Smoked Bacon and Birch Vodka

If you read my previous post about Nasha Rasha, you might remember that their flavored vodkas were about the only things worth spending a ruble on. There was a good blood orange vodka, but this hardly deserves a serious recipe. Take vodka, fresh blood orange juice (reduced over low heat, optionally), simple syrup, and mix to your […]

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Russian Birch Cream Liqueur

Whether you want to celebrate the last day of Maslenitsa, Saint Patrick’s Day with a Russian twist, or the coming birch sugar season, this is the drink for you. The Irish-cream-like mixture dilutes the intense flavor of birch syrup, helping to reveal its complexity. This might be my favorite way to consume the syrup, in fact! I […]

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Blueberry Preserves

I’ve already posted a blueberry jam here a while back, but this recipe, adapted from Blue Ribbon Preserves, is also worth your time. And if you like picking your own berries, this is a great way to showcase the result of your efforts. (I picked mine at Fishkill Farms last summer.) Although I’m usually against the American […]

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Apple, Vodka and Birch Syrup Babka with Cranberry Mors Sorbet

Here’s a recipe that gives me lots to talk about: Babka is a brioche-like yeast cake found in many Eastern European countries, from Albania to Russia. It’s often baked for Easter Sunday, and it’s not infrequent that you see dried fruits added to the mix. The babka was the inspiration for the more widely known French rum […]

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Vodkas from the Vanished Empire

During my recent trip to France, I spent some time unearthing forgotten vodka bottles scattered across my parents’ apartment in every possible cabinet and closet. Most of these bottles, acquired in the late 80’s and early 90’s, have been gathering dust ever since, quite often because of the dubious nature of the spirits they contained. […]

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Strawberry Liqueur

Encouraged by the success of my Crème de Cassis over the summer, I went back to Fishkill Farms to pick strawberries. Picking strawberries is tough work, choosing the ripest berries on all fours in 100 F temperatures under scorching sun, but it’s well worth the effort. Some of the berries made their way into delicious preserves, but there were […]

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Crème de Cassis and Black Currant Liqueur

Black currants are very popular throughout Europe, and Russia is the world’s largest producer of currants and gooseberries. While the leaves are used to pickle vegetables, the acidic but highly flavorful berries are made into preserves, jellies, juices, wines or liqueurs. In the U.S., cultivation was banned in the early 1900’s as it became a […]

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Drunken Rhubarb

This recipe is a 2-in-1 kind of deal. Not only does it produce a delicious flavored vodka, it also leaves you with pieces of rhubarb you can serve with tea or use to make a cake, such as a babka. Originally from China, rhubarb was transported along the Silk Road starting as early as the 14th […]

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Vodka-Cured Lake Trout

Following our successful Keuka Lake fishing trip, I have a few more trout recipes to share with you. Since I don’t want to freeze fish and I can only eat so much while it’s fresh, I had to come up with a number of curing and marinating plans. This one involves vodka and is particularly […]

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