Friday, March 30, 2007



1 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. apricot brandy
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1 dash bitters

Stir (if you like a silkier texture) or shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

I pulled the Czarina from Stuart Walton's The Ultimate Book of Cocktails. After trying it (and liking it), I did a little digging online and found a variant recipe listed in several places (shown below). I thought both were very good, so I'm listing each recipe.

I really liked this drink. It's a beautiful pale honey color and very evenly flavored. The brandy and vermouth are complementary, and the vodka seems the ideal base spirit with which to match them.

None of the flavors compete. They combine to make a simple, subtle drink. The brandy is warm on the tongue, but the vodka streamlines it and keeps it from being too dominant. The vermouth softens both, and the bitters put a nice little edge on it all.

Czarina (alternate)

1 oz. vodka
3/4 oz. apricot brandy
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

This recipe, while similar, makes a couple changes- it substitutes sweet vermouth for the bitters, and ups the brandy by a quarter-ounce.

Taste-wise, this recipe is comparable to the first one. However, it's a softer, warmer, and deeper version. Most of the key flavors are still there, but they're more subdued and rounded. The sweet vermouth really plays a role here, and it makes an already smooth drink even smoother.

I also found that the first recipe was ideal when just out of the shaker and at it's coldest. The second really seemed to shine after warming slightly, when the flavors came out a bit more. Either would be a great option for someone who wants to begin venturing beyond a comfort zone of "vodka plus sweet mixers"-style drinks.


Craig Anthony Puckett said...

Hmm, that's pretty cool. I seriously need to start stocking some spirits in my casita!

Dr. Bamboo said...

Wolfy, if you're looking to seriously stock up, a lot of people recommend buying the little "airplane"-sized bottles at first as a good way to sample lots of different liquors without having to lay out major cash.

It a twofold advantage- One: you don't spend money on a big bottle of something you only need a little bit of for a recipe. Two: If you don't like it, you've only bought a few ounces...Toss it guilt-free!

Mike Beer said...

I really am going to have to try one of these recipes at some point. I always seem to have about half the ingredients and when I think about going out to buy the rest, I get lazy and just open a beer. :)

Great illustrations as usual, btw.