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Make Carina’s a Cosmo

19 May 2016

It’s grey skies at the moment but all the beautiful weather over the last few weeks has put me in the mood for a cocktail. Our bar teams just love sunshine and blue skies as that’s when they get to show off their skills. Making a cocktail is such an art and theatre. Time seems to pass very easily while I watch them work their magic.

Now I know gin is the big thing, and bitters are all the fashion, so we’re launching a new spritz list at Ristorante in early June. Our Princes Street Punch is a perfect sipping sensation to watch the world go by on the terrace outside The Scottish Cafe and our Glengoyne whisky cocktails at Cannonball Bar are mellow and mouth watering. For me, however, it has to be a Cosmopolitan.  

Social services alert! Now I don’t have a Cosmo at work, and now that we live out of town (and have three children), I hardly ever drink when I’m out, so I tend to indulge a little more at home. Now we are talking one or two a week, it may be a habit but it’s not enough to push me into rehab, I hope! Two friends introduced me to a Cosmo in the late 1990s. I’d never been good with alcohol, I was so skinny the slightest whif would have me sleeping, but this was different. The fruitness and the prettiness had me converted. So I had a little fancy for a little Cosmo long before the children came along. So now with two teanagers in the house it’s no surprise that all three of my fold can shake a perfect cocktail just before dinner while mummy is tasked with all the other jobs.

Here is my recipe:

  • 50ml vodka (Russian Standard for me)
  • 100ml cranberry juice (the best you can get)
  • 10ml cointreau (it should be 25ml but I like a little less)
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime

Shaken vigorously for 20 seconds in a cocktail shaker with ice and served with a twist of orange zest.

Vodka, I’ve been through all the various makes and types. However, come the 1990s and the arrival of Carrie Fisher and co on TV, my pals and I were hooked.  

The origin of the Ccosmopolitan is disputed. It is widely believed that the drink was created in the 1970s  by a bartender either called John Caine or by Toby Cecchini of Manhattan. Sticking to my roots, I’m going to stick with the Italian who made it in Manhattan.

But back to Vodka.  The first time Victor made me a Cosmo it was with the classy Stolichnaya, a premium Russian Vodka which originates from Moscow at the beginning of the 1900s. It’s 40% proof and made of wheat and rye.

After Stoli we moved onto Grey Goose, a premium French vodka, 40% proof now owned by Bacardi.  In 1998 it was described as the best tasting vodka in the world made and is made using soft winter wheat hence its more refined taste.

Absolute and its multi-coloured bottled then kicked in. A Swedish vodka owned by Pernod Ricard, originating in 1879, Absolute wasn’t sold as we know it until around 1979. We’re wheat-based this time.

Next on the list was Belvedere – which I always thought was Italian but it’s actually Polish. Named after Poland’s Principe Palace, hence the illustration on the bottle. Introduced in 1993 this is a rye vodka, 40% proof but I’ve never really liked this one.

Since our trip to Moscow last year I’ve been converted to Russian Standard, a more modern Premium Russian vodka. Introduced in 1998, Russian Standard is 40% proof made with soft winter wheat.   So, Stolichnaya or Russian Standard it has to be for me.  

Now Arbikie and Ogilvy, the latest Scottish vodkas made from potatoes, are on my to do list. Once I’ve decided to cut down on wheat, one of these may be my new favourite.

Roll on Happy Hour! Cheers!