повесть о двух водки (A Tale of Two Vodkas)

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.
  1. Mix the vodka, liqueur and wine over ice in a frosted glass.
  2. Stir and add lemon juice sparingly.
  3. 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.
  4. If you go with the pineapple wedge, we recommend using fresh rather than canned pineapple, as the latter are often swimming in syrup.
  5. 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.


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