Sochi Spirits: 10 International, Olympics-Inspired Cocktails
With the 2014 Winter Olympics finally underway in Sochi, Russia, it’s time to raise a glass in honor of the countries of the world. The games bring the world together through sport, and since you probably aren’t participating in the events, why not celebrate this mash of cultures by gathering with friends and family for an Olympics-inspired cocktail? There is nothing wrong with cheering for your home team while drinking like a Peruvian. In honor of the 2014 Olympics and to give your drinks an international flavor, here are 10 cocktails from 10 countries participating in Sochi.
Want to drink like a Russian? As Esquire explains, you better get used to taking your vodka straight out of chilled shot glasses. If that is a little too much for you to handle, try out a drink that at least owes Russia for its name: the White Russian.
- 1 fluid ounce coffee-flavored liqueur
- 1 fluid ounce vodka
- ½ cup cream or milk
Directions: In a mixing glass, combine the coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, and cream or milk. Pour over ice in a highball glass.
The Kir Royale is a cocktail that builds on another classic French drink: the Kir. The drink is named after Canon Felix Kir, who was the mayor of Dijon and a Resistance fighter during the occupation of France during World War II. Both use crème de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, but the Kir is topped with white wine and the Kir Royale calls for Champagne.
- 6 ounces Champagne
- ½ ounce crème de cassis
- lemon twist
Directions: Pour the Champagne and cassis into a Champagne flute. Stir. Garnish with lemon twist.
There is an international battle over the Pisco Sour because Peru and Chile claim pisco as originally theirs. Pisco is grape brandy created by the Spanish who were living in South America in the 1500s. The battle over the birthplace continues even to this day. In each country, the Pisco Sour is considered the national drink.
- 4 cups ice cubes
- 1 cup pisco
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 egg white
- aromatic bitters
Directions: Place ice cubes, pisco, lemon juice, sugar, egg white, and bitters in the bowl of a blender. Blend on high speed until finely pureed. Pour into two glasses and garnish with an additional dash of bitters.
In 2008, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai Hotel Association held a competition to find the national drink of the country, meant to be a challenger to the Singapore Sling and a way to boost tourism. The winner was Surasakdi Pantaisong’s Siam Sunray. Described as ”Thailand in a glass,” a reviewer for CNN said it “was sweet. It was salty, in a non-offensive way. It packed a wallop, too. Yet it was still drinkable.”
- 2 small red thai chili peppers
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 3 quarter-size slices ginger root
- kaffir lime leaf (optional)
- 1 ounce vodka
- 1 ounce coconut-flavored rum, preferably Bacardi
- ¼ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- club soda (optional)
Directions: Cut a small sliver from one of the Thai chili peppers; reserve the rest for another use. Reserve the remaining whole chili pepper for garnish. Remove the tough outer layer from the lemon grass. Use the flat side of a large knife to smash the lemon grass, then cut crosswise at the root end of the stalk to yield three ¼-inch slices. Cut 1 thin sliver from the opposite end to use as a garnish.
Combine the ginger, 3 lemon grass pieces, sliver of chili pepper, and kaffir lime leaf, if using, in a cocktail shaker; muddle to release the ingredients’ aroma and flavor. Add the vodka, coconut rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, then enough ice to fill the shaker two-thirds full. Shake well for at least 30 seconds, then strain into an ice-filled lowball glass.
If desired, add a splash of club soda. Garnish with the whole Thai chili pepper and sliver of lemon grass stalk.
Like Thailand, there is no cocktail of national renown; you could pop open a Foster’s or Victoria Bitter. Another option would be to look for a cocktail involving wine. Australia is the fourth largest wine producing country in the world, so Australian wines — including Jacob’s Creek and Yellowtail — will be readily available in your grocery store. A third option is to try a drink created by an Australian bartender. Lamenting the lack of cocktail options, News.com.au asked three bartenders to create an Aussie-inspired concoction. The Pavlova was based on the dessert of the same name — which Australia and New Zealand both claim as their own — and has a lemon taste.
