peanuts (or kaki-pi). We picked up the caviar from Rus Uz Market in Arlington, which we’ll review later this year.
Our work here is done. Enjoy.
♦ повесть о двух водки is pronounced povest’ o dvukh vodki.
♦ “This $20 Bottle of Vodka Was Ranked One of the Best in the World”
♦ More about Midori at The Spruce Eats
♦ Ao vs. Midori
♦ Trivia: Midori was launched at Studio 54 in 1978 during a production party for the film Saturday Night Live.