Russian Samovar

Russian Samovar
Russian Samovar

Each May, I pilgrimage to NYC for BEA (along with the rest of the book industry). Last year a friend introduced me to Russian Samovar. I made a newbie mistake that first year – I dove headfirst into the delicious savory vodkas (and on an empty stomach no less). Worst hangover of my life. And I had to work the next day.

Russian Samovar, savory vodka
Russian Samovar, savory vodka
Russian Samovar, vodka menu
Russian Samovar, vodka menu

This past BEA, my friend and I arrived at Russian Samovar about 7-8pm on a Friday night and stayed until after midnight. We left a party with free top-shelf drinks to pay for our own. The place is that good. The vodkas were just as delicious as I remembered, but the ambiance was even better. There was dramatic live music and by midnight there were also a few vodka-fueled personal micro-dramas and the music provided a perfect soundtrack to imagined conversations. Also, you haven’t really lived until you’ve heard Russian-accented Kenny Rogers.

Russian Samovar, live music
Russian Samovar, live music
Russian Samovar, live music
Russian Samovar, live music
Russian Samovar, live music
Russian Samovar, live music

I introduced WPT to the place when we traveled to NYC in August and despite it being a bit early in the evening, he suddenly understood what I had been raving about.

Russian Samovar, potatoes in all forms
Russian Samovar, I love potatoes in all forms

My recommendations: try the horseradish and garlic vodkas. When they start getting on top of you, order the dill french fries. Try a few more flavors – coriander, basil, and ginger are all good. Then repeat the fry trick. About 4-5 shots in, they transcend their mere potatohood and become something akin to perfection. When you’ve decided you’ve had just about enough, order the cherry vodka as a nightcap. Then stumble outside, stare up at the sky, and think for a moment just how fantastic NYC can be.

Russian Samovar
Russian Samovar
Russian Samovar, greatest bartender ever
Russian Samovar, greatest bartender ever (seriously)

There is something almost addictive about the horseradish and garlic flavors, so a week or so after we returned from NYC, WPT decided to try and infuse some at home. We don’t have any live music at home and we attempt to keep the personal micro-dramas to a minimum, but we have discovered the next best thing to Russian Samovar. We are experimenting with a few different vodkas, but Sloop Betty, featured in our last post, is by far the best. Recipes below…

Little Water (vodka)
Little Water (vodka)

INFUSED VODKAS (INSPIRED BY RUSSIAN SAMOVAR)

HORSERADISH VODKA
1 bottle (750 ml) Sloop Betty or other good-quality vodka
6 half-inch slices of horseradish root
1 clean quart-size Mason jar w/lid

Place horseradish root in Mason jar and fill with vodka (saving the original bottle). Tightly screw lid on jar and give vodka a few good shakes. Store in a cool, dry place for at least four days, thereafter testing vodka until desired level of flavor is reached (I prefer a minimum of one week). Can be shaken and smelled during the infusing process. Using funnel, strain vodka back into original bottle for ease of serving. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

GARLIC VODKA
1 bottle (750 ml) Sloop Betty or other good-quality vodka
1 medium-large bulb of garlic
1 clean quart-size Mason jar w/lid

Peel garlic and place individual cloves in Mason jar and fill with vodka (saving the original bottle). Tightly screw lid on jar and give vodka a few good shakes. Store in a cool, dry place for at least four days, thereafter testing vodka until desired level of flavor is reached (I prefer a minimum of one week). Can be shaken and smelled during the infusing process. Using funnel, strain vodka back into original bottle for ease of serving. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.

Russian Samovar
Russian Samovar

Russian Samovar
256 W.52nd Street, New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212-757-0168
Website: http://www.russiansamovar.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Russian-Samovar/106942739345111?fref=ts

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