- 1 ounce Belvedere vodka
- ⅔ ounce apricot brandy
- ⅓ ounce yellow chartreuse
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- ⅔ ounce gomme syrup
- egg white
- grapefruit bitters
Directions: Add all ingredients to shaker and shake without ice to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake vigorously; strain into a cocktail glass.
If you can’t get your hands on cachaca for Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, don’t worry. Substitute in white rum and you have another classic Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirissima.
- ½ lime, quartered
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2 ½ fluid ounces cachaca
- 1 cup ice cubes
Directions: In a large rocks glass, squeeze and drop in 2 eighths of lime. Add sugar, crush, and mix with a spoon. Pour in the cachaca and plenty of ice. Stir well.
The Caesar, or Bloody Caesar, was created in 1969 to celebrate the opening of the Marcos restaurant. Walter Chell mixed up the drink, combining spices, vodka, hand-mashed clams, and tomato juice. As a result of the drink, Clamato juice was created. Clamato is a combination of clam and tomato juices.
- 1 ½ ounces vodka
- Clamato juice
- 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
- 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Line the rim of a glass with salt and pepper. Over ice, add vodka, fill with clamato juice, then add the remaining ingredients. Garnish with a celery stick. Add more Tabasco sauce if desired.
Tabasco and Worcestershire are not everyone’s morning cup of tea, so if you want an Olympics-inspired brunch cocktail, go for the Bellini. The peach puree can be made up to one day in advance.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peaches, thawed
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen strawberries, thawed
- 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen blueberries or blackberries, thawed
- 4 to 6 (750-milliliter) bottles Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
- fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, for garnish
- orange peel twists, for garnish
Directions: Stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Puree the peaches and orange peel in a blender with ½ cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer and into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
In a clean blender, puree the strawberries with 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a clean fine-meshed strainer and into another bowl. Discard the seeds. Puree the blueberries in a clean blender with 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a clean fine-meshed strainer and into a third bowl. Discard the seeds and solids. Pour each of the purees into clear glass bowls or small pitchers.
For each serving, pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of the desired fruit puree into a Champagne flute. Slowly pour enough Prosecco into the flute to fill. Gently stir to blend. Garnish with the whole berries, as desired, and serve.
9. United States
The U.S. is the home to many cocktails, so picking just one is a tall order. The Sazerac is considered by some to be the first cocktail ever invented in the States; Antoine Peychaud created the drink in 1838 at a bar in New Orleans. Peychaud named the drink after his favorite French brandy, Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils.
- 1 sugar cube
- 1 ½ ounces rye or American whiskey
- 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
- dash of angostura bitters
- dash of absinthe (can substitute Herbsaint, Pernod, or Ricard)
- twist of lemon peel
Directions: Fill a lowball glass with ice. Put the sugar cube in a second lowball glass with just enough water to moisten it, then crush the cube. Add the rye, the two bitters, a few cubes of ice, and stir. Discard the ice from the first glass and pour in the absinthe.
Turn the glass to coat the sides with the absinthe, then pour out the excess. Strain the rye mixture into the absinthe-coated glass. Twist and squeeze a lemon peel over the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, discarding it when finished.
In Germany and other German-speaking countries, the Radler is a popular drink, and it’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it for years. In its simplest form, the Radler combines Sprite, 7-Up or lemon-lime soda, and a lager beer. Another variation uses lemonade instead of soda. If you want it to be as fresh as possible, follow this recipe — otherwise, just combine equal parts soda and beer.
- 4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 ounces simple syrup
- 6 ounces club soda or seltzer, cold
- 12 ounces lager beer, cold
- lemon slices, for garnish
Directions: To make the lemon soda, stir together the lemon juice and simple syrup in a small pitcher. Pour in the club soda. Stir. Pour 6 ounces of the lemon soda into each of two beer glasses. Add 6 ounces of beer to each glass. Stir and serve with lemon slices.
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