The Russians Are Coming…

Vodka was first and foremost used as a medicine for treating various ailments. Fast forward to the present time and people now drink vodka for leisure and to celebrate significant occasions. With this, it isn’t a surprise to see the number of vodka consumers reaching 43 million in Spring 2017.

This at one time was one of the finest way to demonstrate your wealth. Showing off expensive bottles of Russian Vodka was a status symbol. The $7.25 million-priced bottle called “Billionaire Vodka” from Leon Verres is currently the most expensive, as the bottle comes decorated with almost 2000 diamonds set in gold. The bottle is dressed with a deep black faux fur jacket and you’ll get to know what diamonds taste like if you open it as the 18-liter bottle contains vodka made from an original Russian recipe and is filtered thru diamonds…

It should come as no surprise, because of their love of cooking and eating, that the Thoroughbroads of Louisville participated in other food related activities in the ’80’s. One such group was dubbed “Feast & Frolic”,  a couples dinner. Scarlett was one of the organizers of this group. She and Robyn came up with themes, set menus and recipes, and assigned said recipes to participants. The hostess prepared the main course and the drinks. Because this was a large group, the dinner took place in several homes on the same night. Scarlett kept track of who was where and shuffled us around to ensure that we dined with different people each month. A big job that she did well. And, it filled up fast with a waiting list if anyone cancelled.

Robyn volunteered to host a Russian night during a snowy February. When she received the menu, she checked out the main course, Chicken Pojarsky. Seemed straight forward and sounded delicious. As she said before, “I don’t do trial runs.” she loved challenges.

On to the table setting. Robyn’s first thought was Matryoshka (Russian stacking dolls). She had none and none were to be found in Louisville. Remember, this is before Al Gore invented the internet. If it wasn’t in a local store or a catalogue you happened to have, forget it! Plan B, books by Russian authors. She had a few and picked up some more at the library. Scattered them down the center of the table and added a few candles. Being a lover of classical music, she had a good selection of Russian composers for background music. Check, check, check! One more detail…

You can’t have a Russian themed night without caviar and iced vodka. Robyn loves this combination! One of the guests was in charge of the caviar and she the vodka. A cold bottle of vodka on a tray is nothing to sniff at but Robyn being the clever hostess decided to dress it up.

Robyn’s suggestions: freeze the bottle in ice. You will need a half gallon juice or milk container and fresh flowers or fruit of your choice. Remove the label from the vodka bottle. Cut the top from your container. Place the vodka in the container. Add your flowers or fruit and fill with water. Tip: if your flowers are small, light weight ( will float to the top) add a small branch of leaves or pine twig, etc. to hold them down. You can also do the freezing in thirds to assure the flowers are evenly dispersed. When completely frozen, peel away the carton. Place on a tray with a napkin to wrap around while pouring. Nostrovia!    Here is an example below…

vodka in ice

I have to tell you that the borscht was the least favorite item on the menu. Robyn likes beets so she was happy, but Scarlett, who hates beets, ate all of hers. Preparing the Chicken Pojarsky today, Robyn says she would use smoked paprika. Love it! A glimpse into another culture, good food, and great company made for a very fun evening.

Here is an example of a Caviar and Vodka tasting tray and a way to dress for the Russian evening…(we have to say that we like the leopard look better, but if you like comfort…super cool ideas!) Recipes to follow in next addition to this story.

Russain clothing

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